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Bhutan Heritage Trail

Bhutan Heritage Trail

Day 01: Arrive Paro
On your journey to Paro from Delhi or Kathmandu, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Mount Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the steep descent into the Paro Valley is an awe-inspiring. On arrival, you will be met by your Guide and driven to your hotel.
In the evening walk around Paro town and valley at your own pace.
Dinner at a traditional farmhouse.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 02: Paroheritagetrail-bhutan
After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery.
Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.
Afternoon go for a typical Bhutanese hot stone bath.
Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Locals believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 03: Paro
After breakfast sightseeing includes:
Ta Dzong: An ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan.
Paro Rinpung Dzong: Literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646. Some of the scenes in the film Little Buddha (1993) were filmed in this Dzong.
Kyichu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.
Later, you shall have following options:
Explore Paro town and valley at your own pace on bicycle.
Or
Enjoy local sports, Archery & Khuru.
Archery: The national sport of Bhutan since 1971, Archery is a favourite recreational sport for young and old alike. Using bamboo bows (although modern compound bows are now common in cities) archers shoot at targets only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120 meters. During archery matches, each team also has a noisy crowd of supporters who, as well as encouraging their own side, try to put off the opposition. Archery competition are among the most picturesque and colorful events in the country and are the integral part of all festivities.

Khuru (dart game) is other popular outdoor team sport often played during festivals and archery tournaments. The heavy wooden darts, pointed with 10 centimeters nail, are thrown at a paperback-sized target 10 to 20 meters away. It is played all over Bhutan and can continue for entire day.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 04: Paro - Haa valley (70km, approx 3 hours’ drive)
After breakfast, drive to the Haa Valley via Chelela Pass. A short walk to Kila Gompa, a nunnery perched on a steep cliff face at 3500m. This staggering site manages to house 7 small temples and about 70 nuns. Views are magnificent and it is well worth the hour’s hike to get there. Lunch at Kila Gompa then descend back to the road head and drive over the prayer flag strewn pass at almost 4000m and down into the Haa Valley.

Prayer flat hoisting near Chelela pass:
Prayer flags are an integral part of Bhutanese landscape and also the cultural and religious heritage of the country especially the textile and weaving craft. They are ubiquitous in Bhutan; in and around monasteries, chortens or stupas, dzongs, lhakhangs, homes, on the railing of bridges and mountain roads, and invariably on or near the summit of the mighty peaks that preside over the country. Red, blue, green, yellow and white, they add a splash of rainbow colours to the rugged landscape.
Haa Valley: The Valley of Haa lies on the western most edge of Bhutan, its northern boundaries with the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, dividing it from the Indian province of Sikkim. Haa is one of the 20 districts or dzongkhags of Bhutan and one of the least populated. Opened to tourism in 2002, its tourism resources remain largely undeveloped. Most of its landmass is covered by dense forest and the remainder under fields of wheat and barley, with a little rice towards its lower reaches and the accessible side valleys. Meadows support the raising of yak, cattle, chicken, pigs and horses.
Overnight at the hotel in Haa valley. (Altitude 2,670m)heritagetrail-bhutan

Day 05: Haa valley
Today’s program begins by driving to Yotong (2955m), a group of village homes clustered together in the valley by the Haa Chhu River. An old trail leads 150m uphill to the Gompa, dedicated to the Guru Rimpoche and his 8 manifestations. Standing among a few farmhouses, this 300-year structure was built by the 16th Je Khempo (Head Abbot of Bhutan).
A rough road by the monastery will take us back by vehicle to Yotong. There after picnic lunch, a gentle walk along the riverside brings us into Haa town in about 2 hours. Explore the ancient temples; Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo.
Local dress wearing session:
The National dress of Bhutan is one of the most distinctive and visible aspects of Dragon Kingdom’s unique character. Men wear Gho, a long robe similar to Tibetan Chhuba, that is raised till knee, folded backwards and then tied around the waist by Kera (belt). While women wear, ankle length robe called Kira. The Bhutanese textile is made from fine, hand-woven or milled fabric, with the colorful distinctive patterns.
Overnight at the hotel in Haa valley. (Altitude 2,670m)

Day 06: Haa valley / Thimphu (115km, approx 4 hours’ drive)
After breakfast hike the lower road along first the Haa Chhu and after the confluence with the Wang Chhu, along the latter towards the capital at Thimphu. En route stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure, built by the brother of the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kinley. This dzong became Bhutan’s first jail in 1976 but has since returned to its monastic origins.
Afternoon, in Thimphu, visit:
The Institute of Zorig Chusum: Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.
National library: It holds vast collection of ancient texts and manuscripts.
Textile Museum: It provides insight into Bhutanese distinct art form.
Trashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.
Takin Reserve Centre: The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here.
Dinner with a local family.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320m)

Day 07: Thimphu / Punakha & Wangdue (75km, approx 3 hours’ drive)
After breakfast, visit to Buddha Point and Memorial chorten - built in the memory of the late King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Later drive to Punakha. On the way, visit:
Dochula pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 24 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu. It is at around 3080 mts height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.
Chimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. It is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman.
After Lunch, explore:
Punakha Dzong: This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers.
In the evening free time to walk around Punakha town and valley.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m)

Day 08: Punakha
After breakfast excursion to Talo village. The village of Talo (alt. 2800m) which is scattered along the hill slopes, known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha village. Talo Sangnacholing is built on a plateau and has majestic views of surrounding villages. The beautiful farmhouses of the village have its own flower gardens and on the hill slope corns and sweet peas are grown in abundance. heritagetrail-bhutan
After lunch, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Monastery:
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten: This chorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to build the chorten. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.
Later try, special cooking session:
This is a special cooking session held at local restaurant where a team of chef instruct/demonstrate how local Bhutanese delicacies are prepared – guests can also try their culinary skill. Bhutanese food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite hot. Tasty and fiery ‘Emma Datshi’ made with chilies and local Bhutanese cheese is the national dish of Bhutan. Guests can have fun participating in the preparation of local Bhutanese delicacies.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m)

Day 09: Punakha / Paro (125km, approx 4-hour drive)
After breakfast continue discovering:
Rinchengang Village: A small clustered village in Wangduephodrang, on a hill opposite to where Wangduephodrang Dzong was built before. It is about 20 minutes hike uphill from the nearest road.
Then return to Paro, taking a lunch stop at Dochula cafeteria, enjoying fascinating mountain views.
Drive further ahead and visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.
Evening fee for shopping and leisure.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 10: Depart Paro
After breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.

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