(Distance: 70 kms. / Driving Time: 1 1/2 hrs. / Altitude of Phuentsholing: 293 mts.) Meet & Greet on arrival at New Alipurduar Railway Station and transfer to Phuentsholing - The Gateway of Bhutan by Road from India. It is a thriving commercial center on the northern edge of the Indian Plains. On arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at Phuentsholing.
(Distance: 176 kms. / Driving Time: 6 hrs. / Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 mts.) After breakfast complete the immigration formalities and transfer to Thimphu (7,710 ft.) the capital city of Bhutan. On arrival check in at the hotel. In the evening, visit the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion). Overnight stay at Thimphu.
After breakfast visit Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Statue) a place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of the Kuensel Phodrang, National Memorial Chorten (Monument) & Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon visit Sangaygang View Point, Changangkha Monastery, Taking Preserve Centre, The talking national animal of Bhutan can be seen here Tashichho Dzong(Fortress of the Glorious Religion). Overnight stay at Thimphu.
After breakfast drive to Punakha / Wangdue, On the way Stop at Dochu-La-Pass (3150 mts.). to view the higher Himalayas. Arrival at Punakha check in at hotel. After noon visit Punakha Dzong - built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the first National Assembly here in 1952. After that take a short excursion trip to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang - The Temple, also known as “The Temple of Fertility” was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, “The Devine Mad Man”. Evening free for leisure. Overnight stay will be at Punakha / Wangdue.
After breakfast drive to Paro (7,483 ft.). On the way stop at Lamperi to visit Royal Botanical Park - The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species. On arrival check in at the hotel. Afternoon visit Ta Dzong - National Museum with an excellent collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, etc. Rinpung Dzong - Meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". The dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro. Evening free for leisure. Overnight stay at Paro.
After breakfast visit Drukgyel Dzong. Also visit famous Taktsang Monastery - called “Tiger's Nest” (2hrs hike from the base camp) & Kitchu Monastery. Overnight stay will be at Paro.
After breakfast excursion trip to Chele-La-Pass (13,088 ft.) – the highest motorable road in Bhutan. Enjoy the scenic beauty & memorable landscapes from Chele-La-Pass. Back to Paro. Rest of the day is free for leisure. Overnight stay at Paro.
After breakfast check out from hotel and drop at New Alipurduyar Rly Station for your onward journey.
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and the largest town in Bhutan. It lies at an altitude of 2400 metres. All government headquarters and centre for trade are located here. The following are the places of tourist attraction in Thimphu.
Meaning “fortress of the glorious religion “was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. It is one of the largest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong houses the throne room and office of his majesty and is the seat of government and religious affairs in the kingdom. The northern portion of the Dzong has the summer residence of the central monastic body and his holiness the Je Khenpo (chief abot). It is open to visitors only during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and during winter when the monk body moves to punakha.
This monument was built in 1974 in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It was originally the idea of Bhutan’s third King, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to erect a monument for world peace and prosperity, but could not be done due to his untimely death. So after his death, it was built to in his memory and to serve as a monument for world peace.
Built in 1627, it is the oldest Dzong in the country. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this Dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvins behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard which are centuries old the paintings inside this Dzong are believed to be some of the oldest and the most beautiful in the country.
The National Library was established in the late 1960s and it houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format and some works are several hundred years old. There is also a small collection of books in English on the ground floor mainly on Buddhism, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and neighboring countries.
Commonly known as the painting School is an institute established primarily to preserve and promote Bhutan’s unique artistic tradition which played a vital role in moulding its distinct heritage. The Institute offers a six year course on the 13 tradition arts and crafts of Bhutan and on a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
The Institute was established in 1967 as a center for indigenous medicines and practice. In olden times. People primarily relied on the indigenous medicines to cure their illness. The Institute also serves as a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and view it from outside.
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.
Located on lush hillside about 10km from the city, the gardens offer a peaceful and relaxing environment to spend a few hours. Botanists will find the wide selection of indigenous trees and plants of interest.
Located on the banks of the river (near the city stadium), these 5.6 acres of parkland offer a pleasant and relaxing environment to stroll or to sit and watch the river flow by.
It is dedicated to connect people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programmes and documentation of rural life. The principal exhibit in the museum is a restored three storey traditional rammed mud and timber house, which dates back to the mid 19th century. The design and form of house is that of an average household in the Wang area during that era. The age of structure demonstrates the durability and performance of the building materials. From ground to top floor, household objects, typical domestic tools and equipments that would have been used by a family during that period are put on display. The museum is also developing some of the native trees and plants that were used for various domestic purposes in the rural households.
Every Saturday and Sunday most of Thimphu's scant population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where weekend market is held. It is an interesting place to visit and provides opportunity to mingle with the local people.
The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. 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). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields. Places of interest in and around Paro:-
Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.
It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
To the west of the road is Dungtse Lhakhang, a chorten-like temple. This unusual building was built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo. It has three floors representing hell, earth and heaven and the paintings inside are said to be some of the best in Bhutan.
Beyond Dungtse Lhakhang, to the east of the road, the tiny Pana Lhakhang is quite old and is believed to have been built in the seventh century.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. There are splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula pas (alt. 3,050m) on Thimphu – Punakha road. Places of interest in and around Punakha
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.
A beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel 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.