By large, Bhutan will be a collector’s delight seeking the Holy Grail of textiles. The textile tour will journey across from the western to eastern region witnessing Bhutanese various textiles. The textiles are intricately hand-woven and the peculiar are yak hair weaved and sheep woolen textiles. One of the most beautiful textiles is the revered Kishuthara.
Textile Museum in Bhutan
The significance of Bhutan’s textiles is attributed to many factors such as: its intricate patterns in textile art (unique in the world), skills and methods adopted in their creation, noteworthy role in religious, official and social events represented by “glyphs and symbols of ancient knowledge” and their deep sacred connotation. Some of the unique collections donated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, and some private individuals on display in the museum are: the first version of the Raven crown, brocade uzhams(crowns) worn by the first king, and the second king, and a princess crown worn by the sister of the first king, Ashi Wangmo.
The museum is divided into six areas of special focus, including Achievements in textile arts, the role of textiles in religion, textiles from indigenous fibres, The Royal Collection, warp pattern weaves, and weft pattern weaves. The Royal Collection of the museum has an invaluable collection of Bhutanese antique textile artefacts of Bhutan, including crowns of Bhutan’s kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories worn by the Royal Family, a pearl robe from Tsamdrak Goenpa and the bedding of His Holiness Shabdrung Jigme Dorji.
Khoma village is popular in all the regions of the country for its textile- Kishuthara. The textile is overwhelmingly sough-after textile in Bhutan. This village is located about two hours walk from the Dzong. It is a pleasant journey taking you over gentle slopes amongst pine trees.
The women sit in a row of makeshift textile cottage, weaving intricate designs and patterns. Picking up a Kishuthara here will be much cheaper than buying it from one of the handicraft shops in the capital.
- Day 1 Paro: As you get closer to Paro, witness the panoramic views of the Himalayas. After a brief greet, we head to your designated hotel. After lunch, we tour few historic places and head straight to visit Bhutanese textile and handicraft shops around Paro and get a brief on Bhutanese textiles.
- Day 2 Paro: Prepping up for a full day’s activity, the hike to Taktshang monastery built in the 17th century is a three-hour hike up through a switchback mule track. Returning just before sundown, we drive towards Thimphu.
- Day 3 Thimphu – Punakha: With batteries and camera sensor along the lens sacredly cleansed, we travel further into western Bhutan that offers stunning views for photography. At 3150 meters, we make a lavish stopover at the pass- Do Chula. Here, it is a vantage point to frame the panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges counting exactly to 10 peaks. If you must, we can hike a little above the pass for 20 minutes, we can see the overview of the 108 temples that form a nucleated spot. Descending further, we reach Punakha. There we visit a temple of fertility, also popular as phallus valley. It is about time you leave shyness at bay and capture the cultural and religious icon adorning houses and temples- capture huge phalluses. After Lunch, explore Punakha Dzong. It is one of the most photographed fortresses for its sheer beauty adorned by jacarandas.
- Day 4 Punakha – Phobjikha: On our way to the valley of the cranes, we stop at a vantage point to photograph the Rinchengang village still at its medieval glory. Upon arriving in the Phobjikha valley, we go on a light hike, Nature’s trail. The trail offers stunning views of the landscape unperturbed by human inflictions of development.
- Day 5 Phobjikha – Trongsa: Our journey to Trongsa will be one of the most amazing scenic drives. On the way, we stop at Pelela pass at 3300 meters. We take rest for lunch at Chendibji Lhakhang. While in Trongsa, we will visit Bhutan’s longest and largest monastery-fortress Trongsa Dzong. Above the dzong is the former watchtower that is transformed into a museum.
- Day 6 Trongsa – Bumthang: After breakfast, drive to Bumthang. While in Chumey Valley in Bumthang, visit the Yathra weaving factory. On reaching Bumthang, we straightaway visit Chumey valley to visit yathra weaving factory. Here, the textile called yathra is hand-woven from the wool of yak and sheep. Most of the women in this valley, especially in Zungye village, earn their lively hood by weaving Yathra which is supplied to towns in Bhutan.
- Day 7 Bumthang: A day in the spiritual heartland of the country is rejuvenating. In the sprawling acre of the valley, it is all temples and monasteries in the loop recommended by the itinerary. Living by myth and legends, a short narration is here as follows to tickle your senses: In the 15th century, a Treasure Discoverer dived into a lake with a burning lake in his hand to the floor of the lake fishing out treasure and reappearing to the surface of the lake with the lamp still burning. Thus, the burning lake- is it a myth or a legend? In the sacredness of the temples unwind your life's purpose. Meditate in the tranquil of the valley unperturbed by the modern elements. We call it a day after visiting a local handloom weaving house and take an opportunity to interact with the weavers.
- Day 8 Bumthang - Mongar: After breakfast, drive to Mongar. Stop over at places to view the beautiful scenery and for photography. The drive from Bumthang to Mongar shall take you across the highest point in Bhutan’s motorable road. The point is known as the Thrumsingla Pass at an altitude of 4000m. Crossing over the highest motor pass- Thrimsingla at 4000 meters, we stop at many places for photography before we reach our destination. After almost a six-hour drive we reach our destination.
- Day 9 Mongar – Lhuntshe: After an early breakfast, we visit Mongar Dzong. Then we proceed to Lhuentshe, it is an almost three-hour drive. Ancestral home to the Royal family of Bhutan, many of the places here are revered regally and religiously.
- Day 11 Lhuntse: Home to the most intricate and expensive hand-woven textile, Khoma village manufactures Kishuthara- the most envied textile of the nation. At here, we go on a spree to witness the Holy Grail of textiles in Bhutan- trying it and taking a picture clad in Kishuthara dresses. The main source of income for the people in this place is weaving Kishuthara.
- Day 11 Lhuntse – Ranjung: After breakfast, take wheels to Ranjung. In the evening, explore Ranjung valley.
- Day 12 Ranjung: Radhi valley is another paradise for the textile lovers. Close to the epitome of textile, the valley is famous for raw silk called Bura. It is also one of the most expensive clothing in Bhutan. We can closely watch legends at work weaving Bura.
- Day 13 Ranjung – Khaling – Trashigang: We drive by the National Institute for the Visually Impaired built in 1973. Afterward, we see the Khaling textile weaving center operated by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan. By evening, we drive to Tashigang.
- Day 14 Trashigang – Mongar – SamdrupJongkhar: As we venture another 10-hours journey, we first visit Tashignag Dzong at the confluence of two big rivers. Then, we continue our journey to Samdrup Jongkhar.
- Day 15 Samdrupjongkhar: We bid goodbye to be together yet again in another time or in another place, better still, in the same Happy Kingdom. After breakfast, meet your Indian guide at the border gate which divides Bhutan and India and drives onward to Guwahati, India.