Detailed Itinerary of the Himalan Realam
Day 1- Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular flights in the entire Himalayan region. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the kingdom.
On arrival you shall be received by our representative who will be waiting eagerly to welcome you with khadars (Welcome Tradition) and after which we take a 2hour drive(55km) towards Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. As we are about to reach Chuzom(Confluence of two rivers Paro and Thimphu) we stop to visit Tamchoe Lhakhang Built by Tangtong Gylepo,( The great brigde builder of Bhutan he is said to have made iron bridges with his bare hands) and now preserved by his descendants.
Along the way we have many more scenic beauties to be enjoyed. On arrival in Thimphu we check-in to the Hotel, if things go as plan plan then there is still time for an exploratory walk before dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2- After breakfast, sightseeing of Thimphu valley includes, visit to the National Library, a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The Traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practised. The Painting School, where young monks learn the art of Buddhist Thangkha Painting .
Also visit mask maker workshop and workshop for fine metal craft, weaving, ceramics and paper making. Then visit, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.
After Lunch, we head off to Kuensel Podrang where the we can see the Buddha Dordenma Statue, measuring at a height of 51.5 meters making it one the worlds largest Buddha statue.
Day 3- After an early breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (3,050m). If the weather permits, you can see a range of high Himalayan peaks towards the north east. Following peaks can be seen from this pass, on a clear day ; Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana - finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
Further drive onwards arriving Wangduephodrang town for lunch. The descent from Dochula into Wangduephodrang valley is quite long as the altitude difference is 1700 meters.
Proceed to Tongsa across Pelela pass (3,300 m ), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large prayer flag and the ground is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop enroute at Chendbji Chorten, which was built in 18th century by a Lama named Shida, it is Nepalese in style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. Arrive Trongsa and check into the lodge.
Day 4- After breakfast walk by Trongsa Dzong built by Zhabdrung in 1647 and visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower), dedicated to Buddhist epic hero, King Gesar of ling.
Then drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours. 29 km from Trongsa road reaches the Yutong La pass (3,400m). Further 13 km ahead, the road enters into a wide open cultivated valley known as Chumey valley.
On arrival in Bumthang, check into the lodge. After lunch, visit to Kurje Lhakhang where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock, the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic school), the Jakar Dzong (administrative centre of the region) and Swiss Farm House. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 5 - Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys - Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Visit to Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock., the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 6- After we Wangduephodrang drive to Gangtey / Phobjikha. In the mountains east of Wangduephodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few kilometers below the monastery, on the valley floor. This quite, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Explore Gangtey village and Phobjikha valley. Overnight at the lodge in Gangtey / Phobjikha.
Day 7-After breakfast drive to Punakha. In the Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan's capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan's first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damages to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 8 -After breakfast, drive to Paro en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) and now houses the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the sprng.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 9- After breakfast we drive north of Paro valley to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong the ruined fortress from where the Bhutanese repelled several invasion by the Tibetan army.
Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery hence it is called "Tiger's Nest". The excursion to monastery's view point takes about 5 hours for round trip.
While returning to Paro town enroute we visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 10- After an early breakfast in the hotel, our representative will drop you to the airport for your flight to onward destination.