Punakha Festival Tour
#Bhutan’s #Punakha #Festival #Tour: Punakha is a Western Bhutan District, few degrees warmer than the other western districts of Thimphu and Paro.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan, and till now, it still serves as the Winter Residence of the Monk Body of Bhutan headed by the Chief Abbot, the “Je Khenpo”.
Punakha Festival is held in the Punakha Dzong(Fortress) which was built in 1637 AD without a plan laid down anywhere. Punakha Dzong was conceived in a dream and built from the mind by the founder of Bhutan, Shabdrung Rimpoche.
Punakha Dzong is very significant in Bhutan’s History as it was here in 1907, that Bhutan’s first king was enthroned and crowned and the Wangchuck Dynasty was born as the rulers of Bhutan hence forth.
Punakha Dromche/festival tour will take you through, Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha.
You will witness the Punakha Festival in the Punakha Dzong, which is situated at a confluence of two rivers.
Punakha Festival Tour Itinerary has been made as a 10 Nights Tour Itinerary, however Guests can programme and plan their tour accordingly to suit the number of days they will be traveling to Bhutan.
Punakha Festival Tour Itinerary – 10Nights/11 Days Tour Package
Day 01: Arrive into Bhutan:
Today, your first day in Bhutan will be by arriving at the Paro International Airport.
Paro is a beautiful Western Bhutan Valley and is one of the religious hub and rural life in Bhutan.
The air field that you will land on was just over a decade ago, the paddy fields of the Bonday Village in Paro.
When flying into Paro, you will see many mountain peaks of Bhutan like the Gangkhar Phuensum, Jumolhari, and the Himalayan Range from the left side of the Plane. It’s a nice chilling flight into Bhutan and the most exciting part of the flight and flying with Druk Air is the landing time, when the plane maneuvers its self and lands. You will feel like as if the plane is about to hit the houses on the hill tops and as if the wings of the plane is about to touch the hill tops. However, all is great and the Druk Air is handled by highly experience Bhutanese Pilots and they have done this thrill of landing a zillion times so No worries, you will have a safe and smooth landing.
Bhutan Jewel Travel, your host in Bhutan, will greet you at the airport and there after you will be taken care of by the Bhutan Jewel Travel Team, throughout your stay in Bhutan.
If time permits after checking in at Paro hotel, the sight seeing in Paro can begin. Visit the Rinpung Dzong(Fortress), the Taa Dzong ( a six storied Museum) which was the ancient watch tower.
Night Halt in Paro
Day 02: Hike to the Kila Goenpa(Monastery) situated above the Paro Valley. After noon drive to Thimphu and on the way visit the 17th Century Tamchog Temple across the river where you will walk across an ancient iron bridge, built with no ordinary iron, but sacred iron which was beaten between the thighs and made into these chains in the ancient times by the famous iron bridge maker Throngthon Gyelpo.
Check in at Thimphu Hotel for the Night.
Day 03: Thimphu Sight seeing:
Thimphu is the Capital of Bhutan
Visit many places that can be accommodated today like the memorial chorten, the simtokha Dzong(Fortress), the Takin(Bhutan’s National Animal) Zoo, the BBS tower and the Buddha Point to have a Bird’s eye view of Thimphu. Visit the Tashichhodzong which is the administrative offices and houses all Ministries of the Government of Bhutan and the Royal Throne Room is here in this Dzong.
Visit Thimphu Emporium, School of traditional painting and Bhutanese paper making factory.
The Changangkha Temple , the National Library, and many more local places of interest depending on the time in hand.
Night Halt in thimphu.
Day 04: Day hike to the Phajoding Monastery. This is a lovely monastery overlooking the entire Thimphu Valley. After a hearty breakfast, you will start the hike. Lunch will be picnic lunch and you can visit the many temples at the Phajoding site.
Evening stroll the Thimphu town and night halt in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu To Punakha:
After breakfast, we will drive for about an hour and we reach the Dochula Pass. This pass is renowned for the Druk Wangyel Chortens(Stupas). There are 108 stupas and the Druk Wangyel Temple. The entire stupas and the temple was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan for the well being and long life of his majesty the Fourth living King of Bhutan. Dochula Pass is one of the most visited places en route to Punakha and Wangduephodrang, by tourists and locals as this is where most of the 1000s of prayer flags are hoisted in the wind. Also from here we get good view of the Himalayan Range of Mountains including the flat mountain plateau of Tibet.
After spending some time here at the Pass, we move down hill towards Punakha.
Visit the Punakha Dzong. Night at Punakha
Day 06: Punakha Festival:
Witness the Punakha Festival with all the traditional dances performed by the Punakha Locals and the many forms of mask dances and recitation of prayers.
Tourists are permitted to click photos BUT are advised to keep a distance from the performers so that they are not distracted and disturbed with cameras chasing them on their faces. For the Bhutanese these are sacred performances and have been going on for generations irrespective of having tourists or not so we request all Guests to Bhutan to respect and follow the decorum of the festival.
Night in Punakha
Day 07: Punakha Festival with a Visit to the Devine Mad Man Temple “Chimi Lhakhang”
Witness another day of the Punakha Festival and after lunch visit the Chimi Lhakhang. This temple is also called the Temple of Fertility, cause most visit this temple, especially if they have been unsuccessful in bearing a child. When receiving the blessing to have a child, you will be blessed on the head with an ancient sacred Wooden Phallus. This is a belief that has come true for many people. I recollect a Japanese Woman who had been married for over 5 years but did not have a child. Then she visited this temple and within a year, she was blessed with a daughter and now I believe the daughter is nearing here teens. Surprising but true.
Night at Punakha.
Day 08: Phobjikha Valley Day Trip
Early morning start towards the Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha Valley is a lovely valley and the biggest valley in Bhutan. It is a high altitude valley at 3000 meters and is the winter roosting place of the Endangered Black Necked Cranes. These cranes come to Bhutan by early November and migrate back to Tibet early or mid February the following year. Every 11thNovember, the Black Necked Crane Festival is held, to create awareness on these endangered birds and coinciding with the birth anniversary of the Fourth King of Bhutan.
Visit the Gangtey village and the Gangtey temple where the Crane festival is held every year.
Evening drive back to Punakha for night halt.
Day 09: Punakha to Paro:
Drive from Punakha and have lunch in Thimphu. Do some souvenir shopping or visit sites that were not visited earlier in Thimphu.
After lunch or late evening, go to Paro.
Night in Paro
Day 10: Paro-The Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike
Today after an early breakfast, we will hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as the Taktsang Monastery.
This monastery is perched and clings on to a cliff at about 900 meters. Beautiful to the extent that even I cannot describe the beauty. That’s why I always advice my Guests to visit this monastery, even when they have other tours in Bhutan.
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery was the place where Gure Padmasambhava came flying on the back of a Tigress and meditated in this cave. The Monastery was built later on this cave and this cave can still be visited inside the monastery. The cave is dark and moist, with droplets of water dripping from the cave ceiling.
The entire hike will take about 4-5 hours of moderate walk. Lunch will be served on the way.
After the hike, take a drive to the Ruined Drugyel Dzong (Victory Fortress), which was a war fortress to repel the invading Tibetans. The Dzong was completely razed by fire in the 1950’s, but it’s still a lovely place to visit. From here you will see the Mount Jumolhari, known as the Mountain Goddess. All Mountains in Bhutan are considered sacred and abode of the Gods, that’s why no mountains in Bhutan have ever been climbed and will never be climbed too.
Night in Paro
Day 11: Depart Bhutan:
Today you will depart Bhutan from the Paro International Airport, with all good wishes from Bhutan Jewel Travel and we hope that you will have many good memories to take back home with you from Bhutan, the Last Shangrila