7 Days Dochula Festival
Day 1 (Paro, Thimpu)
During the flight on a clear day, you will get to enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjungha, and other famous Himalayan peaks including sacred Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks in Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro Airport, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The drive to Thimphu is about 1 an hour. On route, enjoy the view of the valley of Thimphu and river through a rather arid and Rocky landscape.
After lunch we will take you to visit the The King’s Memorial Chorten (built-in memory of The Third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and The Thimphu Dzong). Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 (Thimpu)
After breakfast, we will hike to Chagri Monastery, it take about 1 hour walk to reach the monastery. Chagri was built high on the slope in 1619 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal as his first monastery in Bhutan. It takes you through the temperate forest of oak, rhododendrons and other species of hard wood trees. The view from monastery below is spectacular. Descend down to the valley and drive back to Thimphu. After lunch you will visit The School of Traditional Arts, Mini Zoo to see takins, the national animal of Bhutan and drive to Buddha point to enjoy the view of Thimphu valley. Evening will be at leisure and you can stroll in the town, visit local handicraft shops, do shopping as you like. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3 (Drochula Pass, Punakha)
After breakfast drive about an hour to watch Dochula Festival. The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival will take place every year on December 13 at the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang’s Festival ground. The inaugural performance will be held on December 13, 2011. The venue is related to important national landmarks while the date commemorates the commencement of the military expedition of 2003. The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival’s venue features two of very impressive modern Bhutanese monuments. Including the works on the powerful mural paintings, the temple took almost four years to build. The temple was built under the personal supervision of Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wanghuck, a year after she built the 108 Druk Wangyel Chortens. Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was consecrated in June, 2008.
Following Bhutanese tradition, the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival is named after its location. The Dochula pass is one of the most spectacular passes in Bhutan and is about 45 minutes’ drive (22km) from the capital city, Thimphu. The performance ground of Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival straddles the famous pass at the heart of the Royal Botanical Park, 3,150 meters above sea level. The pass marks the watershed between the districts of Thimphu on the western side and Punakha on the eastern side. It presents a panoramic view of these districts and some others beyond them.
In addition to stunning vistas, the surrounding area of the festival ground features an impressive range of vegetation. The circular performing stage of the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival gently slopes up towards the centre to form a mound. The centre rises five feet higher than its periphery. The concept of the ground deviates from that of an amphitheatre where the audiences sit at a level much higher than the performers. In an amphitheatre, the angle of visions slant downward to the stage. The shape of the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival ground is exactly the opposite. This unusual stage was shaped in that way so that the spectators’ angle of vision will be upward towards the centre stage. The optical illusion created will enhance the theatrical experience because the performers will loom larger than life.
As the performers come out onto the centre stage, it will appear to the audience as if they are emerging from behind a hill, head first, like an approaching ship rising from an oceanic horizon. The performers will then loom larger and larger on the raised mound as they come into full view against the distant view of some of Bhutan’s highest mountain peaks of Jigme Singye Wangchuck Mountain Range, which are in turn set against the wintry blue sky. The ultimate effect that is expected to be created by this visual play is a heavenly sight of the performers as they leap, dance and hover on the crest of the snowy mountains, thus exploiting the full grandeur of Dochula’s scenic setting.
Evening drive to Punakha. Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 4 (Punakha)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive about ten kilometers north of Punakha, on a hill rock called Nyizergang, HM the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangden had built three stored chorten called Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten consecrated in December 1999. Situated in idyllic rural countryside, 45minutes climb from the road is well worth to see the paintings, which are beautiful and present an incredibly complex iconography and the statues. Drive back to the Dzong and walk in the Dzong by crossing the cantilever bridge. The Dzong was built in the year 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Have lunch at the Restaurant in the town. After lunch you visit the Nunnery and you will take a walk to the temple standing on a round hill rock through a paddy field to Chimi Lhakhang or the temple of fertility. It is about 25 minutes’ walk through rice terraces and the village of Yoakha. The temple is situated on the spur above the village. It is believed that barren couple will have children if they get blessing for this temple. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 5 (Paro)
After breakfast, take a drive to Paro following the same road back crossing Dochula pass. The drive to Paro takes around four hours.
After lunch in Thimphu, continue your drive to Paro. In Paro, you will visit Rimpong Dzong (fortress of the heap of jewels); the administrative & religious centre of Paro District. This Dzong was built in 1646 by order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who unified Bhutan in the 17th century. In the evening visit a farm house to experience the life style of Bhutanese people and upon your interest have your diner at this farm house. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 6 (Tiger's Nest)
After breakfast, you will take “pilgrimage” hike up to the most famous Taktsang Monastery, also know as Tiger Nest. All Bhutanese Buddhist desire to make this their pilgrimage at least once in thier lives and each step they take along the trail counts as merit points towards their future. The trails is through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks. Visitors choose between 2 hours round trip hike to the cafe for a good view of Monastery or a longer 5 hours more strenous hike to the Monastery itself. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress and mediated here for 3 months and subdued the local deities and converted them to Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th Desi deities or temporal ruler of Bhutan, Tenzin Rabgye built a temple in 1692 in its present form, thus fulfilling the wishes of shardrung Rinpoche who died before he built this temple. (Horse ride to the cafe is available and can be arranged at additional cost). After lunch, on the way back to the town you will visit the oldest temple called Kichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most revered temples, which was built by a Tibetan kind in 7th century to subdue the demoness. Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.