A Glimpse of Bhutan is a 6 days tour, perfectly designed to give our clients a glimpse of Bhutan’s unique culture & Tradition, enjoy the beauty of nature and pristine environment.

Day 1: Arrive at Paro (2250m)

Upon arrival at the Paro International airport, you will be met by your guide from Tall Pines Bhutan and transfer to your hotel in Paro or Thimphu.

Paro Airport

Ta Dzong: National Museum

Rinpung Dzong

In the afternoon, visit Ta-Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. It is located about five and a half kilometers away from the main town of Paro and 500 feet from the Rinpung Dzong (literally means “Heap of Jewels”) located below the museum.

Rinpung Dzong is the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Kyichu Lhakhang

Then, visit Kyichu Lhakhang (a ten minute drive from Paro town). The Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest lhakhangs to have been built in Bhutan. It is one of the 108 lhakhangs built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD. The King is said to have built 108 lhakhangs in a day throughout the Himalayan regions, of which Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang are two. Most of the remaining lhakhangs can be seen in Tibet. It was believed to be built over the body of a giant demoness who was preventing the spread of Buddhism across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayan region in order to subdue her. Kyichu Lhakhang was originally a small structure at the time of its establishment and was built on her left foot and belongs to a group of four temples categorized as ‘subjugating regions beyond the frontiers.’ Owing to Jowo (Buddha) as its main statue, the lhakhang was also known as Jowo Lhakhang.

Over the years the lhakhang was visited and blessed by many famous Buddhist saints: they include Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, one of the lamas Kha Nga saints from five different Drukpa Kagyu School in Bhutan, Lama Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. It is said that, the lhakhang was under the control of the five groups of lamas, likely the Bawara School. Later Lama Phajo is said to have stayed in the temple and taken care of it as well. While most of the saints either meditated or preached doctrines and began to exercise their domain in the area, some of the saints actually contributed by extending the size of the temple from its original quaint structure to a more grandiose one which can be only seen today. One such personality was Je Sherub Gyeltshen (Chief Abbot) who lived in the 18th century. He extended the Jowo Lhakhang and added many new statues.

The latest extension was carried out in 1965 under the initiative of the Royal Queen Mother, Ashi Kelzang Choden Wangchuck. She added another new structure to the temple known as Guru Lhakhang.

It houses many relics which dates back to from the 7th century. The oldest of them are the statues of Lord Buddha Sakya Muni and two of his disciples: Maugalbu (Maudgalyan) and Sharibu (Sariputra). Other relics that have been added over time in the Jowo Lhakhang are the four statues of Chagtong Chentong (the eleven-headed goddess or the goddess pf thousand-arms and thousand-eyes) installed by Dawa Penjor & Tshering Penjor during their tenure as the Paro Penlop (Govenor of Paro).

In the Guru Tshengyad (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche) Lhakhang, which was added by the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Kelzang Wangchuck, one can see the statue of Guru Nangsi Zilnon (the glorious subjugator), Hordog Magsog (Guru Rinpoche in wrathful form to dispel battle), Dolma Kurukulle (Red Tara), Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the founder of Bhutan), Sakyamuni (Buddha), a statue and kudung (bone relic) of His Holiness the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a Phurba (ritual dagger), Tshepame (Amitayus), Duesum Sangay (Three Buddhas of past, present and future) and Guru Rinpoche. In the third lhakhang, there are many small statues of Guru Rinpoche, Chenrizi (Avaloketesvara) and Phurbas (Vajrakila-ritual dagger). There is also the bed used by His Holiness the Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 2: Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) – Thimphu (2400m)

This day is going to be one of the most memorable days of your visit to Bhutan. Many tourist say that it is an incomplete journey if one misses this famous Taktshang monastery (Tiger’s Nest).

Paro Taktshang

The main temple was built around Guru Rinpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east.

In the afternoon, drive through to Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan (54 kms from Paro and an hour driving time). Tachog Lhakhang Dzong (temple of hill of excellent horse) is located on the way to Thimphu. This private temple is founded by the Tibetan saint, Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo in 15th century (around 1420). He is popularly known for his iron bridges in the country.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Sightseeing

This day will be spent in and around Thimphu valley. Thimphu is a capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is one of the smallest and most beautiful capital cities on the earth with population of not more than 150,000, it serves as headquarters of the government of Bhutan.

Buddha Dordenma

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Chorten

In Thimphu, visit the Memorial Chorten, also known as the Thimphu Chorten, located in the southern central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian military hospital. The Chorten, built in 1974 to honour the 3rd King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928-1972). It was built by the King’s mother, Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck.

Then drive to Kuensel Phodrang where a Buddha Dordenma statue is located. Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue. This Buddha Dordenma is seated amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu. It will be one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, at a height of 169 feet (51.5 m). It fulfills two prophecies. In the 20th century, the renowned yogi Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Padmasambhava, Buddha or of a Phurba would be built in the region to bestow blessings, peace and happiness on the whole world. Additionally the statue is mentioned in the ancient terma of Guru Padmasambhava himself, said to date from approx. the 8th century, and recovered some 800 years ago by Terton Pema Lingpa.

Then drive to mini zoo at the Motithang to see the Takin – Bhutan’s national animal.            

The Takin – Bhutan’s National Animal The reason for selecting the takin as the national animal is based both on its uniqueness and its strong association with the country’s religious history and mythology. When the great saint Lama Drukpa Kunley, visited Bhutan in the 15th century, a large congregation of devotees gathered from around the country to witness his magical powers. The people urged the lama to perform a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual orthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. He devoured these with relish and left only the bones. After letting out a large and satisfied burp, he took the goat’s head and stuck it onto the bones of the cow. And then with a snap of his fingers he commanded the strange beast to rise up and graze on the mountainside. To the astonishment of the people the animal arose and ran up to the meadows to graze. This animal came to be known as dong gyem tsey (takin) and to this day these clumsy-looking animals can be seen grazing on the mountainsides of Bhutan.

Takin

In the afternoon, visit to Zorig Chusum (Institute of Arts and Crafts).

Take a view of Tashichho Dzong. Seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body which includes the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).

In the evening, explore the tiny bustling city of Thimphu for shopping of souvenirs and other items at the craft bazaar located above Hotel Taj.

Overnight in Thimphu

Druk Wangyel Chortens at Dochula pass

Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha (1350m)

Drive to Punakha (75 kms – 3hrs drive) via Dochula pass (3150m). On the way stop to see the spectacular array of Druk Wangyel Chortens, enjoy the superb view of the snowcapped Himalayan Mountains and view Gasa Dzong at a distance if the weather is clear.

Lama Drukpa Kunley had a premonition that he would subdue demonises of Dochula. It was believed that three demonises resided at Dochula harming the people who frequently travelled the way.

Consequently, the incident took place at Dochula– a highway pass between Thimphu and Wangdue, during one of his visits in western Bhutan. He met with a cow herder driving his cattle home. It was past dusk and darkness held sway everywhere. The boy requested the stranger to befriend him so he could reach his home.  But the Lama asked the boy why he needed a friend.  The boy told him that demonises of Dochula reigned over the place and he was scared of being eaten by them. The Lama understood the situation and asked the boy to close his eyes and imagine having reached home. True to his imagination, the boy found he was at home when he opened his eyes.

Chimi Lhakhang

Your journey then continues through varying scenes of greenery all the way to Punakha. On the way, stop a while to visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by the Lama Drukpa Kunley (1040-1123) commonly known as the Devine Madman for his obscene behaviour. He is one of the main figures of Drukpa Kagyu. His ribald songs and poems were unconventional and have earned him the affection of the Bhutanese. In Bhutan he is often depicted with a bow-and-arrow case and accompanied by a small hunting dog. He travelled extensively in western and central Bhutan exercising his holy powers to subdue devils and liberate people from suffering. Chimi Lhakhang is also known as “the Temple of Fertility.”

Lama Drukpa Kunley

Lama Drukpa Kunley: The Devine Madman Lama Drukpa Kunley is one of Bhutan’s favourite saints and a fine example of the Tibet tradition of ‘crazy wisdom’. He was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and disciple of Pema Lingpa. He travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a neljorpa (yogi) using songs, humour and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings to the common man. He felt that the stiffness of the clergy and social conventions were keeping people from learning the true teachings of Buddha. His outrageous, often obscene, actions and sexual antics were a deliberate method of provoking people to discard their preconceptions. Tango Goemba is apparently the proud owner of a thangka that Kunley urinated on! He is also credited with having created Bhutan’s strange animal, the takin, by sticking the head of goat onto the body of a cow. His sexual exploits are legendary, and the flying phalluses that you see painted on houses and hanging from rooftops are modelled on his. Kunley’s numerous sexual conquest often included even the wives of his hosts and sponsors. On the occasion when his received a blessing threads to hang around his neck, he wound is around his penis instead, saying he hoped it would bring him luck with the ladies.

After that visit the impressive Punakha Dzong, which lies between two great rivers: Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). This Dzong was built in … by … This Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also office of the district Administration. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of the Bhutanese state, built the Punakha Dzong and later died there in 1651.  It was named Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong, which means the “Palace of Great Bliss”. 

Ugyen Wangchuck, Bhutan’s first king was crowned in 1907 in this Dzong.  Punakha was the first capital of Bhutan and the Dzong served as the centre of government.  The first session of the National Assembly was also held there in 1953.  The site where the Dzong stands has always been a holy place.  Even before the Zhabdrung’s visit to Bhutan a small temple already existed there which, had been built in the 14th century.  It is situated outside the Dzong and is called the Dzongchung.

Punakha Dzong

To fulfil the prophecies as laid down by the Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, Zhabdrung founded the Dzong on the 8th day of the 8th month of the Fire Ox Year in 1637.  Guru Rinpoche prophesied that a young man named Namgyel would come to a mountain with appearance of a sleeping elephant and build a Dzong upon the elephant’s trunk.  A carpenter named Zow Balep was commissioned to construct the Dzong.  He was instructed to sleep in the Dzongchung, before the Buddha’s image.  One night Balep felt asleep at Zhabdrung’s feet and dreamt about the future Dzong.  Upon waking, he described the impressive complex he had dreamt of.  According to a legend, the construction of the Dzong was aided by the many deities in the area

Overnight in Punakha

Day 5: Punakha – Paro

Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Chorten

Take a 45 minutes hike to Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Chorten perched high on a hill on the opposite bank of the river. This Chorten is dedicated to the 5th King and serves to protect the country with every form of protective deity imaginable, including a yeti with characteristically pendulous breasts.

Later we will drive back to Paro via Dochula pass (3150m).

Overnight in Paro.

Day 6: Paro – Departure

Drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will bid you farewell as you embark on your onward journey.

*NOTE: Our tour packages are not limited and can be entirely customized around your needs and preferences.

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