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  • Thangbi Mani Festival

    Thangbi Mani festival is one of the most popular festivals held in Chhoekhor Gewog in Bumthang. The highlight of the festival is the fire blessing (Mewang) ceremony, performed in an open ground. The lay monks perform purification rituals while people jump over flames to purify themselves. Several mask dances are also performed. It is believed that the festival would bring peace and prosperity and ensure better harvest for the entire community. Thangbi Mani is a unique festival which displays the rich tradition and celebrates the cultural heritage of this ancient monasteryThangbi Lhakang, founded in 1470 by the Shamar Rinpoche, Chokki Drakpa. The iron curtain at the entrance is said to have been cast by the saint himself. Thangbi Lhakhang is located beyond the Kurje Lhakhang.


    HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUDE

    The ‘Thangbi Mani’ festival tour travels to Bhutan’s spiritual heartland to experience the rich pageantry and festive atmosphere of this unique festival. This Bhutan tour also explores the cultural western and historical central valleys of Bhutan.

    • View sacred dances and rituals performed by monks and laymen in colourful costumes.
    • Join in with locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socialising.
    • Explore Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites.
    • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
    • Experience Bhutan’s unique culture up-close with farmhouse visits and village excursions.
    • Drive over high mountain passes affording sensational views of the Himalayan peaks.
    • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
    • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
    • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
    • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
    • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

    DETAILED PROGRAM

    Day 1

    The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our Bhutan Sense Travel representative will meet you at Paro airport. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical and cultural past. Next, visit the Rinpung Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards walk to the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge still in use. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

     National Museum, Rinpun Dzong

    Recommended Hotels in Paro:

    - Metta Resort & Spa
    - Bhutan Mandala Resort & Spa


    Day 2

    After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for lunch.

    In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

     Taktsang Monastery, Drukgyel Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang


    Day 3

    Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.

    Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

    Afterwards enjoy a short walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

     Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong

    Recommended Punakha Hotels:

    - Meri Puensum Resort
    - Vara Hotel Punakha


    Day 4

    Drive from Punakha to Bumthang via Trongsa (8 hrs) over the Dochu-La pass (3,100m) and Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range. Enroute visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten, erected in the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the landscape for many miles. Also visit the Ta Dzong museum housing an incredible collection of historical artefacts of the Royal Family.

    Continue driving to Bumthang, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces and temples. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. Overnight at your lodge in Bumthang.

     Dochu La & Pele La pass, Trongsa Dzong

    Recommended Bumthang Hotels:

    - Jakar Village Lodge
    - The Village Lodge Bumthang


    Day 5

    Today you will witness the festival of Tangbi Mani. You can see the lay monks perform the purification rituals Mewang ceremony (fire blessing) which is performed in an open ground. All the people jump over the flame three times as it is believed that it will wash away all the sins and the misfortunes for the entire year. Masked dances and folk dances are performed in the enclosed courtyard of the temple.

    In the afternoon visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditate. Overnight at your lodge in Bumthang.

     Tangbi Mani Festival, Kurjey Lhakhang


    Day 6

    Explore some of the many sites of the Bumthang valley, including 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. Also visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings.

    You may also visit 14th century Tang Rimochen Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche meditated and Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. It’s a good location to meditate. Overnight at your lodge in Bumthang.

     Jambay Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Tamshing Lhakhang


    Day 7

    Start early today for Gangtey, about 6 hrs from Bumthang. Farmhouses and temples dot the landscape and you will see local farmers wearing the traditional woven bamboo hats of central Bhutan. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Visit Gangtey Goempa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Overnight at your hotel in Phobjikha.

     Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Monastery

    Recommended Hotels in Wangdue Phodrang:

    - Gangtey Goenpa Lodge
    - Dewachen Gangtey Hotel


    Day 8

    Drive back to Thimphu (approx 6 hrs), visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Thimphu, check into the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at your hotel  in Thimphu.

     Simtokha Dzong

    Recommended Hotels in Thimphu:

    - Hotel Thimphu Towers
    - Namgay Heritage Hotel


    Day 9

    Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to stunning Buddha Dordenma Statue, made of bronze and gilded in gold, 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. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century. In the late afternoon, depart for Paro. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

     Buddha Dordenma Statue, National Memorial Chorten, National Library


    Day 10

    Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

     

     

    WHEN TO GO?

    MORE TOURS HERE


    Notes:

    • Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Bhutan Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
    • Prices include the following:
      . All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
      . Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
      . All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
      . Private services of local guides
      . All special events & private tours, guest experts
      . All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
      . Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
      . 24/7 support from the Bhutan Senses Travel Team

     

    Location
    Accommodation

    PARO
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    Metta Resort & Spa

    • Metta Resort and Spa offers accommodation in Paro. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is available on site.
    • All rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some units include a seating area where you can relax. Every room includes a private bathroom fitted with a shower. Extras include bathrobes and slippers. Metta Resort and Spa features free WiFi .
    • There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
    • The resort also offers car hire. The nearest airport is Paro Airport, 5 km from the property.

    PUNAKHA 
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    Meri Puensum Resort

    • Lying approximately 5 kms from Punakha village and with good views of the valley area.
    • The 20 rooms are spacious and there are lovely views down across the river and the valley.
    • There is a large dining area and bar where you can relax after a day exploring the Puankha valley.

     BUMTHANG 
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    Jakar Village Lodge

    • Jakar Village Lodge (JVL) is a 4 star lodge and it is located just below the Jakar Dzong, commanding the most majestic view of the Chokor Valley of Bumthang.
    • The lodge is just one kilometer away from the Chamkhar Town,and five minutes walk from the Dzong.
    • Jakar Village Lodge has been slotted at rank #21 among the "Best Bed & Breakfast" establishment in Asia 2009 and ranked # 4 in Bhutan by Trivago Top Hotel, largest European travel community.

     

    WANGDUE PHODRANG
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    Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

    • High in the eastern Himalayas, it is difficult to find a more isolated hotel than the Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. The lodge provides beautiful views of the Gangtey Valley and is surrounded by natural, hilly terrain, teeming with wildlife.
    • Just 12 spacious rooms are available at the lodge, ensuring a genuine mountain retreat experience for guests. Each room is equipped with a fireplace and designed by internationally renowned designer, Mary Lou Thomson.
    • There is a full service restaurant serving a mixture of Western, Asian and traditional Bhutanese cuisine. Meals are served in a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, giving diners spectacular views of the valley as they eat.
    • The Lodge acts as a jumping-off point for air balloon tours which can last the entire day, taking guests over the expansive forests of Bhutan and providing breathe-taking views of the mountains. In room massages are also available.

    Dewachen Gangtey Hotel

    • Dewachen Gangtey Hotel features sixteen double rooms with modern bathroom fittings, comfortable bedding. The restaurant is cozy with magnificent views and the meals prepared by a professional chef are delicious. The Luxury hotel or lodge is located in the pine forest with beautiful view of the valley and the surrounding mountains.
    • There is no electricity in the valley. The hotel has its own generator supplying electricity for two hours in the evening and two hours in the morning. It is then turned off after the dinner time. The rooms are heated by individual wooden stove (Bukhari). When the generator is not in use, a dim solar powered light or candles are used. At night, during the colder months, guests are provided with hot water bag. For hot shower, you have to ask for hot water in the bucket.

    THIMPHU
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    Hotel Thimphu Towers

    • Hotel Thimphu Tower offers accommodation in Thimphu. Free WiFi is available and free private parking is available on site.
    • Rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels. You will find a kettle in the room. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom fitted with a bath. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer.
    • The nearest airport is Paro Airport, 23 km from Hotel Thimphu Tower.

    Namgay Heritage Hotel

    • Offering a restaurant, Namgay Heritage Hotel is located in Thimphu. Free WiFi access is available in the public areas of the property.
    • Each room here will provide you with a seating area. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with free toiletries and slippers. You can enjoy mountain view and city view from the room.
    • At Namgay Heritage Hotel you will find a 24-hour front desk. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including skiing and cycling. The property offers free parking.
    • The Dochula pass is 10 km and the Thimphu Chorten is 12 km. The Paro Airport is 48 km.