The Thimphu Festival (Tsechu) is one of the grandest of Bhutan’s festivals and attracts the largest audience. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Tenzing Rabgye (1638-1696) in 1670. This festival also provides a great opportunity to witness locals gathered in their finest Gho’s and Kira’s in a celebration of their culture and faith. This tour also visits sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.
There is also an optional day tour of the beautiful Haa Valley available as part of this tour.
Thimphu Festival (Sep 30 -Oct 2 - 2017)
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE THIMPHU TSHECHU TOUR
The ‘Thimphu Tsechu’ festival tour attends one of Bhutan’s biggest festivals. Join locals in a colourful celebration of Bhutanese culture and faith. This Bhutan tour also explores all of the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys, and is ideal for those with a limited time frame.
- View sacred dances and rituals performed by monks and laymen in elaborate costumes.
- Join in with locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socialising.
- Witness the unfurling ceremony of the sacred ‘thongdroel’ scroll at daybreak.
- Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
- Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
Day 01 : Paro-Thimphu
Arrive in Paro. You will be received by your tour guide. After lunch, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. You can also stop on the way to capture in the magnificent Tachog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge Builder (Drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464)). In the evening relax at the hotel or go for orientation walk of the town. Overnight hotel in Thimphu
DAY 02: THIMPHU
After breakfast, drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). There is inevitably a great deal of socialising as well.
Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 03: THIMPHU
Enjoy a morning of sightseeing, including a visit to 12th century Changangkha Temple, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972.
In the afternoon return to Tashichhodzong to further experience the colourful events of the Thimphu festival. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 04: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
After breakfast, you will visit Thimphu’s ‘Weekend Market’ located at north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region come to sell their products. Most people combine a visit here with some souvenir shopping in the nearby Handicrafts Market.
After lunch, enjoy the drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get beautiful views of the Himalayas. From there, drive downhill through the forests. You will arrive at Punakha after traveling through rice field and along the bank of Punachanngchu River. Visit the Punakha Dzong, which is situated in between Phuchhu and Mochu. Stay overnight at Punakha.
DAY 05: PUNAKHA – PARO
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.
Return to Paro. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley.
On reaching at Dochula, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. After lunch at Dochula, you will continue drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Afterwards proceed to Paro, On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
DAY 06: PARO
In the morning you will visit to Ta Dzong. It is a Museum located on the hill behind the Paro Dzong. Open from 9 am to 4pm every day except Mondays and some national holidays, a visit takes a good hour. Housed in a 17th century watch tower, it has a unique character and beautiful panoramic views over Paro Valley. Later in the afternoon you to will travel to visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. The reconstruction of Drukgyel Dzong has begun. On return you will also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Alternatively, day 6 could be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
DAY 07: PARO .Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the Paro valley floor. The Guru Rinpoche a Buddhist saint is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months and subdued the demon residing there.
You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria. After lunch you will hike downhill viewing the aesthetic beauty of wide Paro valley. In the evening relax at the hotel. Overnight hotel in Paro.
DAY 08: DEPART PARO.
After breakfast, drive to the airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.
- Sustainable Development Fees & Visa fees.
- All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
- Local English speaking guide/tour leader.
- Experienced driver.
- Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels & guesthouses.
- All meals in Bhutan.
- All entrance fees and permits.
- All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
- Medical / Travel Insurance.