Day 1: Overnight Travel
Wed. 22 Apr 2020
Day 2: Kolkata
Thu. 23 Apr 2020
ARRIVAL - HOTEL (D)
On your arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Kolkata.
Day 3: Kolkata
Fri. 24 Apr 2020
Today morning after breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of the Kolkata city, includes a visit to the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata's most imposing and monumental dream in marble opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921 and often called the "Taj" of the British Raj, St. Paul's Cathedral. Drive past BBD Bagh (commercial Area) St. John’s Church, Raj Bhavan (the residence of the Governor of West Bengal), High Court, Legislative Assembly, Eden Gardens, Strand (River Side), Race Course. Also visit Mother Teresa’s home.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 4: Paro
Sat. 25 Apr 2020
KOLKATA - PARO (B/L/D)
After early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Kolkata airport for taking flight to Paro
Kolkata / Paro KB 211 0850 / 1030 hrs
On arrival at Paro Airport, after immigration formalities and baggage collection,you will be met by your guide and transferred to hotel.
Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom.
Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.
Paro at an altitude of 2200m/7218ft, is the one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river).
If time permits, explore the town on foot.
Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.
Day 5: Paro
Sun. 26 Apr 2020
After breakfast, proceed to Taktshang Monastery (5hrs hike): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries,
Perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
On the way back to town stop at Drukgyel Dzong (visit from outside), a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 6: Punakha
Mon. 27 Apr 2020
PARO TO PUNAKHA (125 km, 3 hrs approx) (B/L/D)
After breakfast at hotel, drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,O8Om). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
After checking into hotel, proceed to visit Punakha Dzong, built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu.
Later in the day excursion to Chimi Lakhang (from hotel it is about 15 minutes drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1.1/2 hour walk, including both way)
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.
Evening can be spent exploring Punakha village located right on the bank of river.
Overnight stay at hotel in Punakha.
Day 7: Punakha
Tue. 28 Apr 2020
After breakfast visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang nunnery:
Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.
The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.
Nunnery visit is followed by a hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.
Afternoon village excursion: Explore Richengang village, this is one of the oldest villages in Bhutan with traditional architecture and delightful local people in a remote corner of sleepy Punakha valley where an ancient way of life has remained unchanged for generations and most of villagers still work at as stonemasons and original craftsmen of dzongs (fort cum monastery) and lhakhans (temples). Walk into a local farmer or stonemason house at Richengang village, peep into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of nail. The majority of the population of Bhutan continues to live as it has for centuries – in small isolated farms and hamlets, surrounded by terraced fields of rice, maize and buckwheat.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 8: Thimphu
Wed. 29 Apr 2020
PUNAKHA - THIMPHU (B/L/D) (80 KMS / 03 HRS DRIVE)
On arrival in Thimphu (altitude 2400m/7875ft) check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light.
After checking into hotel take a short drive towards northern end of town to visit Changangkha Lhakhang: It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley.
On the way back into town visit Takin Preserve - the Takin is the national animal of Bhutan, and looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley, and it can be found only in Bhutan and nearby areas.
Visit Zangthopelri Lhakhang: The present structure was built in 1960s and although lacking the charm of many of the older temples, Zangthoo pelri still possesses some impressive murals and art treasures and is worthy of a visit. The site of the temple was a former battle ground, and the temple was constructed there in order to pacify energies.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 9: Thimphu
Thu. 30 Apr 2020
After breakfast, proceed for the guided tour of city’s main attractions that includes:
Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Textile Museum: is worth a visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.
National Library: The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.
Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
Simply Bhutan Museum: The newly commissioned museum depicts the ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization. The uniqueness of the structure is in its composition of the materials used. The structure is built reusing old timber, window and door frames and other items from traditional and old demolished houses. The best part is the portrayal of the age-old life styles of the Bhutanese people.
Lunch followed by city tour that includes:
Memorial Chorten: The stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Later in the day 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.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10: Paro
Fri. 1 May 2020
THIMPU TO PARO (50 KMS / 01 - 02 HRS DRIVE) (B/L/D)
After Morning breakfast leave Thimpu by surface to Paro
On arrival check-in at hotel
Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Ta Dzong visit shortly followed by a short walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Rest of the day take an exploratory walk around main street and market area..
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11: Kolkata
Sat. 2 May 2020
PARO - KOLKATA (B/L/D)
This Morning after breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to Paro airport to take flight to Kolkata.
On arrival at Kolkata Airport, you will be met and transferred to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Kolkata .
Day 12: End of Itinerary
Sun. 3 May 2020
DEPART KOLKATA (B)
Today after breakfast, in time you will be transferred to Kolkata airport for taking flight to London with many memories to share.