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Dagala Trekking Tour

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek Bhutan

This short trek from Thimphu passes through several picturesque lakes, alpine meadows, nomadic yak herders camp, varied flora & fauna amidst pristine environment. It is a moderate trek with short trekking days but with few steep climbs. The trail traverses along the ridge line of Dagala range that separate Thimphu valley from lower hills to the south with uninterrupted views in all directions. On a clear day, along with peaks of Bhutan, travelers can also view far off peaks of Sikkim and Nepal as well.

Season: The best months for this trek are April, May and October.

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Flight
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an dagala-trek exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards transfer to the hotel.

The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.

This afternoon is dedicated for exploring Paro and its surrounding.

Visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is also through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.

Evening take an exploratory walk around Paro main street.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 02: Paro
After breakfast, take a short drive to Satsam Chorten (trail head point) for a walking excursion to Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang Lhakhang) (approx 5 hours walk). This most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress, and meditated at this place, hence the monastery is also called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site, which has long been recognized as a most sacred place, was visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, the religious and temporal ruler of Bhutan. It is a place of pilgrimage which Bhutanese try to visit at least once in a lifetime.

dagala-trekLater in the afternoon visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries of the Kingdom reflecting introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 03: Paro – Gur, 4 – 5 hours walk
Morning after breakfast drive to the village of Gynekha (2800m) to commence the trek. The trek begins with a short descent and after crossing bridge over the Wang Chhu river, we follow the trail steadily upwards until reaching a rocky platform, a good resting spot. Then we continue slowly through bamboo and birch forest to reach our camp, situated in a meadow at Gur (3,300m).

Overnight camp at 3,300m.

Day 04: Gur - Lambatama, 6 hours walk
Today’s trek takes you across the high ridges with nature’s bounty. The path traverses through refreshing meadows adorned with wildflowers and asparagus (during spring).  The day’s first mountain pass is marked by a huge cairn and offers magnificent view of Mount. Kanchenjunga and other peaks of Bhutan Himalayas. During descend, you will be able to see entire Dagala mountain range including meadows and yak herders’ camps. Once you have descended into the Labatama valley, continue walking through the valley, passing yak herders huts before reaching Uthso Tsho lake.

Overnight camp, right next to lake at 4,300m.

Day 05: Lambatama - Panka, 5 hours walk dagala trekking Bhutan
Walking further from Lambatama, the trail ascends along the western side of Dala Tsho upto a saddle at 4,500m and there onwards the entire descent offers amazing views of prominent Himalayan peaks such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Masang Gang and Mt. Jichu Drake. For even a better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle at altitude of around 4,700m. From the saddle the path descends, passing by few yak herders huts at Doccha Chhu. Following the river for a while and with few ascends and descends, we reach at Panka.

Overnight camp at 4,000m.

Day 06: Panka – Talakha – Chamgang - Thimphu, 5 – 6 hours walk
Though today’s trek entrails crossing several passes but those are not strenuous. After crossing the last pass, Tale La at 4,200m, you start a long descent to Chamgang.  Later picked up by our transport and transfer to Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu.

Evening an exploratory walk around Thimphu city centre.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320m)

Day 07: Thimphu
The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions.

Today’s sightseeing in Thimphu includes:
Buddha Dordenma: The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.   
Memorial Chorten: This stupa was consecrated on 28 July 1974 in the memory of Bhutan ‘s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhist often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.dagala-trek
Trashichhoedzong: Also known as ‘fortress of the glorious religion’, it was initially built in 1641 and later restored in its present form by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. During the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong.
Textile Museum: Bhutanese textiles are an integral part of its cultural and heritage and are unique for their diversity and sophistication. Textile Museum at Thimphu has given a new platform to the nation’s textiles and Bhutanese weavers and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan.
Simply Bhutan: It is an exclusive project under the Bhutan Youth Development Fund, built to offer a unique experience to its visitors. Simply Bhutan is a living museum and studio encapsulating the rich cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people.
National Library: The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library, established in late 1960s. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags. Take a chance to see the world’s biggest book stationed on the ground floor.

Institute of Zorig Chusum or Arts & crafts School: It is premier institution of traditional arts and crafts set up by the Royal Government of Bhutan in 1971, with two objectives – to preserve traditional arts and crafts and to create job opportunities for the youth of the country.
Evening explore local craft bazaar and city centre.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320m)

Day 08: Thimphu – Gangtey (150km, approx. 5 hour’s drive)
After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana - finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

At Dochula Pass, 108 chortens or stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. These chortens are built in three layers, the first lowest level layer has forty-five chortens, the second has thirty-six and the top layer has twenty-seven, built around the main chorten.

Then drive onto Gangtey, passing through dense forests of oak and rhododendron tress.

The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space and is an extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha.dagala-trek

Afternoon explore fascinating Phobjikha valley. This place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water).
Also visit Black Neck Crane Information Centre. Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people.
Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey. (Altitude 3,000m)

Day 09: Gangtey - Punakha (85km, approx. 3 hour’s drive)
After breakfast visit Gangtey Goempa (monastery), perched on a ridge overlooking the valley.  It is directed by Gangtey Tulku, the ninth reincarnation (a “Tulku” is a reincarnate) of Pema Lingpa—a famous Buddhist saint and teacher.

Then, drive onward to Punakha.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and seat of government until 1955 and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. Located at an elevation of 1300m above sea level, Punakha enjoys mild winters and is popular year-round destination.
Afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness), built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative centre of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here. Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that is exotic to us, though long established here.dagala-trek

Then a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang.
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

Evening explore newly developed Wangdue town and its local market.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m)

Day 10: Punakha - Paro (125km, approx. 4 hour’s drive)
After breakfast, visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue gleams Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup temple. It houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara and of Guru Padsambhava, Gautam Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious training, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangkha painting.
Thereafter, a beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.

After lunch, drive to Paro along scenic highway. En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 11: Depart Paro
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for the flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.

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