The Tshechu (festival) is a religious event celebrated on the tenth of a month (lunar calendar), corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche. However the exact month of the Tshechu varies from place to place and temple to temple. Tshechus are grand events where entire communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. In addition to the mask dances, Tshechus also include colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment. It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories and incidents from as long ago as the 8th century, during the life of Guru Rimpoche. In monasteries the mask dances are performed. The most popular festivals are Thimphu Festival, Paro Festival, Punakha Festival, and Bumthang Jamba Lhakhang Drup Festival.
On arrival in Paro international airport, kindly proceed to the exit of the arrival hall. Your tour leader will await you just outside the arrival hall and will escort you to your hotel in Kathmandu. Please look out for a placard of Highland Expeditions at the exit of arrival hall. Check into your hotel, In the afternoon visit to Paro Festival. Half day attend the annual Paro Tshechu, Bhutan’s largest and most resplendent festival. Masked dancers perform ritualized reenactments of mythical struggles between good and evil forces. Accompanied by Tibetan musicians and the antics of the sacred clowns (atsaras), the Tshechu is a fascinating visual and cultural spectacle unique to Bhutan.
Morning we will visit the festival and in the afternoon drive north end of Paro valley and visit Kyichu Lhakang; this is one of the oldest temple in Bhutan with its magic orange tree that bears fruits all year around and visit Paro town
Check out from the hotel and drive to Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan. Visit Memorial Chorten built in the memory of late 3rd king of Bhutan, further drive to Buddha viewpoint. We have magnificent view of the whole valley from here; visit Changangkha Lhakhang, oldest temple in the valley. In the afternoon, your journey will start towards Punakha. Upon Arrival in Punakha, visit the traditional Hand Made Paper Mill, School of Arts and Crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan, Folk Heritage Museum, National Library and the Traditional Institute of Medicine. Drive to the Zilukha nunnery to meet the nuns and interact with them. Lunch in the town and drive to Punakha through Dochula pass (3200 mts) If the weather permits one can enjoy a spectacular view of the highest mountains of Bhutan at a site that stretches almost 180 degrees. Walk around the 108 stupas and continue to sub tropical valley of Punakha
Morning drive to visit Punakha Dzong (fortress), which houses the most elaborated temple in the country. This is a fine example of Bhutanese rich Art and Architecture. Drive further up to visit the Souvenir Making Center for girls supported by Youth Development Fund. Interact with the students and back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we have time to retrace our steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of that wonderful view of the Himalayan range. Returning to the Chuzum or confluence we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward of evil spirits near the checkpoint. Time permitting the journey can be broken with a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang built by Thangtong Gyalpo (the so-called Iron Bridge Builder). This former saint from the 14th century introduced the art of building suspension bridges with iron chains; the only way to reach his temple is by one of these bridges. On the final leg the road snakes alongside the Pa Chhu river, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to our home in the mountains, Paro,
One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that this cliff side was where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. To avoid the hot sun an early start is advisable for the two-hour climb to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Descend steeply, then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates which are filled with murals. Retrace our steps or alternatively (if time and energy levels allow) head further up to several remote temples and monasteries.
Drop off at the airport for final departure.
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