Punakha Tshechu is an annual event that happens inside the Punakha Dzong. Tshechu are always conducted or ending on the 10th Day of a Bhutanese Calendar month as the term Tshechu means the tenth, which is widely celebrated as Birth Anniversary of Guru Rimpoche, The Second Buddha. Tshechu’s are organized in all 20 Districts of Bhutan and each district performs at different months from one another and its more like a New Year Celebrations and its both happy celebrations for the citizens as well as big day of offerings to the Guru Rimpoche and other local deities.
There will be both mask dances by the Buddhist Monks as well as songs and dance from the local villagers. Its an annual event and during Tshechu period all Govt and Private including schools and farmers remains holiday. It is an important event as all related folks from across the country comes together and discusses the important issue and prays together for a successful year. Come be part of the big annual celebrations with the Punakha District!
You can catch Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines, National Flag Carrier flight from Bangkok, Kathmandu, New Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka & Singapore.
Duration: 9 Night 10 Days Difficulty Level: Easy Attractions: Witnessing Annual Punakha Tshechu Festival, Cultural Sightseeing with Hike to Famous Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Altitude: Western Bhutan 1300 – 2200m. Central Bhutan: 2500m Mountain Pass: Dochula Pass, Pelela Pass & Yotongla Pass 3150m – 3450m. Season: Spring Date: 25th Feb - 27th Feb 2018
|Day 1||Arrive Paro - Sightseeing||Hotel|
|Day 2||Taktsang – Tiger’s Nest Hike||Hotel|
|Day 3||Punakha – Hike to Temple of Fertility||Hotel|
|Day 4||Witness Punakha Tshechu – Festival||Hotel|
|Day 5||Punakha to Trongsa / Sightseeing||Hotel|
|Day 6||Trongsa to Bumthang / Sightseeing||Hotel|
|Day 7||Bumthang Sightseeing||Hotel|
|Day 8||Bumthang to Wangdue||Hotel|
|Day 9||Wangdue to Paro||Hotel|
|Day 10||Depart Bhutan|
Day – 1 Arrive Paro
During the journey, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jhomolhari 7314m and Mount Jitchu Drake 6789m in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, representative from Bhutan Majestic Travel who will escort you to Hotel. After Lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) Dzong means fortress. This was actually built as the watch Tower for the Paro Rinpung Dzong during the Tibetan Invasion in 17th Century. It was later converted into the National Museum in 1968. This kind of a building is unique as its built in cylindrical shape for many reasons during wartime, and today we only have two of these shape and the other one is in Trongsa, which also served as Watch Tower. The Museum layout in six different storied and shows cases all the artifacts from as early as 8th Century when Guru Rimpoche visited Bhutan. They have wide range of Bhutanese Flora, Fauna, Buddhism, Unique Bhutanese Stamp collections, remains of the war artilleries, and many others. It’s a must visit Museum as it houses our National treasures of Bhutan and must visit when you are in Bhutan. It is also considered as best place to take photos of the Paro Valley. After the Museum either you can walk downhill to the massive fortress, The Paro Rinpung Dzong which is built just above the Pachu (River of Paro) and houses the District Administration office headed by District Governor and the Monk Body heading by the Local Abbot. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal builds the Dzong in 1646 AD. Paro Dzong has the unique architecture and no modern elements are used for building and the paintings are all done by Natural Colors. Dzong houses the Buddhist Monks and the Annual Paro Tshechu happens here for the first two days out of five. Overnight hotel in Paro. Altitude of Paro is 2260m
Day – 2 Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest” Hike
Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10 km from the hotel) and from there walk up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest.” The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4000ft. and overlooks the Paro River. Its built in 8th Century by Guru Rimpoche after he flew on a flaming tigress from Eastern Bhutan. The purpose of flying here and meditating for three months is to flourish Buddhism in the Western Bhutan and to subdue all evils. Later years many Buddhist masters and scholars visited the place and practice meditation. It is one of the holiest place in Bhutan and receives hundreds of local and international both pilgrims and visitors. The round trip hike takes about 4-5 hrs. Veggie lunch at Taktsang Cafeteria. After lunch walk down to the motor road end drive to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (Bhutanese Victory Fortress) built in 1649 to celebrate Bhutanese Victory over the Tibetan Invasion. This Fortress is now in ruins but the present Government is taking the initiative to rebuild and work is under full swing. From this place you can see the clear view of Himalayan Goddess Mount Jhomolhari 7314m and it is also the start point of Jhomolhari Trek, Laya Gasa Trek and world famous the Snowman Trek – The Toughest Trek in the World. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day – 3 Paro to Punakha
Drive to Punakha, old capital of Bhutan but today it’s the Winter Capital for the Central Monastic Body after they spend six months in Thimphu for summer, headed by the Je Khenpo, The Chief Abbot of Bhutan. The first hour of drive would be following the Pachu and then reach at the Chuzom, the confluence where the Paro river meets the Thimphu River and forms Wangchu. Turn left to head toward Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Once you reach Simtokha follow the left hand road, which will take you to Punakha via Dochula Pass 3150m. On a clear day you can see the Eastern Himalayas in a Panoramic view from this place and also its worth a stop for both toilet break as well as to stretch out your legs and body as it isn’t easy to be on Bhutan roads for long and more over it’s the best place to take photos of the Pass with 108 Bhutanese style Stupas. From this mountain pass you will be descending all the way to Punakha 1300m with stop over at Lobesa for traditional Bhutanese Farm House lunch at one of the local farmer’s house. After lunch do a short hike to the Devine Madman’s (Lama Drukpa Kuenley) temple of fertility, Chimi Lhakhang. The hike isn’t tough but very beautiful through the rice fields and villages but once you visit the Monastery, the history remains very fascinating as its one of the most well respected and auspicious place. All couples after their marriage comes to this monastery to receive blessings for new siblings and also for couples who wishes to have babies but wasn’t successful till date tend to visit and receive blessings from the Monastery and its confirmed that the couples would give birth in the following nine months. This practice had been done not just locally but by our foreign visitors as well. After the Monastery visit walk back to the motor road and drive to your overnight hotel in Punakha. Day – 4 Full Day at Punakha Tshechu
After breakfast get dressed as elegantly or as smartly as you wish and drive to Punakha Dzong to join the locals to part in their Annual Tshechu Festival. Mix with the locals to hear their story about the Festival and don’t miss to take photos of the amazing Bhutanese peoples. Bhutanese like their photos taken and its polite to do so without asking permissions but its polite to ask when taking photos of the monks. Enjoy the Mask Dance by the Buddhist Monks and the Local Traditional Song and Dance by the Men and Women of Punakha Distict also the dance by the students. Picnic lunch with be served by riverside. Full day at the Festival. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day – 5 Punakha to Trongsa
After breakfast continue your journey to Trongsa, Centrally located district, the driving hours would be close to five. Stop over at Pelela Pass 3350m and again if the weather remains clear then you can see some more snow capped Himalayas. Driving on the Western – Eastern Highways, which actually we only got one Highway and its truly scenic and breathtaking view of the both valleys and the mountains, rich with flora and fauna. Don’t miss to spot a Grey Languor’s on your way! After descending from Pelela Pass you will reach Chendibji, where you will be greeted by Nepalese style Stupa or Chorten, Stupa with the eyes! You can eat your picnic lunch here or stop for a photograph of the beautiful stupa and continue drive to Trongsa for hot lunch in the hotel. After lunch visit the most historic and beautiful Trongsa Dzong followed by walk in downtown Trongsa and visit the Trongsa Royal Heritage Museum, it’s a must visit when you are spending overnight in Trongsa to know details about the Royal’s of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Overnight in Trongsa. Day – 6 Trongsa to Bumthang
Drive to Bumthang with stop over at few places, Yotongla Pass 3400m the highest mountain pass on your journey to Bhutan. Further down you will be stopped at Chumey Valley to check out the hand woven carpets and other woven products from Yaks and Sheep. Bumthang is waiting for you as you climb the last small pass of Kikila Pass at 2900m. Lunch will be served in Hotel after checking in. After noon sightseeing’s includes visit to the Swiss Farm where you will be greeted with Swiss Cheese and Weiss Beer from Swiss technology farm in Bumthang. If you are not tipsy then you can walk to the downtown of Bumthang, the Chamkhar town to enjoy window-shopping or opt for a cup of locally brewed Coffee with pastry. Back to hotel for dinner and overnight. Day – 7 Bumthang Sightseeing
Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the Third Druk Desi in 1646 AD. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the Fourth Desi, in 1683 AD. ” Desi ” means temporal ruler appointed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is probably the biggest Dzong in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. The central tower (Utsi) is about 150 ft. high. After the Dzong visit drive to Jambay Lhakhang the oldest Monastery in Bhutan, built in 659AD by Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpo. The story narrates that in order to succeed in flourishing Buddhism and also to get over the giant ogress, who remains a big obstacle to the people in Tibet, the King is asked by the astrologer to built 108 Stupas or chortens over the body of the ogress in 24 hours time, which remains a big challenge but with the help of local gods and deities and also provided with super natural powers, the king managed to built it with out failure and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro remains be to fallen in Bhutan. The main statues inside the Monastery consist of the Three Buddhas, The Past, The Present and the Future Buddha. After this walk or drive up to the 8th Century Kurjey Monastery, built in 8th century by Guru Rimpoche and left his body print on the rock which you can see it inside the very first temple as there are two other Monasteries just nest to each other, one built by the First King of Bhutan in 1907 and one by Her Majesty The Royal Queen Mother in 1974. After lunch visit the Tamshing Monastery, house of Terton (Treasure Discoverer) Pema Lingpa 1450 – 1521 who built it as his residence and today its the main monastery of Pema Lingpa and they have their Annual Tshechu (Festival) in late fall. If time permits you can either go to Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) just 20minutes away from your hotel or down town or do walking around the hotel or village. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang
Day – 8 Bumthang to Wangdue Phodrang
Early drive to Wangdue or Punakha via same road and today is more of a leisure drive with lot of photo stops. The driving distance would be approximately 7 hours. The lunch would be served at Chendibji Chorten. Overnight Hotel in Wangdue or Punakha. Day – 9 Wangdue – Paro
Drive to Paro with lunch lunch stop over on Thimphu, The Capital City of Bhutan. The Capital city without any traffic lights and have the highest population of 100,000 people in the whole city. After lunch visit the National Archery Range to witness a Friendly Archery Match both played in Traditional Bamboo Bows and Arrows as well as imported Carbon Fibre Bows and Arrows from United States of America. If time visit then visit the National Mini Zoo to see the Takin, National Animal with head of a Goat and Body of a Cow. Evening drive to Paro for the last but not the least night in Bhutan.
Day – 10 Depart Paro: Drive to Paro International Airport where your Guide and Driver would bid Farewell and wish you a very safe journey back home and Thank You for traveling to Bhutan with us and we look forward in welcoming you sooner then later again for another Bhutan Festival Trip.