- Destination: Bumthang, Punakha, Thimphu, Trongsa, Wangdiphodrang
- TestimonialsDuration: 11 days
Bhutan because of its solitary nature and rich environmental diversity of flora and fauna has many activities available for visitors seeking a place of solace, rest and recuperation. Whether it’s just eye-pleasing sights and sceneries or a session of peaceful, contemplative meditation, a relaxing soak in a mineral hot spring bath or the all natural remedies of our traditional medicine Bhutan is a showcase of all these ingredients in its most pristine and pure form.
Whether it’s a session of peaceful, contemplative meditation, a relaxing soak in a mineral hot spring bath or the all natural remedies of our traditional medicine Bhutan has just what you need to revive and rejuvenate your body and spirit.
Our many retreats that provide perfect atmosphere for meditation will divert your minds from the cares and stress of everyday life. Many tourists from Thailand and other Buddhist countries come to Bhutan specifically for meditation and retreat tours. Additionally most hotels also provide yoga sessions, retreats and meditation facilities within the hotel premises.
The traditional medicine of Bhutan, known as Sowa Rigpa and dates back to the 17thcentury when it first split from Tibetan origins. Bhutan’s natural environment, with its exceptionally rich flora has enabled the development of an unparalleled pharmacopoeia. Indigenous medicine units have been established in all 20 Dzongkhags (districts) and can provide tourists with traditional remedies for any ailments they may have.
Hot springs or Tshachus as they are locally known can be found all over the Kingdom and their medicinal properties are known to cure various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses.
MEDITATION AND RETREAT
As part of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and meditation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries and monastic schools.
These retreats and meditation centers provide places of respite from the cares and stress of everyday life. Devout Buddhists often venture into the mountains for months at a time to meditate. The retreats provide practitioners with the opportunity to draw upon their inner self and meditate upon the purpose of life.
Many tourists come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. Some itineraries include serious meditation programs that last for days while others offer solitary retreats for few hours in the high hills and temples where the serenity and beauty of nature can be appreciated.
Dampa Tours and Trek can include meditation programs in your itinerary if you are interested in trying this Bhutanese way of retreat. Additionally most hotels also provide yoga sessions, retreats and meditation facilities within the hotel premises.
Day 1: Arrival Paro:
The flight into Paro brings you breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. On clear days you will be able to see Mt Everest (8849 meters) and other Himalayan mountains which include the unclimbed peaks of Bhutan. Landing into Paro airport is an experience of a life time and simply beautiful. You will be greeted by your tour guide and driver from Dampa Tours and Trek. You will proceed to Druk choden Lhakang a 14th century monastery for ‘Lhab Sang thruesel’ a purification ceremony by monks.
If you have arrived Paro early you will have time for some wonderful sightseeing in Paro. Drive to Drukgyel Dzong, (a fortress historically left in ruins) where Bhutanese warriors fought off Tibetan invaders centuries ago. Catch a magnificent view of Mt Jomolhari from the dzong. On our way back, we see the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built across the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, to nail down a demon that was endangering the spread of Buddhism.
After lunch visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower, which now houses Bhutan’s National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangka paintings, textiles, weapons & armor, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Following that is the walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (“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 the legend of the four friends, the six symbols of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of great Buddhist saint Milarepa, and more other Mandalas on the walls.
Day 2: conduct a tea session for monks at Chubjokha Monastic school:
Chubjokha monastic school is about 20 minutes drive from Paro town and has beautiful view overlooking Paro valley. The monastery was founded by a master known as Lam Rinchen whose coming to the place was foretold in the distant past. The land where the monastery stands now was donated to the master by a devoted couple. Lam Rinchen built the monastery in bits with contribution offered to him by his devotees. The Master passed away about 10 years ago and his son Khenpo Jamyang continues the legacy. The monastery has 30 monks.
It is in keeping with traditions that we conduct tea session for the monks. Our simple belief is that we gain merit out of such acts. And so, with absolute pure mind we offer tea during the session to the monks.
In the afternoon we drive to Thimphu. On the way we will walk on a 14th century bridge built by a enlightened master known as Thangthong Gyalpo who also built the monastery standing little above the bridge.
Once in Thimphu after checking in the hotel, you will attend a talk on Buddhist fundamentals by a renowned Buddhist Master in Bhutan.
Day 3: Day Excursion to Tango and Chari Monastery
Tango monastery holds the highest level of Buddhist studies in Bhutan. All the monks in this monastery have reached the highest level of Buddhist studies and are capable enough to enter into the prolonged three years of meditation practice. Once the monks graduate from this institute they have the option to go further into more spiritual practice or even take up responsibilities of serving the central monastic body of Bhutan and become a monthly salary benefactor. The graduates who are deep into serious spiritual practice can continue their journey to Chari Goenpa for deeper and profound studies and meditation.
The reincarnation of the 17th century Buddhist Master Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay lives here and continues the legacy of spiritual journey. We can arrange an appointment to meet the master.
After picnic and lunch in Dodena we can continue our journey to Chari Monastery the first monastic school instituted in Bhutan in 1627 by Zhabdrung. If you wish we can arrange a night halt at the monastery for meditation and prayer.
Day 4: Thimphu to Punakha:
On the morning you will drive over Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) to Punakha. If the weather is clear you will see a series of snow covered Himalayan mountain ranges from the pass. You will also be greeted by an overwhelming sight of 108 chortens (Buddhist monuments) and several colorful prayer flags adorning the pass. As you descend down the pass to Punakha you will see the change in vegetation from conifer to subtropical forest in which the beautiful botanical park at Lamperi is located.
In Punakha you will visit the most beautiful Dzong known as the palace of great happiness. In the evening you will take a short hike to fertility temple of Devine mad man whom you will like more and as the outrageous acts of him gets unfolds to you by your guide..
Day 5: Punakha to Trongsa via Gangtey valley:
Today as you leave Wangdi and cross Pelela pass (3,300meter), you will enter central Bhutan, the belt of black mountain ranges. Trongsa was a powerful province in the past, that of Trongsa penlop. Trongsa Penlop was the last regent who eventually became the first king in 17th December 1907. Therefore even today the king to be of Bhutan has to become the Trongsa Penlop.
Today you will also divert to Phobjekha valley, the beautiful valley for black necked crane.
Day 6: Trongsa to Bumthang:
In the morning you will visit the largest Dzong of Bhutan, the Trongsa Dzong. The first two kings ruled Bhutan from Trongsa though Punakha was the capital. The strategic point of the Dzong gave advantage to rule both east and western Bhutan. After visiting the Dzong you will continue to Bumthang over Youtong la (3,400meter).
Bumthang the cultural heart land of the country is indeed a sacred place. You will gradually observe and feel this the moment you enter Bumthang valley as you witness the beauty of the land and the presence of many age old sacred monasteries and temples dotting the valley. It was here in Bumthang the great tantric master popularly known as Guru Rinpoche visited in 8th century. It is said having been in Bumthang itself is enough to cause good karma in your life. Therefore, be privileged to have set foot on this blessed land.
Day 7: Whole day Bumthang Sightseeing:
You will begin the day with your visit to Jambay Lhakang a 7th century Buddhist monuments. If you are capable you can still feel the strong energy bestowed by sublime vidisatavas from pure land. Next you will proceed to visit a private temple at Chakhar where once upon a time a ruler known as Chakar Gyalpo’s palace was located. From here you will learn why Guru Rinpoche came to Bumthang and how the Kurje Lhakang was founded. After visiting Kurje Lhakang and the holy water created by Guru you will take a 20 minutes hike crossing Chamkhar chu on a suspension bridge to Tamshing Monastery a 15th century monuments
After lunch you will drive another 20 minutes on the high way to eastern Bhutan and visit burning lake founded by treasure revealer Pema lingpa.
You can spend your evening in Bumtang town meeting people and doing souvenir shopping.
Day 8: Bumthang to Wangdi:
Today as you drive back to Wangdi you will go over the beautiful scenery and farm land settlements along the mountain sides. Indeed the drive, despite the long distance is actually a beautiful drive. You will visit Chendebji chorten on the way.
Day 9: Wangdi to Paro:
Start early so that you can do some sightseeing in Thimphu before you go to Paro. Once in Thimphu you will visit Memorial Chorten, 69 foot tall Buddha statue, Changangkha Monastery, textile academy, folk heritage museum etc.
In the evening drive to paro and spend your time leisurely in the town.
Day 10: Hike to Tiger Nest:
Today you will have the most extraordinary day in your life. Tiger’s nest monastery is one of the most sacred for all Himalayan Buddhist countries. It is also the main icon of Bhutan for the outside world and you wouldn’t believe as you take the picture with your own hand. ‘Every step you take is worth’ is the expression made by all the people who make to Tiger Nest. For many spiritual people, it is a mind’s journey. So come and take part to experience the worth. After hearing some true legendary stories from Tiger Nest and also having felt the presence of strong energy you will be a different person as you walk back.
Day 11: Departure from Bhutan
Your guide and driver will drive you to airport for your departure.