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Bhutan Wellness Tour

Bhutan Wellness Tour

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Flight
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu, or over the foothills from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. wellness-zhiwaling.jpg

After immigration formalities you will be welcomed by our representative with a ‘tashi khaddar’ (white scarf offering to the guest which is an auspicious way to welcome) and then transferred to the hotel.
Considering the Rice Bowl of Bhutan, the wide and fertile Paro valley has both an ancient and modern look. It is home to some of the most revered temples in the Kingdom and also boasts country’s only international airport.
Afternoon take a stroll in and around picturesque Paro city centre getting first hand feel of Happiness Kingdom.
Evening a presentation by a local expert on Gross National Happiness (GNH), a brainchild of the Fourth King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk. This new development paradigm is opposed to conventional GDP model and based on four pillars: balanced and equitable socio-economic development, conservation of the natural environment, preservation & promotion of culture, and promotion of good governance. 

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

Day 02: Paro
After breakfast, excursion to Taktsang Monastery of Tiger’s Nest (approx. 5-hour round trip walk). Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest clings precariously to a cliff 3000 ft. above Paro valley floor. Legend has it that in the eight century Guru Padsambhava flew here on the back of a tigress and meditated. Centuries later, in 1684, the 4th temporal ruler of Bhutan, Gyalsey Tenzin Rabgye, built a monastery at the site and named it Taktsang. Today, it is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the Himalayan Buddhist world.

Afternoon experience Traditional 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. It is strongly believed that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxation and remove 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 – Chelela pass - Thimphu (116km, approx. 3.1/2-hour drive)
After breakfast, drive to Chelela pass. At an elevation of 3,988 meters, it is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour’s drive along a thickly forested road, this pass is a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind.wellness-amankora
From the pass, embark on a walking excursion to Kila Goemba. It is the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their life for spiritual fulfilment and leading undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. The goemba is nestled in a craggy patch on mountain side below the Chelela pass and perched precariously along the rock face. From Chelela pass, the lhakhang is about an hour walk amidst magnificent wooded area.
After picnic lunch in a forested area drive to capital town Thimphu. Besides its position as the seat of government, art & commerce, Thimphu’s many glittering monuments, temples, monasteries and Dzong as well as premier museums make it an attractive destination.
Evening a leisurely stroll in Thimphu’s city centre.

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

Day 04: Thimphu
Morning take a short drive to the north of town to Buddha Dordenma, located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park. The statue fulfils 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. This massive statue of Shakyamuni made of bronze and is gilded in gold, measures 51.5 meters in height, making it one of the largest statues, in Bhutan. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, each of these also have been cast in bronze and gilded. Here at Buddha Point, you have an option to perform meditation at a designated area.

Afterwards walk around National Memorial Chorten, a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments. This is the most ideal spot to interact with locals who throng in large numbers to circumambulate the chorten, whirl the large red prayer wheels and pray at a small shrine inside the gate. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Post lunch, drive to visit 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.

Then an astrology session at Pangri Zampa. Founded in the early 16th century, this complex is a college for traditional astrology. Buddhist Astrology is a form of archetypal astrology that helps us understand the role of the cosmic cycles in relation to our understanding and identification with Buddhist philosophy and mythology. It helps us understand the role of interdependence, a primary Buddhist belief, with our personal genetics, family history, education, and other social and cultural influences. Buddhist Astrology recognizes that there is a critical need to balance the physical world around us with conditions we were born into, from a karmic or cosmic perspective. The interdependence of these factors makes us able to live in a world full of choices while honoring the basic dynamic trends pulling us in one direction or another.

Conclude the day’s sightseeing with visit of Trashichhoedzong, ‘fortress of the glorious religion’. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

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

Day 05: Thimphu – Gangtey (150km, approx. 5-hour drive)
Morning drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) and take in the view, 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.welness-gangteylodge

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.

Prayer flags hoisting ceremony at Dochula 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. Deeply religious, the people of Bhutan believe that with each flutter, a flag releases the prayer printed on it into the air which in turn carries it to the heavens. The more the flag flaps, the greater is its divine value.

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.

Evening to enjoy Spa facilities at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey. (Altitude 3,000m)

Day 06: Gangtey
Morning a special prayer ceremony held at a village monastery by a team of monks for the peace, prosperity and good health, followed by lightening of butter lamp.

Then 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).
Afternoon 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 take a stroll in and around Gangtey village, meeting a local family and taste Suja (traditionally prepared salted butter tea). The simple yet colourful and charming village houses offer immense photo opportunity.

Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey. (Altitude 3,000m)

Day 07: Gangtey – Punakha (85km, approx. 3-hour drive)
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Punakha.wellness-umapunakha
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and seat of government until 1955 and it is the place where the first hereditary King of Bhutan was unanimously elected in 1907.  The first session of Kingdom’s National Assembly was also held in the Punakha Dzong. 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.
Picnic lunch by riverside enjoying the magnificent views and absorbing the peace & serenity of the valley.
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.

Evening to experience hotel facilities.

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

Day 08: Punakha
Morning drive to Nalanda Buddhist Institute to meet with monks and a lession on meditation practises, followed by a meditation class.
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.  Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions and beliefs, often as part of the path towards enlightenment and self-realization. Since the 19th century, it has spread from its origins to other cultures where it is commonly practiced in private and business life. Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being.
Later in the day 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 yowellness-umapunakhau rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

Afternoon to experience hotel’s wellness.

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

Day 09: Punakha – Paro (125km, approx. 4.1/2-hour drive)
After breakfast, 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.

Afternoon a session in Archery & Khuru.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and an integral part of all occasions. During village tournaments, using bamboo bows (although modern compound bows are now common in cities) team of archers shoot at targets only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120 meters. Each team has a noisy crowd of supporters who, as well as encouraging their own side, try to put off the opposition. Archery competitions are among the most picturesque and colorful events in the country.

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.

Evening for shopping and at leisure in Paro town.

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

Day 10: Depart Paro
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.

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