Festival Schedule 27th – 31st March, 2018

Tshechu is a religious festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and Paro Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. It was conceived in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the founder of the state of Bhutan) and Ponpo Rigzin Nyingpo. It was initiated during consecration of Paro Dzong (fortress) in 1644.

It is held for 5 days beginning on the 10th Day of 2nd Bhutanese lunar month every year and in 2018 it is scheduled from March 27th -31st. The festival is an occasion to witness the Bhutanese’s rich culture and history. It is believed that one gains merits by attending it in true faith. The gigantic Thangkha (embroidered painting) or the Guru Throngdrol is displayed on the last day and are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse off sin.

DAY 1: Arrive Paro

Your exciting vacation in this land of happiness begins. After completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by Pinehill Bhutan Travels representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour. Check into hotel in Paro.

Thereafter, visit Farm houses, Druk Home Museum, Kyichu temple (one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century) and finally Paro downtown. Overnight in Paro. (Altitude 2280 m).

DAY 2: Paro Tshechu

On the day of the festival, you will experience the color, excitement and spectacle of the Paro Tshechu Festival. It is the most divine and deeply symbolic of all the Buddhist festivals celebrated in Bhutan. Monks and lay people, dressed in elaborate silk brocade costumes perform festive dances of good triumphing over evil to the haunting sounds of trumpets, cymbals and flutes. The dances and costumes have survived unchanged for thousands of years, each dance is an exact re-enactment of visions seen by Bhutan’s great Buddhist saints and any changes would be seen as blasphemy. Important mask dances are Lords of the Cremation Grounds. The dances are interspersed with folk songs and clowning aided by copious amounts of butter tea and a locally produced potent alcoholic barley spirit.

You will spend the whole day at Paro festival with lunch in between. You will also take time off to visit the interior of Rinpung Dzong built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Overnight in Paro.

DAY 3: A day hike to Taktsang Goempa (Tiger’s nest monastery) in Paro

Today is one of the hallmarks of the tour. You will drive to base of Takshang Monastry which takes about 1 hr and then hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The round trip will take about 5 hours hike with rest and lunch. You will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Overnight in Paro.

 Day 4: Paro Tshechu and Paro-Thimphu (54 km, 1 hr)

Early morning before dawn, you make your way to the morning blessing from Guru Thongdroel (Thangka of Guru Rhinpoche). Today is the most auspicious day of the festivities and dances of the Heroes, Ging and Tsholing, the Eight Manifestatons, the Sixteen Fairies and the Religious Song are all performed in a magnificent cacophony of sound and color. After witnessing the unveiled Thongdroel and receiving the blessing, you will return to your hotel for breakfast and then visit the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower).

From the Ta Dzong you will go to the festival ground to get a glimpse of the last day of Paro festival. In the evening you will travel to Thimphu, the next destination. Overnight in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m).

 DAY 5: Thimphu tour

You will visit Kuensel Phodrang (tallest Buddha statue) and enjoy the full view of Thimphu valley below. Thereafter, visit National Memorial Chorten (stupa), The School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts, Centenary Farmers’ market, Takin Preserve (houses the national animal- Takin that is only found in Bhutan), Changankha Lhakhang (temple) and Craft Bazaar.

In the evening stroll around Thimphu town and you may visit local handicraft stores. Overnight in Thimphu.

DAY 6: Thimphu short nature hike to Tango monastery

Travel to the base camp of Tango Monastery which lies north of Thimphu city. From the base camp which is the end of motor road you hike up to the Monastery is through the forest filled with oak and fine trees as well as Rhododendron flower trees which will be in full bloom during spring season.

Then visit Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 and houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the King and the central monk body. Overnight in Thimphu.

DAY 7: Thimphu-Punakha/Wangdue (71 km, 2 ½ hr)

Yet another exciting day begins with a drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. An hour drive from Thimphu will take you to this pass (3140 m) where one can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas. Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill and the Druk Wangyel Temple.

Then drive onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. In the evening, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery- Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where couples unable to conceive come here for blessing. Overnight in Wangdue/Punakha.

 DAY 8:  Punakha-Paro(125 km, 3 ½ hours)

Drive through upper Punakha valley passing through farmhouses and take a leisure walk through farmhouses and then through nature to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (temple). The leisurely walk up to the temple would take about 1 hour.

Post lunch; drive back to Paro and visit the historic Drukgyel Dzong which was built in the 16th century to mark the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan invaders. Overnight in Paro.

DAY 9: Depart Paro

Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We hope to serve you again with our other exciting tour packages in the future.