Punakha Festival as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padmasambhawa, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. The festival’s masked dances are performed by monks clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts.
Punakha Festival Itineraries:
Day 01: ARRIVAL PARO & THIMPHU
- Upon arrival at the airport our representatives will receive and drive you through the beautiful Paro valley to Thimphu.
- Later sightseeing of the valley; evening at leisure in town.
- Dinner & overnight Hotel
Day 02: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
- Full day sightseeing: visit Memorial Chorten, built in the memory of Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Changangkha Monastery, Zilukha Nunnery, National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, Zorig Chosum (Painting School).
- Lunch at a local restaurant and continue sightseeing
- Visit Handicraft Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textile
- Visit Buddha Point with an option to hike through the nature trail (appx.1 hr.)
- Visit Bhutanese Hand Made Paper factory, Folk Heritage Museum, Textiles Museum.
- Evening visit Tashichhodzong, the central secretariat building that houses the office & thrown room of the King and leisure time in town.
- Dinner & overnight at Hotel
Day 03: WITNESS PUNAKHA FESTIVAL
- Early breakfast and drive to Punakha Dzong to witness Punakha Festival. You will see the local people in their colourful attire come to witness the Festival. Punakha Tshechu was introduced in 2005 and it plays an important role in preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and tradition.
- After lunch, drive to Missina to visit Chimmi Lhakhang (a temple of fertility and is regarded as a pilgrimage site for barren couple).
- Drive further to Wangduephodrang to visit town and Dzong.
- Overnight Hotel.
Day 04: WITNESS FESTIVAL
- Early breakfast and hike to Khamsum Yulley Monastery; this will be a gradual 45 minutes climb up-hill. The view of the valley is spectacular from the top or the monastery.
- Later drive to Punakha Dzong to witness the Festival.
- Evening at leisure in town.
- Overnight Hotel .
Day 05: DRIVE TO GANGTEY
- After breakfast, drive to Gangtey/Phobjikha valley which is the winter home of the rare and endangered species of bird ‘Black Neck Crane’.
- Dinner & overnight Hotel/Guest House
Day 06: GANGTEY SIGHTSEEING-PARO
- Early breakfast and visit Gangtey Monastery
- Later hike around the wide valley on foot along the nature trail.
- After lunch transfer to Paro. Enroute, Tea/coffee stop at Dochula cafeteria.
- Dinner and overnight Hotel
Day 07: PARO SIGHTSEEING
- An excursion to view & visit the spectacular Takshang Monastery. “Takshang” literally means Tiger’s Nest. The Monastery is believed to have been built in 1684 on the spot where Guru Rimpoche (founder of Buddhism in Bhutan) flew on the back of a Tigress and meditated to subdue the demons in Paro valley. The trail to the Monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. This incredible Monastery clings vertically to the edge of a granite rock cliff that plunges 900 meters above the valley floor.
- Lunch at Takshang Cafeteria.
- Later visit Taa Dzong, the national museum of Bhutan & Rimpong Dzong.
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
Day 08: DEPARTURE
- Early breakfast and transfer to Paro International Airport for departure