9 Day Punakha Dromche

Itinerary

Punakha Dromche festival is unique for being the only festival with a procession that re-enact the war against Tibetan in the 17th century.

Dromche generally include dances and this festival is dedicated to Yeshe Gompo (Mahakala) or Palden Lhamo, the two main protective deities of Drukpas (Drukpas = means people of Druk land or Bhutanese). Punakha Dromche take place in the first month of the lunar year and ends with ’Serda’, a magnificent procession which re-enacts an episode of the war against the Tibetan in the 17th century.

The religious dances performed during festival are called ’Cham’ and there are a large number of them. Dancers wear spectacular costumes made of yellow silk or rich brocade, often decorated with ornaments of carved bone. For certain dances, they wear masks which may represent animals, fearsome deities, skulls or just simple human beings. These dances can be grouped in three categories; (I) Instructive or Didactic Dances, (II) Dances that purify and protect a place from demonic spirits, (III) Dances that proclaim the victory of Buddhism.

Day 1: Arrival in Paro, Bhutan  

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and let’s have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sightseeing in Thimphu if possible.

National Memorial Chorten - Which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Buddha Point at Kuensel Phodrang, will be open to tourists once it is completed in 2012. The 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma , Vajra Throne Buddha symbolising indestructibility will be completed soon. The Buddha statue itself is competed awaiting paintings, but visitors can drive up to the Buddha point and view the tallest statue of Lord Buddha. The view of Thimphu valley from the Buddha point is spectacular and beautiful, especially at night.

Thimphu Dzong - The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.


Day 2: Tour of Thimphu

Heritage Museum- Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artefacts used in rural households.
Textile Museum - Witnesses the art of traditional weaving.
Papermaking Factory - Witnesses the art of papermaking.
Simtokha Dzong - Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Semtokha Dzong the oldest fortress in the Kingdom.

Day Trek to Tango Goemba and picnic/lunch by river In the afternoon. The Tango Goemba site has had religious significance since the 12th century when it was the home of the Lama who brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery was built there in the 15th century by Drukpa Kunley ("The Divine Madman"). Tango is the highest center of Buddhist learning in the country; almost every Je Khenpo (religious head of Bhutan) completed the 9-year program there. After completing that program, monks traditionally spend 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba retreat, built in 1619 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder or first unifier of Bhutan. It is currently the home of an 11-year-old boy believed to be the seventh reincarnation of the fourth desi, or ruler, of Bhutan.

Centenary Farmers’ Market - Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.

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