10 DAYS - JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP - FESTIVAL

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD.  The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demons that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro, the Kichu lhakhang also built on the same day.
The ‘Jambay Lhakhang Drup’ festival tour travels to Bhutan’s spiritual heartland to experience the rich pageantry and festive atmosphere of this unique festival.  This four day festival is held in the premises of 7th century Jambay Lhakhang temple in Jakar is to commemorate the establishment of Jambay Lhakhang temple in 7th century and also to honor Guru Rinpoche. In addition to the traditional mask dances, there are few dances unique here. The annual Jambay Lhakhang Drup Tsechu is well known for the sacred naked dance known as Ter Cham and Mewang or the fire blessing. The sacred naked dance is performed at midnight inside the courtyard of the temple and tourists are usually not permitted.  A fire dance is held in the evening to bless infertile women so that they may bear children. The festival dances were composed mostly by Terton Pema Lingpa, the great treasure discoverer of the 15th century, who lived in the valley. 

This Bhutan tour also explores the cultural western and historical central valleys of Bhutan.

View sacred dances and rituals performed by monks and laymen in colorful costumes.

Join in with locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socializing.

Explore Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites.

Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.

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10 DAYS - JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP - FESTIVAL (9 NIGHTS/10DAYS)

Day 1: ARRIVE PARO - THIMPHU (Approx drive time - 1hr)

Your guide will receive you at Paro airport exit doors and help you check in to your hotel.     Afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical, cultural and religious past.  Next drive to 7th C Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 temples said to have been constructed in a single day by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.  The temple is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa and houses a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.  Afterwards, drive to Thimphu.

Overnight at hotel in Thimphu (2400m)

Day 2: THIMPHU

We have a full day to tour and visit the capital of Bhutan as per interests.  Places of interest are Memorial Chorten, Takin Preserve, Zilukha nunnery, Traditional Art School, Hospital for traditional medicine, National Library, Textile Academy and Museum, Changlimithang ground where you may see Archery, Centennial farmers’ market, which is more vibrant over the weekend (Fri-Sun) or you can spend half day hiking to Cheri or Tango Monastery north of Thimphu.  You can decide these activities with your guide when you are here.

Overnight at hotel in Thimphu  (2,400m)

DAY 3: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA (Drive - 2.5hr)

Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.

On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

Afterwards enjoy a short walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. 

Overnight at hotel in Punakha (1300m)   

DAY 04: PUNAKHA – TRONGSA – BUMTHANG (Drive - 6.5 hrs)

Drive from Punakha to Bumthang via Trongsa  over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range. Enroute stretch your legs at the beautiful Chendebji Chorten, erected in the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest in Bhutan. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the landscape for many miles. Also visit the Ta Dzong museum housing an incredible collection of historical artefacts of the royal family.

Continue on to Bumthang, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest palaces and temples. This is a pleasant drive over the Yotongla pass (3400m) and through the beautiful central valleys of Chumey and Chamkhar in Bumthang.

Overnight at hotel/lodge in Bumthang (2700m)   

DAY 05: BUMTHANG

Visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places  Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of Bhutan's oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and housing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Afterwards enjoy exploring the village of Jakar, Bumthang’s main township. 

Overnight at hotel/lodge in Bumthang (2700m)   

DAY 06: BUMTHANG

Return to experience more of the festivities at Jambay Lhakhang, or enjoy an excursion to Tang Valley, the most remote valley in the Bumthang district. Activities may include a 45 minute walk uphill to Ugyen Chholing Palace, built in the 16th century. The main building in the complex now features a fascinating museum offering a real insight into the lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. Highlights include a book of divination, a dakini dance costume made of bone. You may also visit 14th century Tang Rimochen Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche meditated and Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. 

Overnight at hotel/lodge in Bumthang (2700m) 

DAY 07: BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA

Drive to Punakha via Trongsa.

Overnight at hotel in Punakha (1300m) 

DAY 08: PUNAKHA – PARO

Drive back to Thimphu where you will enjoy lunch and have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at hotel in Paro (2300m)

DAY 9: PARO (hike to Tiger's Nest)

After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery.  The walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we arrange a horse for transfer up to the cafeteria).  The view of the monsatery built on a sheer cliff face is a spectacular sight.  Evening at leisure in Paro. 

Overnight at hotel in Paro (2300m)

DAY 10: DEPART PARO

After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination.

INCLUDED IN YOUR PACKAGE

  • Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.

  • All private excursions and transfers in air-conditioned vehicle.

  • Local English speaking guide/tour leader.

  • Experienced driver.

  • Accommodation in government approved hotels & guesthouses.

  • All meals in Bhutan.

  • All entrance fees and permits.

NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR PACKAGE

  • Airfare to and from Bhutan

  • Travel Insurance

  • Bar expenses & other expenses of personal nature such as tipping

  • Expenses for additional activities such as biking, rafting , ponies etc