Paro - Punakha - Wangdue Phodrang - Thimphu - Phuentsholing
Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom. On arrival at Paro airport, immigration and customs formalities and then received by our representative and transfer to the hotel.
The evening takes a stroll around town's main street. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Morning takes an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the father of the Bhutanese strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Taktsang was severely damaged by fire in the year 1998 and now has been restored to its original grandeur.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons and country’s exquisite postage stamps. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong situated at commanding height, overlooking Paro valley. This Dzong is symbolic of the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley.
Evening visit a traditional farmhouse to get an idea of the lifestyle of local people. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast drive to ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, about 18 km from the town. From this fortress, Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred temples of the Kingdom, reflecting the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
After that drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,050m) which heralds the most enchanting views of Bhutan.
Until 1955, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and still, it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo. Visit Punakha Dzong built in 17th century at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. It has been destroyed by four fires and an earthquake in 1897 and has frequently been devastated by flood water coming from the great northern glaciers. The Dzong has now been fully restored to its original splendor.
Evening visit the local market. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, drive to Wangdue Phodrang. The last town in the west before arriving at the central region of Bhutan, Wangdue is typical small Bhutanese town. The town's formidable Dzong is its most visible feature. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts.
After lunch, drive to Thimphu, the small charming city sandwiched in the heart of Himalayas. Thimphu's charm is not only embedded in its wealth of museums or places of historic interest but visitors must wander along the main street and into shops, all of which are decorated in traditional style. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Morning visit, Trashichhodzong, situated on the banks of Wang Chhu. It is the home of the National Assembly and the summer residence of capital's venerated monastic community. The Dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King, HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck when he moved Bhutan's permanent capital to Thimphu.
Bhutan's National Library is located close to the Thangkha painting school and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historical literature in the Himalayas. The country has its own brand of Himalayan medicines and this can be seen at the Indigenous Hospital. The Textile and Folk Heritage Museum opened in the year 2001 is the fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions. The Memorial Chhorten, a pious landmark for Thimphu’s residents, was erected in 1974 by the mother of Third King, in memory of her son. Visit Handicrafts Emporium which displays the wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
fter breakfast, drive to Phuentsholing en route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627, which now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Thimphu / Phuentsholing road was built in 1962 by Dantak, the Indian Border road organization. The drive on this route is very pleasant with numerous scenic spots en route.
Just before, arriving Phuentsholing, visit Kharbandi Goemba, the monastery built in 1967. It houses the large and attractive statues of Sakyamuni, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. Overnight at the hotel in Phuentsholing.
After breakfast drive to Siliguri passing through lush green tea gardens en route.
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