- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Bumthang, the place of myth and legends has been blessed by the visit of Great Buddhist saint, Guru Rimpoche in the year 746 AD. Bumthang, referred to as the cultural heartland of Bhutan have multitudes of ancient monasteries and sacred places.
At Bumthang, various festivals are conducted annually and if your trekking trip is coinciding with one of these festivals, it will be an additional charm to your trip.
In this 3 days trekking tour, you will be traversing across beautiful gorges, valleys, ancient villages and sites allowing you to mingle with the culture of Bhutan. These trails remain calm throughout entire year with only an average of 150 trekkers trekking on these routes.
This tour can be customized into more number of days if you wish to spend more time, exploring Bumthang, Thimphu and Taktsang monastery at Paro
Places covered: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang.
Difficulty grading: Easy
Best Season: March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
Nature of Tour: Trekking and cultural sightseeing.
Welcome to Bhutan. Your guide and driver will be waiting for you at Paro International airport. After reaching Paro visit the following places:
Paro Rinpung Dzong: Located on the bank of Pachu River, Paro Dzong, formally known as Rinchen Pung Dzong (shortened to Rinpung Dzong), was built in 1644 under the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is one of the most beautiful and historically importantdzongs in the country. Today, it houses both district administration and monastic body.
Paro Ta Dzong (National Museum): Located on a spur above Rinpung Dzong, five and a half kilometers’ drive from Tshongdu town, the dzong was built in the mid-17th century as a watchtower overlooking Rinpung Dzong by Lanyongpa Tenzin Drukdra and Chogyal Migyur Tenpa. The circular dzong houses the National Museum of Bhutan. Then we head to Capital.
The drive from Paro to Thimphu will take around one hour. After reaching Thimphu, check into your hotel, enjoy your lunch and set out for exploring Thimphu city and places around it. Towards evening visit to National Memorial Chorten, mingle with elderly people, circumambulate the stupa and get blessed.
National Memorial Chorten: Located in the heart of Thimphu city, it was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her son, Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The three-storey choeten houses several relics such as Phurba Lhatshog, Kagay, Khrowo Nampur Gyalwa, Guru Tshengye, and Khenlop Chesum. The choeten is today the spiritual nerve centre of the city.
In the morning visit to Buddha statue located at Kuenselphodrang.
Buddha Statue: Located at Kuenselphodrang, facing Thimphu valley down bellow is the worlds’ largest and tallest Buddha statue standing at the height of 169 feet (52m). The statue houses one hundred thousand of smaller Buddha statues, the exact replica of the outer Buddha statue. From here one can have a 360 degree view of Thimphu valley.
From here we will drive towards Punakha via Dochula Pass. After descending down from Dochula pass for about an hour, we will reach Khemae Lhakhang. Pay visit to the Lhakhang and head further up towards Punakha. Check into your hotel and towards evening visitPunakha Dzong.
Dochula Pass: Located 23 km east of Thimphu city, Dochula pass at the height of 3100 m above sea level is Bhutan’s most decorated and beautiful pass. On this pass is 108 stupas called Druk Wangyal Chortens, built by Queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. There is also a temple called Druk Wangyal Lhakhang built in the honour of fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his service to his subjects. The front yard of this temple is a venue for Druk Wangyal festival which is conducted annually in the month of December. On the backdrop of this pass is the stunning view of snow capped mountain ranges and amongst which is Bhutan’s tallest mountain Mt. Gangkar Puensum(7570m).
Khemae Lhakhang: Located on a hillock in Lobesa (Punakha), the temple was built in 1499 by Lam Ngawang Chogyal, the cousin of Lam Drukpa Kunley, on the spot where the latter subdued a demon who was running away in the form of a dog. Lam Drukpa Kunley buried the demon and said there was no dog now (khe – dog; mae – no). Hence, the temple came to be known as the “temple of no dog”. Today however it is pronounced as Chimi Lhakhang. The temple contains the bow and arrows of Lam Drukpa Kunley and a phallus to bless the visitor.
Punakha Dzong: The dzong is situated on a stretch of a land where two rivers – Phochu and Mochu – meet. The dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1937 and named it Pungthang Dewa Chenpai Phodrang, the palace of great bliss. Later it became the final retreat palace for him. The first monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned there and it served as the capital of the country until 1955. Today it serves as the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body. The sacred relic Rangjung Kharsapani is also kept in the Machen Temple inside the Dzong.
Trongsa is located 142 km east of Punakha. It will take approximately 6 hours to reach Trongsa from Punakha. At Trongsa, we will pay visit to the historical Trongsa Dzong.
Trongsa Dzong: Located spectacularly on a ridge overlooking the Mangdechu River Trongsa Dzong is the most spectacular Dzong in Bhutan. It was built by Chogyal Migyur Tenpa, the then Trongsa penlop in 1647 at the site where a small temple was built by Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk and named it Druk Migyur Chokor Rabten Tse. The Dzong was once a seat of the highest ranking regional ruler in Bhutan, Trongsa Penlop (ruler of Trongsa). The Dzong consists of many different temples built by many different rulers and saints of Bhutan.
Overnight: At hotel in Trongsa
It will take approximately 2 hours to reach Bumthang from Trongsa. Bumthang also referred to as cultural heartland of Bhutan; there are multitudes of cultural heritage sites for you to visit. Following are the few sites that we will visit today at Bumthang:
Kurje Lhakhang: Located in Kurje in the Chokhor valley, around 15 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town (Bumthang), the site of the three temples has a body impression of Guru Rinpoche left behind after he meditated there and subdued evil spirits the chief of which was Shelging Karpo. Kurje means body impression. Guru Rinpoche visit Bumthang in 746 AD at the invitation of the local king, Chakhar Gyalpo. The oldest temple was built in 1652 by Chogyal Migyur Tenpa, the first Choetse Chila. The second temple was built in 1900 by the first King Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck on the spot where Guru left his body imprint, and the third temple was built in the 1990s under the commanded of Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck. The first, second, and the third temple contains respectively the three Buddhas (the past, present, future), a 12-metre tall statue of Guru Rinpoche, and Khenlop Chosum (Guru Rinpoche, King Thrisong Duetsen, and Pandit Santarakshita).
Jakar Dzong: Located on a ridge above Chamkhar valley, Jakar Dzong, formally called Jakar Yugyal Dzong, was founded by Lam Ngagi Wangchuk (Buddhist priest) in 1549. Lam Ngagi Wangchuk was believed to have seen a white bird land at the spot where he built a small temple and started a monastic body. Later, when Desi Chogyal Migyur Tenpa (secular head of Bhutan, 1667-1680) expanded the temple into a Dzong in 1646, it came to be known as Jakar (Bya dkar) Dzong (White Bird Dzong). The Dzong houses many temples and it is today the seat of district administration and monastic body.
Jampay Lhakhang: Located in Chokhor Gewog in Bumthang, 10 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town; Jampay Lhakhang is believed to be one of the two temples (the other is Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro) built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD in Bhutan among 108 temples that he built in one day to subdue a demoness that lay supine across the Himalayas. It’s believed to have been built on the left knee of the demoness. Besides the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from which the temple derives its name, the temple contains more than 100 statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first King of Bhutan in 1887.
Walking distance: 16 km
Time taken: 6 hours
Campsite altitude: 2720 m
Today the trail will lead us to Mebar Tsho (The burning Lake), following Tang chhu River and then finally to our extraction point.
Mebar Tsho: Located in a gorge on the way to Tang, some 30 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town (Bumthang), Mebar Tsho (meaning Burning Lake) is the sacred lake from where renowned Terton Pema Lingpa discovered treasures as directed by Guru Rinpoche. Terton jumped into the lake with a burning butter lamp in his hand. He miraculously emerged from the lake after some time with a chest and a scroll of paper, the butter lamp still burning. Therefore, the lake came to be known as Mebar Tsho.
From the road point we will drive to Chamkhar.
Walking distance: 16 km
Time taken: 5 hours
Overnight: At hotel in Bumthang
From Bumthang we will drive towards Gangtey valley.
Located at 3000 m above sea level, under Wangdue Phodrang district of western Bhutan, Gangtey valley is a very beautiful, if not the most beautiful glacial valley in Bhutan. It is located at 200 km east of Paro International Airport.
During the winter months (November – February), this valley receives its unique visitors, the globally threatened Black Necked Crane(Grus Nigricollis) which migrates from neighboring Tibetan plateaus and Northern India.
Towards evening pay visit to Gangtey Monastery.
Overnight: At hotel in Gangtey
After breakfast, start heading towards Paro via Wangduephodrang. At Paro we will visit to following places:
Kichu Lhakhang: Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Overnight: At hotel in Paro
After your breakfast, guide and driver will see you off at Paro international airport for your onward destination.
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