Ura valley in Bumthang is known for its famous dance known as the Ura Yakchoe. This festival that is held annually in the month of May is a festival where a sacred and an important relic is put on display for the people to receive blessings. Myth has it that one day an old woman while sitting outside her house had a visitor, a lama who asked her for a glass of water. When she came out with a glass of water, the lama had vanished leaving behind a sack. Out of curiosity, she checked the bag and found a statue that is now being displayed annually. This relic has been passed on from generation to generation and now it’s owned by the descendants of the woman.
Detail Itinerary (7 Nights/8 Days)
Day 01- Arrival/ Paro-Thimphu
Upon arrival, our representative from Bhutan Sotphel Tours and Treks will receive you at the Paro International airport and drive you to the hotel. After lunch, visit the visit the Drukgyel dzong, now in ruins . It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in1644; the dzong name’s means ” victorious Druk “. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it.
Driving back to paro on the way visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred monasteries dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century. Legends has it that a great Tibetean saint has built 108 such monasteries overnight and two of them are in Bhutan, One is Kyichu Lhakhang and the other is Jampa Lakhang in Bumthang. Towards the evening, drive to Thimphu
Day 02 – Thimphu Sight Seeing
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and offers a mix of urban as well as rural Bhutan. After breakfast visit the Memorial Chorten (stupa). This gigantic stupa is built in the memory of late his Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan. He was known as the father of modern Bhutan. Then visit the National Library, which houses a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts followed by visit to Painting School, famous for carving and free hand art and Folk Heritage Museum followed by a visit Sangay gang view point, Takin Preserve centre, Changangkha Monastery and Zulukha Nunnery. From the Nunnery, you can have a spectacular view of TashiChodzong, the seat government and central monastic body.
After lunch visit the Semtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in the country. This Dzong was built by Zhandrung Ngawang Namyel in 1629 and today it houses monk body and Institute of Language and Cultural studies till it moved to Trongsa. Then drive toward the Kuenselphodrang to have a glimpse of the tallest Buddha statue in the world. Towards the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961 by the Late King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wang chuck, who is regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan.
Day 03- Thimphu-Punakah-Wangdue
After breakfast drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. This pass served as an important trade route in olden days. Today it dotted with beautiful 108 mall chortens and beautiful Lakhang. If weather is clear and favorable, we stop for a while at Dochula. From this Dochula pass, it provide a clear view of Himalayas and a Gasa Dzongkhag, one of the remotest Dzongkhag in the Country. Enroute stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang also called the “Temple of Fertility” built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who is popularly known as “The Devine Mad Man” in 15th century.
After lunch, visit Puna Dewachenpoi Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was prophesied by Guru Rimpoche that, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like the tusk of a sleeping elephant”. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri (Paradise) and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and the central monastic body. Drive to Wangdue, sight seeing in and around wangdue town. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 04 – Wangdue-Trongsa
After breakfast, drive to Trongsa via Pele La pass (3420 m). A Tibetan style chorten and prayer flags adorns this pass and is considered to be a boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. It offers a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains on a clear day. Visit Trongsa Dzong built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay.
Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong and even to this day a crown prince assumes the post of Trongsa Penlop before ascending the Golden Throne. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. This watch tower has received major facelift in 2008. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 05 – Trongsa-Bumthang
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via yet another Yotongla La pass (3420 m). A Tibetan style chorten and prayer flags adorns this pass and is considered to be a boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. It offers a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains on a clear day. From the Yotongla pass, the road descends towards Bumthang. On the way, visit Chummey handicraft shops and do some shopping.
Arrive at Bumthang and lunch. After Lunch, Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Songsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the 108 Lhakhang built by King Songsen Gompo on the same night as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. It is believed that there is a lake under the temple in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Just a few minutes drive from here, is the Kurjey Lhakhang. Guru Rimpoche while meditating in the cave left his ody print on the rock and thus it is known as ‘Kuje Lhakhang’ meaning body imprint lakhan Visit followed by a visit to Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom.
In the evening, visit Chamkhar town and free photography. Dinner and overnight at Bumthang
Breakfast in hotel and drive to Ura to witness festival. Ura is around 50 Km away from Bumthang, and after the Tshechu, drive back to Bumthang town. On the way visit Membartsho (Literally means Burning Lake), a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here.Overnight at BUMTHANG.
Early breakfast in the hotel and drive to gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery. It was established in 1613 by the first Peling Gyaltse Rimpoche or Gangtey Trulku Rigzen Pema Thinley (1564 – 1642) who was the grandson of great Bhutanese Treasure revealer Pema Lingpa. The ninth re-incarnation Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the present Abbot. He has taken great initiative to rebuilt the Monastery and uphold the lineage of Pemal Lingpa. The Explore Phobjikha valley which is famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight at the Guest House.
After early breakfast, drive to thimphu. One the way, take a photography of the ruined Wangduephodrang Dzong from the Wangdu Bridge. This Dzong was completey razed to the ground by tragic fire accident in 2012. The efforts are underway to restore the Dzong to the former glory. Dinner and overnight at Hotel in Thimphu
Day 08- Thimphu-Paro-Depart
Early breakfast in the hotel and drive to paro international airport. See off and farewell.
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