Punakha Tshechu (Festival)

8 Nights/ 9 Days
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Festival Date: 22nd – 24th February 2021 (8Nights/9Days )

The Punakha Tshechu is one of the most popular Tshechus in the nation. It is held directly after the well known Punakha Drubchen. The spreading out of the thongdrol a large tapestry of Guru Rimpoche is the primary fascination of the festival. It is trusted that a mere sight of the thongdrol liberates an onlooker and cleanses him of his sins. Punakha Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, respects Padmasambhawa, also called Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and holy person who is credited with having presented Tantric Buddhism all through the Himalayas. The festival’s mask dances are performed by priests clad in beautiful brocade clothing and pervaded by serenades and reading of Buddhist scripts.

The climax of celebration constitutes the unfurling of a huge cloth thangka, a hallowed parchment, delineating Padmasmabhawa and symbolism from Buddhist pantheon. It is held in the grounds of the wonderful Punakha Dzong. The local people assembles in a soul of merriment and commended the celebration with profound confidence to witness unique masked dances and celebrations. The Tsechu is outstanding amongst other approaches to encounter the living culture of Bhutan. Punakha Tshechu was introduced in 2005 accordingly with the solicitations made by Punakha District Administration and nearby individuals to have a Tshechu so as to better protect Buddhist lessons and keep alive the honorable deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche.

Punakha Tshechu (Festival)

8Nights/9Days

Day 1:   Arrival in Paro

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our Representative from Bhutan Everest Tours & Treks will receive you at the airport and drive you to the Hotel. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. And also visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel in Paro.

 

Day 2: Paro (sightseeing) – Thimphu

Early breakfast and drive to Paro Taktsang Monastery (Tiger Nest). Its 3 to 4 hours walk. It was first built in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it. In 1998, the Paro Taktsang was almost completely burned down – and was restored to its original form by 2005.

And also visit, Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of the victorious Drukpas), now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro DistrictBhutan. The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the behest of Ngawang NamgyalZhabdrung Rinpoche, to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet. In the early 1950s, Drukgyel Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire.

After lunch drive to Thimphu (Capital of Bhutan). Thimphu is the political, social and spiritual heart of the nation and although this is Bhutan’s most modern city, it has retained the unique character of a Bhutanese town.

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu.

 

Day 3:  Thimphu – Punakha (sightseeing)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way to Punakha, halt in Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 4 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring color.

 

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” to attend the festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). There is inevitably a great deal of socialising as well.

Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’, Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Punakha.

 

Day 4: Punakha (sightseeing)

Enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Afterwards, return to Punakha Dzong to observe the continuing masked dances and rituals that take place as part of the Punakha Festival.

Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

 

Day 5:  Punakha – Phobjikha Valley

Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3 hrs) via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. After lunch visit the Phobjikha Sanctuary to view the majestic black necked cranes (Nov-Mar only) and Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), dating back to the 16th century.

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Phobjikha.

 

Day 6:  Phobjikha Valley – Thimphu

After an early breakfast drive back to Thimphu (5.5 hrs). Afternoon at leisure to explore downtown Thimphu.

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu.

 

Day 7:  Thimphu (sightseeing)

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to Buddha statue, 12th century Changangkha Temple, BBS Tower and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery. If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and

If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. (This market is open only from Friday until mid Sunday).

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu.

 

Day 8:  Thimphu (sightseeing)

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Visit the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum and National Textile Museum.

Other options for the morning include a hike to Tango and Cheri Monasteries (45 mins), two of the most ancient monasteries in the Thimphu region or a hike to Phajoding Monastery providing a splendid view of Thimphu valley.

Dinner and overnight stay in the hotel in Thimphu.

 

Day 9:  Depart Paro

After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
Tashi Delek!

Peak Season - USD 2160

Lean Season - This Festival fall on Peak season

Include in this package

  1. Government Royalty: USD 65 per Person per Night.
  2. 2% Government Tax per Person per Night.
  3. All Meals.
  4. Daily Mineral Water.
  5. English Language Speaking Guide.
  6. Comfortable and Luxurious Imported Cars for Internal Transportation with Skilled Driver.
  7. Entrance fees for Museums.
  8. The Government set package rates are valid for accommodation on twin sharing basis.
  9. A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an additional premium).


Not include in this package

  1. Airfare international & Domestic.
  2. Travel Insurance.
  3. Personal shopping.
  4. Alcohol.
  5. Laundry.
  6. Tips for Guide & Driver.