The package endeavors to explore western and central Bhutan meticulously. From political cauldrons to the spiritual heartland, we journey across the mountains witnessing the flora and fauna of Bhutan along the scenic setting of the valleys.
As we delve deeper into the western and central valleys of Bhutan we start gathering richer insights to understand Bhutan crystal clear and also seek ways to experience Bhutan differently. On this tour, we come face-to-face with the culture, tradition, religion, and politics of Bhutan. Additionally, we also meet people from all the valleys, each with different lifestyle yet all in a Bhutanese spirit.
• Burning Lake:
Living on a myth or legend of a very prominent Bhutanese treasure discoverer, the significance of this lake owes to the story that occurred in the 15th-century. According to the legend, as the local people doubted the claims of this prominent treasure discoverer, he called upon the locals to this very lake. Once at the lake, he lit a lamp promising to bring the lamp lit even after dipping in the lake. After a while making way from the floor of the lake, he not only discovered the treasures hidden by Guru Padmasambhava, he still had the lamp burning. After this legendary tale, the lake came to be known as the burning lake.
•Temple of Fertility
The 14th-century temple was built on a rotund knoll by a propagator of Buddhism after burying a dog-like demoness that the stupa floor stands. Chimi Lhakhang or the Temple of Fertility is profusely painted with phalluses and wooden phalluses nailed to the doors of all the houses. It is now a tradition very intact believed to ward off evil spirits.
Meanwhile, it is particularly for the childless partners or for those expecting a child- the temple blesses the couple and offers guidance to conceive a healthy baby. People also flock to the temple to get names for their new-born.
- Day 1 Paro–Thimphu: Fly to Bhutan amid gentle terrains of the Greater Himalayas. For the first-timers, the descent of the plane amid the wedges of the mountains will have their heart skip heartbeat sweaty palms clutched firm on the armrest, feet almost digging into the plane's floor and feeling the stark pull of gravity- Bhutan's airport is considered as one of the dangerous airports in the world. After a brief reception ceremony, your guide will immediately whisk you to your SUV. Your tour begins in Bhutan. At halfway, a halt takes you to a temple across an iron bridge as a welcoming gesture. Inhaling the atmosphere, you will start grouping the jigsaw of your life, admitting to your conscience that you have indeed touched and sensed everything that life has to offer. So have you, you are in a country that is carbon-negative and developing through happiness as a nation-state.
- Day 2 Thimphu: The capital city of Bhutan is a rendezvous of culture, customs, and traditions. As we venture out sightseeing in Thimphu, the itinerary takes you to all the touristic spots that by little or completely touches everything about Bhutan. By large, Thimphu offers a clear picture of any part of Bhutan. The presence of various attractions be it cultural, religious or political- the capital city alone resemblances Bhutan. For sightseeing, the important attractions are takin preserve, memorial stupa, Buddha Dordema, folk heritage museum, textile museum, the academy of art and craft, Simtokha Dzong and Tashichhodzong. After visiting all the attractions in Thimphu, refresh once in your room and come out to take a stroll in the streets of the capital city of Bhutan. Dotted by various entertainments, the nightlife of Thimphu is very lively.
- Day 3 Thimphu–Punakha/Wangdue: To head to the western districts even deeper, we start early. We traverse into the depths of the Western territories. The destination- Punakha, and Wangduephodrang is in the cocoon of a medieval setting. It takes two-hours from Thimphu to the destination of the day. The western districts stood witness at scores of historical transition of the country, even to the unification of the country. Onto destination bound, the drive is one of the most scenics of the tour. Additionally, the stopover at the mountain pass- Do Chula at 3100 meters offers the panoramic vista of perennial snowcapped mountains to the North. On a clear weather, one can count 10 mountain peaks, the peaks are collectively known as ‘Jigme Singye Wangchuck Mountain Range’ after the name of Fourth King of Bhutan. It is on this journey that touts the fauna of the country. For photographers, down the mountain pass- Do Chula to the floor of the valley, it’s a photographer’s paradise. Before reaching our destination, we drive to the ‘temple of fertility’ renowned for blessing infertile couples with children.
- Day 4 Punakha-Bumthang: Traversing from the political realm to the spiritual heartland, the drive to Bumthang is an arduous one yet unfurls the natural wonders. The drive ascends us through varying vegetation that is temperate, sub-tropical and alpine. Our highest driving point will be a mountain pass- Pelela at 3140 meters then we gradually descent to the floor of the Bumthang valley always clouded by the dense fogs. On the way, the imposing Trongsa Dzong is seen at the floor of the valley, the longest in the country. It was the seat of political power and today, every King of Bhutan must first serve as the Governor of Trongsa before crowning. The religious fortress houses 30 temples and also has four courtyards. Above the fortress is the ancient watch tower that overseers the dzong. However, it is now transformed to a museum designated to showcase belongings of the Kings of Bhutan. After crossing Trongsa, we drive by another mountain pass- Yotongla at 3550 meters.
- Day 5 Bumthang: Upon reaching the spiritual heartland of the country, one is greeted by many temples and stupas dotting the sprawling plains of Bumthang. Bumthang gets its name from its own geographical feature; it translates as the- valley of thousand plains. Retracing history, Bumthang was a dwelling of the Great Kings and the evil powers. Considering thousands of myths and legends that embrace the valley about the Kings and evil powers, it is claimed that the advent of Buddhism sprang in Bumthang. It was after the invitation of a sick King that a Great Saint of India, Guru Padmasambhava visited Bhutan dating back to 7th century. The saint also brought Buddhism to Bhutan at a time of lawlessness. Going by history, the real treat of the valley are temples and palaces that were built as early as 7th century conserved religiously intact. One look at these temples, we can draw a conclusion that Bhutanese are an exceedingly pious lot. Some interesting places to visit are sacred sites that were built on caves possessing body imprint on a rock of the Great Indian Saint Guru Padmasambhava and burning lake harboring a legendary tale. On the tour, we also visit the Palace of our Kings now transformed into a religious center.
- Day 6 Bumthang-Phobjikha: Waking up early to depart for the valley of the cranes, the drive from Bumthang to Phobjikha is considered one of the most scenic and peaceful drive. The glacial valley of Phobjikha is the winter roosting ground of the seasonal and endangered Black-Necked Cranes. For the safety of the cranes, as it is a precious possession of the valley, the state mandates that no household can have overhead cables, it must be connected through underground provisions. The roosting ground is also fenced and people must stay 100 meters away from the fence. Phobjikha embraces the iconic Gangtey Goenpa- the seat of revered Peling Branch of Vajrayana Buddhism. Another one to experience is the Nature Trail- strolling through the tranquil and clean atmosphere, connecting the body to the soul offering healing benefits to any ailments, be it physical or psychological.
- Day 7 Phobjikha-Paro: We journey back to Paro via Wangdue valley. It is known as the valley of “ornamental speech” because of the local people’s innate ability to come up with verses that are elegant, poetic and meaningful. This valley was once governed from Wangdue Dzong which, unfortunately, was destroyed by fire and is being entirely rebuilt. The journey is also remarkable in that we pass through varying landscapes of immense beauty, adorned with numerous shades and hues of alpine flowers.
- Day 8 Paro: After a quick breakfast equipping everything recommended, we set on the most awaited segment of the tour. The toil of the day before comes to play as you hike to the Tiger's Nest. Etched precariously on a carve of a granite cliff at 3120 meters, almost 1000 meters above the valley floor, Taktshang is the cultural icon of Bhutan. It is for this particular attraction, tourists flock to Bhutan and pilgrims attempts to visit the monastery at least once in a lifetime, if not more. For the being of the temple, a legend spells that the Indian Saint, Guru Padmasambhava, worshipped in the Buddhist world as the Second Buddha flew to this location on the back of a tigress to tame a tiger demon. The switchback trail to Taktshang offers respite through picturesque vistas of nature, the opportunity to see the last horizon, the horizon beyond horizon and narration by the guide on many myth and legends of Bhutan continuing the hike in a pace unbothered by time. After finishing the trail, the mind and body equally exhausted, you might want to get a trekker's foot massage for a good night's sleep. Another one could be taking a hot stone bath immersed in a wooden tub with local medicinal herbs offering a relaxing sensory journey.
- Day 9 Paro: Bid goodbye to Bhutan but to come back again and in all times to come, wax memories about your experience in Bhutan.