Visit Bhutan 2017

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FESTIVALS OF NIMALUNG TSHECHU & KURJEY TSHECHU (11 days/10 nights)

FESTIVALS OF NIMALUNG TSHECHU & KURJEY TSHECHU

The word “tshechu” in the Bhutanese language means literally “an annual religious Bhutanese festival” held in each district on the 10th day of a month of the Bhutanese calendar. The dates and duration of the tshechu vary from one district to another but always take place on or around the 10th day of a month. Such festivals are mostly held in the dzong (fortress) or local monastery in honour of Guru Rimpoche, one who was born from a lotus flower and brought the tantric Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. By attending such festivals, it is believed that one gains merits by seeking forgiveness for their sins in life. During the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes are performed by monks and laymen including the Atsaras (Clowns), who amuse the audience with their antics. It is believed that it is very important to know the name of the dances and its significance. Tshechu is also considered as an occasion for social gatherings; to get together with families and kith & kin dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery. Plan your visit to Bhutan to experience the two different festivals of Nimalung Tsechu and Kurjey Tshechu under Bumthang district in central Bhutan, which are held in June annually. This tour gives you a real appreciation of both the Buddhist faith and the Bhutanese way of life but also included in the package are other places of interest.

Day 1: Arrive Paro

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu and en route stop off at the 14th century Tachog Lhakhang on the base of a mountain across the Pachhu River on the Paro-Thimphu highway, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s great architect Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo (builder of iron chain bridges). The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the great atmospheric Thimphu town?

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimphu

Today you’ll explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,350m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the Changgangkha Monastery, the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households, the National Library, which houses ancient manuscripts or the Painting School. This afternoon, head out of town to explore the Simtokha Dzong, which is the oldest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1629 or visit the National Textile Musuem. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha

After breakfast, you’ll travel to Punakha for a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey via Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 3,050m. En route stop off at the Chimi Lhakhang, which is dedicated to the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (known as the Divine Madman). The monastery is also revered as a sanctum of fertility. Legend has it that the couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Lunch at Punakha and then visit the Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong) built in 1637, which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 4: Punakha – Trongsa

This morning we’ll travel a distance of 142-km for about 6 hours to Trongsa via Pele La Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western from central and eastern Bhutan. En route stop off at Chendebji Chorten (stupa) located just below the road. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore the Trongsa town at an altitude of 2,200 m, ancestral home of the Bhutan’s royal family. Spend the night in Trongsa.

Day 5: Trongsa – Bumthang

Today morning you’ll visit the Trongsa Dzong or the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower), the ancestral home of the present Royal Family where the first two Kings ruled from this dzong. After lunch, you’ll continue the journey for a distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland of Bhutan. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore the delightful surroundings of Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2,600m. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 6: Nimalung Tshechu (Festival)

Today you will leave for Nimalung to witness the festival. Tshechu viewers dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery from all over the villages come to witness the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes. The festival is celebrated to bring happiness, better harvest and prosperity of the villages and country as a whole. In the evening return to Bumthang for an overnight stay.

Day 7: Kurjey Tshechu (Festival)

Enjoy a full day Kurjey Tshechu, which is a one day festival held in front of the Kurjey Temple complex. Tshechu viewers dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery flock to the temple to witness the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes performed by monks and by laymen. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 8: Bumthang – Gangtey

This morning we will travel a distance of 188-km for about 5-6 hours to Gangtey via Trongsa. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful surroundings of Gangtey in Phobjikha valley. Overnight in Gangtey.

Day 9: Gangtey – Paro

Today is a day-long journey heading back to Paro via Wangdue Phodrang. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Enjoy some leisure time in Paro town in the evening, one of the beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the famous Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum and Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines). Spend the night in Paro.

Day 10: Hike to Paro Taktshang

This morning you’ll take a hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Overnight in Paro.

Day 11: End of Tour

Your tour concludes this morning. You will be transferred to Paro Airport to connect with your onward flight. Good luck and goodbye!

Services Included

  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
  • Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
  • All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
  • Comfortable transport within Bhutan
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
  • Mineral water
  • Visa fees

Services Not Included

  • International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
  • Travel insurance
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates

ON REQUEST

Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Festival Dates

[1st to 3rd July 2017: Nimalung Festival and 3rd July 2017: Kurjey Festival]

[It’s always advisable to contact us 3 or 4 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]

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