Trongsa Tshechu FestivalTrongsa Tsechu is one the oldest festival in Bhutan. It is believed that festivals in Bhutan were spread from Trongsa. Most of the Champoen, the mask dance teacher, learned it in Trongsa and they went to different parts of the country. On the last day of the Trongsa festival, they unfurl the Thongdrel (liberation and blessings at the sight) every time, which is the highlight of the Trongsa Tsechu.
Thimpu / Trongsa / Punakha / Paro
Day 1: Paro (2280m) to Thimphu (2320m) (65km / 1hr)
The flight into Paro brings breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. If the weather permits , you will be able to see Himalayan Mountains. The landing, flying through the Paro valley between the 4000 meters high mountains, starts your day in an unforgettable way! On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transfer to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu is a bustling town, which is the home to the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government, the Judiciary and several foreign missions and development projects. The road leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers at Chuzom (confluence). Three different styles of chortens adorn the confluence. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu (2320m)
After breakfast visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom, built in 1629. The complex has survived in its original form and serves today, as a religious college, in which, amongst other subjects, Dzongkha is taught; Textile museum, the foundation of which was laid in 2000 under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts; National Library, where the ancient manuscripts are preserved; Jungshi paper factory and third king’s memorial Chorten.
Later visit Changangkha Lhakhang; Mini Zoo where you can see Bhutan's national animal ‘Takin’, an extremely rare member of the goat family; Nunnery temple and Tashichho Dzong, the main Government Secretariat building, where the government ministries, the Office of His Majesty the King and the Throne Room, the offices and living quarters of the monk body and the Chief Abbot’s housed. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu (2320m) to Trongsa (2316m) (212 Km / 7hrs)
After an early breakfast drive to Trongsa passing over Pele La (3390 m). Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at the unifying the country were launched. As you continue onwards you can view the incredible massive Trongsa Dzong, an architectural Wonder! , Trongsa’s medieval watch tower and the great Mangde Chu (river) enhance Trongsa dzong’s beauty and grandeur.
Sightseeing of Trongsa Dzong: Built in 1648, it was seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from this ancient seat. All the five kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop “Governor” prior to ascending the throne. Presently it is the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong offers magical wonder. Visit Ta Dzong preached above the Trongsa Dzong , a watchtower which once stood to guard the Trongsa Dzong. Now restored as a museum presenting the rich historical and religious heritage of Trongsa Dzong. Overnight hotel in Trongsa.
Day 4: Trongsa Tsechu
The Trongsa Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padma Sambhawa, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. The festival’s masked dances are performed by monks clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts. The culmination of festival constitutes the unfolding of a huge cloth thanka, a sacred scroll, depicting Padma Smabhawa and imagery from Buddhist pantheon. Overnight hotel in Trongsa.
Day 5: Trongsa - Punakha (1300m) (135km / 5hrs)
After noon drive to Punakha for 7 hours through snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan.Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 6: Punakha (1310m) – Paro (2250m) (142 Km / 4hrs drive)
Early morning visit Mitsina village and visit Chimey Lhakhang the monastery of fertility. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers- Pho Chu and Mo chu. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork, and the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Also this is the second dzong built in Bhutan by Shebdrung Nawang Namgyel in the year 1637. After that drive to Paro via Thimphu 4 hours.Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 7: Paro Tiger’s Nest Hike.
Morning hike to Taktsang monastery, the hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 to 3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 900 meters from the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. It is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time.
Afternoon visit the ruined fortress of Drugyel dzong which still attract visitors due to the strategic location of the fort, the fort defended the Paro valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. On clear weather Mountain Chomolhari 7320 meters can be seen towering over the dzong. Proceed through the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. It served as a watch tower during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, and religious thankas. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery) it is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Rimpung Dzong (fortress of the heap of jewels) it was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644. It houses both administrative and monastic bodies. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 8: Departure from Paro.
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to Paro International Airport to board your flight home or your onward destination.