Bhutan officially the Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region in the north.The Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, and Arunachal Pradesh state. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asiaand is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center. The independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries, and the territory was never colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms and governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire. Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communismand has a disputed border with the People's Republic of China. In 2008, it transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan, that has a two party system characterizing Bhutanese democracy. The King of Bhutan is known as the "Dragon King". Bhutan is also notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness. The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which is also a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. There is also diverse wildlife in Bhutan.
|Day 1||Arrive at Paro airport and leave for Thimphu (55kms 1.5 hrs). Overnight in Thimphu. Sightseeing as per arrival time.|
|Day 2||Thimphu||Post breakfast visit the memorable Chorten dedicated to the 03rd King of Bhutan, The Textile Museum & Folk Heritage Museum that provides a fascinating insight into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Drive to the 15th century Changakha Lhakhang spectacularly localted on the spur. The Takin Sanctuary near the lhakhang will give the visitor a chance to glance at the National animal of Bhutan - Takin.
Visit Buddha point to have a wonderful view of Thimphu valley. Visit the school of Arts and Crafts and the National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.
Evening visit the Tashichho Dzong; the main secretarial building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and also the head seat of Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 3||Thimphu – Trongsa (2200m 199 kms - 6 hours)||Post breakfast depart for Trongsa via Dochu La (3050m). If the weather permits, you can see a range of high peaks toward the north east. The recently built 108 chortens gives the ridge a very beautiful and charming presence.
Continue the drive via the Pele La (3300m/ 10800ft) crossing the Black Mountains, the traditional boundary between west and central Bhutan. Crossing the pretty villages of Rukubji and Chendebji to reach the huge 18th century Chendebji Chorten patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at four cardinal points. It was built by Lama Shida from Tibet to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.
Further drive to Trongsa with the beautiful view of Trongsa Dzong while approaching the village. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 4||Trongsa||Post breakfast, go for bird watching near Trongsa museum. Later visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower), dedicated to Buddhist epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. Later visit the Trongsa Dzong. The Dzong is located on a spur overlooking the Mangde River. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All five Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governer’) prior to ascending the throne. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.Free time in the evening. Take a walk in Trongsa town.Overnight at the hotel.|
|Day 5||Trongsa - Gangtey- Punakha (1400m 146 kms -06 hours)|| Post breakfast leave for Punakha. En route visit the beautifulGangtey valley. Later leave for Punakha. Check in. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 6||Punakha – Paro (2300m 145 kms-05 hours)||Post breakfast, leave for Paro.We will cross Dochula Pass and Simtokha to drive towards Paro. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Visit the National Museum which houses an impressive collection of fine arts, paintings, textiles, jewellery and handicrafts sections as well as galleries of stamps for which the country is very popular.
Later visit the Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, built in 1645 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is an imposing square fortress, representing typical Dzong architecture, with a central tower and courtyards housing the administrative (Dzongkhag) and has a community of about 200 monks.
Later hike down the moderate slope to the cantilever bridge, one of the finest specimens in Bhutan with its shingle roof and two guard-houses at each end. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 7||Taktsang Monastery||Post breakfast drive 20 minutes to the end of the valley to Drukgyel Dzong from where one can see the towering peak of Jomolhari (7,316m/ 24,003 ft). This mountain, also revered as a powerful goddess, forms the border with Tibet and provides magnificent background to the ruined Drukgyel Dzong and village.
Drive to Rumthangka and begin the Taktsang hike (OPTIONAL).
Taktsang Monastery, clinging on the steep rock, is one of the holiest temples in Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche flew on the Tigress back and meditated here. The trek to the temple through the pine tree and sweet aroma of the air is indeed a very special and memorable event. The return hike will take about 05-06 hours. On Our way back, we will visit Kyichu Temple (built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century). Free time on return for souvenir shopping in the small town of Paro. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 8||Fly Out||Transfer to the airport for your flight to onward destination|
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