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Jambay Lhakhang Drup

Tour Name : Jambay Lhakhang Drup
Expedition Type : Culture & Festival Tour
Activities : Hiking & Walking
Duration : 11 Days
Period : The festival date is from 10th – 14th November, 2011 and tentative date for 2012 is from 29th October – 2nd November

This expedition starts from the Paro Valley and continue east through the stunning valleys of Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa and to Bumthang. During the tour you will visit villages, temples, monasteries, markets and attend festivals. You will have good opportunity to interact with the welcoming Bhutanese people and swap western custom with their spiritual life of myth, legend, superstition and folklore. The Jambay Lhakhang Drup is festival which held in the striking valley of Bumthang gained its attraction from the visits of tourist in the recent years because of its uniqueness than any other festivals held in Bhutan. The Jambay Lhakhang is the oldest monastery built in the year 659 is known for its two special events that is "Mewang" (Fire blessing ceremony). Apart from the lay monks and community dances. 

During the fire blessing, locals run underneath a gigantic flaming gate made out of dry grasses with ambers and piles of burning grasses falling on their head. The other event is the "Tercham" (Dance of Treasure). The dancers with their mask perform the dance completely naked. Bhutanese believe that Tercham can bless the infertile women with children, and is only performed in the night around a bonfire, people’s deep faith devotion make this festivals a special occasion.

Tour Outline:

DAY 1: ARRIVR PARO (2280m) & DRIVE TO THIMPHU: 65KM/APPROX 1HR
DAY 2: THIMPHU (2320m)
DAY 3: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1300m): 77KM/APPROX 2 ½HR
DAY 4: PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKHA VALLEY/GANGTEY (2982m):69KM/APPROX 3 ½ HR
DAY 5: PHOBJIKHA - TRONGSA (2316m): 98KM/APPROX 4HR
DAY 6: TRONGSA – BUMTHANG: 68KM/APPROX 2 ½ HR
DAY 7: JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP
DAY 8: BUMTHANG (2600m-4000m)
DAY 9: BUMTHANG – THIMPHU: 130KM/APPROX 4 ½ HR
DAY 10: PARO HIKE TO TAKTSHANG ‘TIGER'S NEST’
DAY 11: PARO DEPERTURE

Detail Itinerary:

DAY 1: ARRIVR PARO (2280m) & DRIVE TO THIMPHU: 65KM/APPROX 1HR
Flight into Paro with Druk Air, crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari 7314m and Jichu Drake 6794m peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative from Yeoong Travels and drive to Thimphu. 

The first stop will allow you to view the magnificent Tachocho Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder and further drive we will reach to Chuzom marks by the confluence of Paro Chu (river) and the Wang chu. Opposite of you, at the confluence, are three protecting chortens each built in a different style. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people and visit shops. 
Overnight stay at Hotel , Thimphu. 

DAY 2: THIMPHU (2320m)
Today’s exploration of Thimphu begins will take with visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the Kingdom’s rich culture at the National Library; the National Institude of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life. 

After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress likes temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Taken Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS tower will provide a bird’s eye view of the capital; visit nunnery temple and followed by a visit to Tashichho Dzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is Bhutan’s administration and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu. 

DAY 3: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1300m): 77KM/APPROX 2 ½HR 
Your journey continues with travels to the east onwards to Punakha through some of the Kingdom’s richest agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys. 

The first stop will allow us to hike up to Hongtsho Goemba to view the stunning 15th century wall paintings before heading over Dochu La, 3050meters pass, snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. 

The beauty is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chorten 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother and then winding our way down into the Punakha Valley. On the way you will stop at Mitsina village and visit Chimi Lhakhang the monastery of fertility. In the afternoon you will visit Punakha Dzong which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers Pho Chu and Mo chu.
Overnight stay Hotel, Punakha. 

DAY 4: PUNAKHA (1300m)
Today drive into the glacier valley of Phobjikha the valley is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country, because of the large flock of black-necked cranes in winter. 

The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery dates back to the 17th century. 

En route you will have a brief visit to Wangdue Phodrang which is located south of Punakha. 

You will continue drive to Phobjika valley and you can do short walk leads downhill from mani stone wall just north of Gangtey Goenpa to the Khewa Lhakhang. The trail descends to Semchubara village and keeps straight at the Chortens into the edge of the forest, before descending to a square Chorten and the Lhakhang. From here you can cross over the metal bridge to the community school. 
Overnight stay at hotel, Gangtey. 

DAY 5: PUNAKHA - TRONGSA (2316m): 135KM/APPROX 5HR
Morning you will attend the annual Black – necked Cranes festivals at Gangtey Goenpa. This is to promote community based-sustainable tourism in the valley and to raise awerness among the visitors. It is also an occasion for local people socialize, rejoice, and celebrate the arrival of crane in their valley. 

In the afternoon you will drive to Tronga passing over Pele La, 3390 meters pass. Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at the unifying the country were launched. 

As you continue onwards you can view the incredible massive Trongsa Dzong, an architectural Wonder! Trongsa medieval watch tower and the great Mangde Chu enhance the Trongsa dzong in its exceptional beauty. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Trongsa. 

DAY 6: TRONGSA – BUMTHANG (2600m – 4000m): 68KM/APPROX 2 ½HR
In the morning you will visit Trongsa Dzong, the dzong was built in 1648; it was seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from this ancient seat. Visit Ta Dzong preached above the Trongsa Dzong this is watchtower which once stood guard the Trongsa Dzong. This is now restored from ground up and it is the museum presenting the rich historical and religious heritage of Trongsa Dzong. 

After lunch you will drive to Bumthang passing Yotong La, 3425 meters pass. Here you get you first glimpse of the Black mountains and high Himalayan Mountains such as Jumolhari are in view and pass is marked by hundreds of prayers flags blessings abound. 

Then our journey proceed continue through the lush valley and hilly forests. Along the way we will stop at a yathra the textile weaving handloom, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. In the evening we can stroll in Bumthang town and visit shops. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Trongsa. 

DAY 7: BUMTHANG (2600m – 4000m)
Jambay Lhakhang Drub, this festival held in the striking valley, many local people attend to get blessing for the year. The mask dances will perform by lay monk and traditional dances by local dancer. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Trongsa. 

DAY 8: BUMTHANG – PHOBJIKHA VALLEY (3000m): 125KM/APPROX 5 ½HR
Today’s exploration of the Bumthang Valley, this valleys are general name for the four valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Chokhor and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and sacred valleys of Bhutan. 

The valley is also called mini Switzerland of Bhutan. Your visit in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in the Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kujey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. 

From there we will hike 30minutes to Tamshing Lhakhang lies on the other side of the river opposite the Kurje Lhakhang. It was built by Terton Pemalingpa the treasures discover, he was the ancestors of Royal Family; Kenchosum Lhakhang; and Mebar Tsho (Lake of Burning Fire), and this is a sacred lake for the Bhutanese who believe that Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from the lake. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Bumthang. 

DAY 9: PHOBJIKHA VALLEY – THIMPHU (2320m): 95KM/APPROX 4 ½HR
Today’s drive will be quite long and relaxing in car but you can stop at some point to stretch your legs and photograph. 

You will stop at Dochu La for lunch, from there you can enjoy the view of Himalayan ranges and snow peaks. You will also visit Druk Wanggyal Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue drive to Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. Evening freely stroll in Paro town and mingles with the local people.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu. 

DAY 10: PARO TIGER’S NEST HIKE
After breakfast you will drive through the beautiful Paro Valley and stunning hike on foot to the Taktsang Goemba or Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 hours through pine forests. 

The Goemba which clings to a huge granite cliff 900 meters, it is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. It is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. 

In the afternoon you will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang the sacred monastery dates back to 7th century, Drugyel dzong, and the fort defended the Paro valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. On clear weather Mountain Jhomolhari 7314 meters can see. In the evening we will have typical Bhutanese dinner at farm house to experience the living of Bhutanese farmer. 
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu. 

DAY 11: PARO DEPERTURE
Early morning drive to the Paro International Air port for onward journey.

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