Thimphu Tshechu Schedule: Sept 30-Oct 2, 2017
7 Night 8 Day Thimphu Festival
One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).
The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.Equally important are the Atsaras, who are more than just mere clowns. The Atsaras are the dupthobs (acharyas), who provide protection.
The dances and the jesting of the Atsaras are believed to entrance evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during Tshechus. Modern Atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.
Day 01: Arrive Paro & Paro-Thimphu
Distance: 54 km, estimated driving time: 1 hr
Fly into Paro by DrukAir ( Royal Bhutan Airlines). After completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by our representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour.Then drive to Thimphu .
On Arrival At Thimphu Check Into Your Hotel And After Lunch Visit The Following:
Bhutan Postal Museum (recently established)-The museum tells the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. And also you can get personalized Bhutanese postage stamps with your photo on them. You can bring along your favorite photo to put on the stamps and put these stamps on your postcard to send to your family and friends.
Changzamtok Weaving Center to observe beautiful colourful silk and cotton textiles being woven into shawls, scarves and traditional Bhutanese dresses.
Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts. In the evening, free to relax or stroll around Thimphu town, do shopping, etc. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02: 1st Day Of Thimphu Tshechu (Festival)- (9.Am – 4.30 Pm)
After breakfast you will go to witness the 1st Day of Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) which will be held at Tendrel Thang (the festival ground in front of Thimphu Tashichhodzong). Dressed in traditional finery, devotees flock to Tendrel Thang to proclaim their faith and receive blessings.
You will take off sometime from the festival to visit Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
After The Festival You Will Visit The Following:
Watch Archery Match: Bhutan’s national game
Kuenselphodrang where the Bhutan’s largest Buddha statue (167 feet tall) is perched on the hillock overlooking the entire Thimphu valley below and the view from there is magnificent.
National Memorial Chorten, chorten literally means ‘ seat of faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu Tsechu 2nd Day, Thimphu Sightseeing & Short Hike To Tango Monastery
After Breakfast Visit The Following:
Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thu-Sun only): Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.
Go to Tendrel Thang to get a glimpse of the 2nd Day of Thimphu Festival and stay at the festival for about an hour or so.
National Textile Museum, which is a good place to see that the art of traditional weaving is preserved and preserved by exhibition and contains a good collection of old textile rich in colors and designs. You’ll also see people weaving with intricate designs.
Simply Bhutan – A living rural museum that provides visitors and tourists with fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
After lunch, drive to the base camp of the Tango Monastery for about 30 minutes and head to the monastery. The walk to the monastery is filled by the woods with Rhododendron trees that are full bloom during April. Tango Monastery is the center for higher studies for monks. The view from the Tango Monastery is breathtakingly beautiful. You will experience complete peace and quiet in this area. After visiting the monastery, walk back to the road and return to Thimphu, Dinner & Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Last day of Thimphu Tshechu
After breakfast go to Tendrel Thang (festival field) to see the spectacular day of Thimphu Tsechu with religious dance performances mixed with folk dances and dance from Bhutanese warriors. People from all walks of life gather at the festival in their best dresses and ornaments.
After The Festival You Will Visit The Following:
Traditional Bhutanese paper mill, the handmade paper manufacturer in Bhutan, originates from the ancient tradition from the 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper forms a valuable national heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and is preserved throughout the ages. The traditional paper is recognized and has high value in both the interior and the outside world. Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as a company of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The device now has a large and only retailer in handmade paper and its products.
Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal that is found only in Bhutan. This is a very rare member of the goat family. Found in herds at very high heights (13,125 ft and above). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It could be up to 550 pounds.
Changankha Lhakhang (Temple): This temple located on top of a small dog overlooking the Thimphu Valley was built in the 13th century by the illustrious Lam Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. The temple is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang Valley. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu-Punakha / Wangdue
Distance: 71 km, estimated driving time: 2 ½ hours
After breakfast, travel to Punakha & Wangdue via Dochula Pass 3140 m). In the bright springtime you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains, Then by the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well-being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan.
You will also visit Press Wangyal Lhakhang (Monastery), built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) in honor of his Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the Armed Forces after His Majesty a Successful operation against Indian militants who occupied certain areas of Bhutan. The Wangyal Lhakhang Gallery has beautiful murals depicting some important events in the rulings of the Kings of Bhutan.
Then travel to Punakha. Punakha is inextricably linked to some of the most important events in Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and most important regions in the heart of Bhutanese culture. Punakha served as a capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907. The dzong is historically important and represents a united Bhutan.
On the way, stop for lunch in the village of Metsina, then visit Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famous for its fertility sanctuary, where one can get a special fertility blessing.
Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on Pho-Chu Island (Male River) and Mochu (Female River). The dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. At the dzong you can see the highest standards in woodwork.
In the evening you can visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Lhakhang Nunnery and enjoy the breathtaking views of Punakha and Wangdue. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 06: Punakha Paro
Distance: 71 km, estimated driving time: 2 ½ hours
After breakfast, travel through the top Punakha Valley and stroll through farms to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang (Temple) built by Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (the Queen of Bhutan Queen) for peace and stability in this ever changing world. This temple is located on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. The quiet walk to the temple takes about an hour. Visit the temple and enjoy the breathtaking beautiful view from there.
Then travel to Paro with lunch and route. On arrival in Paro, visit the following:
Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. Then go to Rimpung Bridge (Traditon Bridge), the oldest bridge in Bhutan. Farmhouses in Paro Valley and visiting a farm give a good look at a farmer’s lifestyle. Overnight stay in a hotel in Paro
Day 07: A Day Walk To Takhang Ghoempa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) In Paro
After breakfast, walk to Taktsang Goempa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery). The walk to the viewpoint takes about 1 1/2 hours and from there you enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the cliff side. You will stop here for refreshments and then continue to the monastery which another 1 1/2 hours.
It was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, a cave where Guru Padmasambhava meditated for three months in the 8th century. It is assumed that Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) flew to this location from Khenpajong, Tibet on the back of a tiger and demon. He conducted meditation in one of the caves and appeared in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and blessed the place. Then the place became known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. Guru Padmasambhava is famous for introducing Buddhism in Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen caves in which he meditated.
After going to the monastery, go down down to the road, with lunch at the cafeteria. Then go back to your hotel after visiting Kichu Lhakhang on the way. Kichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story is that a huge demon is located throughout Tibet and the Himalayan region and prevents the spread of Buddhism. To conquer her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples that would be placed on all points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built according to precise plans. Thus it happened that in about AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the heart of the demon. In the evening, relax in the traditional hot-tub after a busy day and overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 08: Departure from Paro
After breakfast, your guide to Access Bhutan Tours will show you at the Paro International Airport for your further trip.
End of the Tour Program
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