10 Days Yoga Meditation Tour
Day 1 (Paro, Thimphu)
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Paro Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (National Museum) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport and drive to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.
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 (Thimphu)
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 you will visit Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Later 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 (Thimphu, Trongsa)
After early breakfast, drive to Trongsa crossing over Dochula pass (3,080m). If the weather permits, you can see a range of high Himalayan peaks towards the north east. On the way to Trongsa across Pele la pass at an altitude of 3,400 meters, stop at Chendepji Chorten, patterned on Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu. It was built in 18th century by Lama Shida, from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot, a wonderful opportunity for photographs. Commanding the Mangde Chu at an altitude of 2,200 metres Trongsa Dzong is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1644 by the Shabdrung, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece.
Upon reaching Trongsa; visit Trongsa Dzong: Like almost all towns in the Kingdom, this Dzong architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat. Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold. Overnight at Yangkhil Resort in Trongsa.
Day 4 (Trongsa, Bumthang)
After breakfast on the way to Bumthang will drive to Coedrak Goenpa (3800m), Guru Rimpoche had meditated at this spot and that is the reason why Lorepa, a Drukpa Kagyupa lama from Tibet, decided to live and build a templein 1234. Unfortunately, it is said that after his departure for Tibet, the place was besieged by a demon and nobody dared to go to Choedrak. It was not until the 18th century that Ngawang Thinley, the famous monk from Si ula monastery in Punakha region, succeeded in subduing the demon and repairing the monastery which had fallen into ruins and now it is used as a monastic school. The awesome landscape of Tharpaling would provide you the serene air to breathe, spiritual mind to associate and beautiful views to refresh your memory. Today we will have our lunch with the young monks of the monastery. We will have an audience with the head of the monk (Lama), if he is around, If not then a brief teaching on meditation by a Thrapaling Khenp.
Upon reaching Bumthang, visit the following places:
Jambay Lhakhang: This monastery was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century.
Kurje Lhakhang: Situated before Jambay Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang consists of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rack face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru’s body and is therefore considered the most holy. The third temple was built in 1990s by Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108 chorten wall. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 5 (Bumthang, Sumthrang Monastery)
After breakfast we will drive to Sumthrang Village, where you can experience grass root contact with rural people and their life style by staying in the farm house/house of heritage. On the way we will visit Mebar Tso (The Flaming Lake) in Tang valley is a wide spot on the Tang Chhu (chhu – water / river) and is considered to be one of the greatest pilgrimage sites of Bhutan. Pema Linga found several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures here. The importance of this site is indicated by the extensive array of prayer flags and the small clay offerings called ‘Tse Tsa’ in rock niches. Upon reaching Ura Visit 3 small village, each had cobblestone paths and a river that ran through them.
The locals in this remote area stock firewood for the cold winters and dry radish greens, slices of pumpkins, turnips and turnip greens, as well as hay for the animals, in preparation for the long and cold winters, visit most impressive local temple (Lhakhang) in the Ura village and have your picnic lunch in the valley and drive back to Sumthrang village. Evening walk around the village and mingle with the local people to know more about the village. Overnight at Farmhouse.
Day 6 (Sumthrang)
Today your day will start with a brief meditation in Sumthrang Lhakhang (Temple). This will be followed by (Tenwang ritual), the empowerment ritual to receive blessings from the sacred relics of Sumthrang Monastery from Sumthrang Chojey. Sumthrang Chojey would lead the troupe for the cliff tour. Terton Pemalingpas father Dhondup Zangpo is born to Tenpi Nima from Sumthrang family. Therefore the holy body of Terton Pemalingpa’s father is preserved in Sumthrang Lhakhang. After breakfast hike up to the cliff resembling the stack of scriptures, where most of the family ancestors practiced meditation in olden days. On the way you will be welcomed by the beautiful soothing brook and other sacred sites such as Guru Rinpoche’s finger prints, foot prints of Dakinis, and ruins of hermits and retreat centers of Sumthrang etc.
Upon reaching to the spot we will have a tea break and also to enjoy the great view of the mountains, later you can choose your own comfortable spot for meditation on the cliff site. Lunch will be served at the beautiful pasture land over the hermit on top of the cliff or at the hermit. Guest can enjoy the bird view of Ura valley from over the Sumthrang cliff and visit the Deity room of Sumthrang Draktsen after which we will proceed towards the eastern part of the cliff on return. On the way you can enjoy the other part of the cliff and visit the hermits on the eastern part before we set down back to Sumthrang Monastery. Overnight at Farmhouse.
Day 7 (Sumthrang, Punakha)
After breakfast we leave Bumthang valleys and return to Trongsa. Along the way you will cross back over Yotong La, which offers a second chance to get photos that you might have missed the first time through. Travelling from the other side of the mountain often affords a different perspective that may prove inspiring! This return trip is an opportunity to stop whenever you want for these new photo opportunities. After lunch in Trongsa, we commence our journey to Punakha by crossing the pass of Pele La (3420m). We will also visit the famous Phobjikha valley (3000m), the winter breeding ground of the endangered Black-necked Crane. This is a beautiful glacial valley that is quite unique to others you will have seen. With noticeably different vegetation it is well worth to visit, Reaching the valley make a visit to Gangtey Goempa, perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’sGangtey valley, Bhutan and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery. Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley established the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong.
Overnight at Meripuensum Resort in Punakha.
Day 8 (Punakha, Paro)
In the morning, the guide will arrange a visit to the breath-taking Punakha Dzong. Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan and the dzong, built in 1637, is the winter residence of the Head Abbott of Bhutan and the main monk body. The dzong lies between two rushing rivers (chhu), the Mo (mother) and Po (father) Chhu and so is one of the most dramatic looking buildings in Bhutan. Take photos from various vantage points, then cross the cantilever bridge and spend some time exploring the interior, a treasure trove of small temples and especially fine examples of Buddhist iconography. Later drive to Paro following the same road back crossing Dochula pass. 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 at Bhutan Mandala Resort in Paro.
Day 9 (Tiger's Nest)
After breakfast, you will hike up to the most famous Taktsang Monastery. The trail is through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks. It takes about 2 hours to reach the viewpoint. Visitors can take a short break along the way at the Café to have tea or coffee and for a good view of Monastery. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress and mediated here for 3 months and subdued the local deity called singye samdrup and converted him to Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th Desi or temporal ruler of Bhutan, Tenzin Rabgye built a temple in 1692 in its present form, thus fulfilling the wishes of Zhabdrung 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 Kyichu Lhakhang which was built by a Tibetan king in 7th century to subdue the demoness. Overnight at Bhutan Mandala Resort in Paro.