The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was established in 2011 in commemoration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Armed Forces’ victory over Indian insurgent forces residing in southern Bhutan in 2003. The festival is held annually on December 13th at the Festival Ground near Druk Wangyel Lhakhang which is located at Dochula Pass. Dochula Pass is one of the most scenic passes in Bhutan, which offers spectacular views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) was built over period of four years from 2004-2008 by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) as a tribute to His Majesty the fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and armed forces after His Majesty led a successful operation against Indian militants who had occupied certain areas of Bhutan. The gallery of the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang has beautiful murals depicting some of the important events in the reigns of the Kings of Bhutan. This 6 night 7-day tour program also includes visits to culturally rich valleys of Western Bhutan such as Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Phobjikha.
Festival Schedule: December 13,2018.
6 Night 7 Day Tour Itinerary.
Arrive Paro. You will be received by our representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour.
Then drive to Thimphu which will take you through Chunzom (confluence of Pachu- the river flowing through Paro valley & Wangchu –the river flowing through Thimphu valley). On the way, enjoy walking over a suspension bridge to view 15thcentury iron chain bridge suspended over the Pa chu.
After crossing Chunzom, the drive will take you along the Wangchu upto Thimphu city.
On arrival at Thimphu, check into your hotel and after lunch visit the following
In the evening Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Yet another place for photographer’s delight.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast drive for about 45 minutes to Dochula Pass (3140 m) to attend the Druk Wangyel Festival. In the clear winter sky, you will get to enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges.
Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival program
After the festival drive to Punakha which about 2 hours’ drive from Dochula.
Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Distance: 68 km, driving time: 2 1/2 hours
After breakfast, drive through upper Punakha valley and take a hike through farmhouses to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang (temple) built by Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. The leisurely walk up to the temple would take about an hour. Visit the temple and also enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful view from there.
Then drive for about 10 minute to parking lot of Punakha Dzong and walk over traditional canteliver bridge to visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho - Chu (male river) and the Mochu (female river).
You will have picnic lunch by the riverside.
After lunch walk further for about 15 minutes to one of the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan spanning 350 m and perched high above the very swift Pho chu (male river). Draped with prayer flags, the bridge connects the town of Punakha and Punakha Dzong.This bridge is mainly used by locals from the village located on the other side of the river as a shortcut to Punakha Dzong.
After lunch walk through paddy fields for about 20 minutes to visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
Then travel to Phobjikha valley through Wangdue. Phobjikha valley is part of the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly known as Black Mountains National Park), one of Bhutan’s most important nature sanctuaries. Each winter it is home to a flock of 300 rare and endangered black-necked cranes. The surrounding hills and mountains are home to nomadic shepherds and yak-h erders. This is one of the most remote and untouched regions in Bhutan.
You are expected to arrive at Phobjikha valley late in the evening due to poor road conditions (as road widening project is underway along West-East Highway).
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Phobjikha valley.
Distance: 135 km, estimated driving time: 5 hours
After breakfast visit Gangtey Monastery and take a short hike from Gangtey Monastery along the Gangtey Nature Trail enjoying spectacular view of several villages in Phobjikha valley. You will end your hike at Black Necked crane center and visit the Black necked crane center (cranes will start immigrating to this area by Novermber). From black crane center take short walk through fields and farmhouses where you can have free interaction with local people and visit their houses.
After lunch travel to Thimphu a through Nobding village which is about 45 minutes’ drive from Phobjikha valley and also through Wangdue Phodrang and Dochula Pass.
You are expected to arrive Thimphu late in the evening.
On arrival at Thimphu a check into your hotel and after refreshment visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa) which was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The term ‘chorten’ literally means ' seat of faith' and Buddhists often call such monuments the 'Mind of Buddha'. You will meet Meet the local people in circumambulation, especially in the evenings, at the National Memorial Chorten.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast visit the following:
After lunch travel to Paro and drive to parking lot near Paro Dzong and walk over traditional Cantilever Rimpung bridge which is oldest bridge in Bhutan to visit Paro dzong Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. From the Dzong you will walk back down to Rimpung Bridge.
Then visit Kichu temple,one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo.
In the evening explore Paro town on your own.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive for about 20 minutes to the base of Taktsang Monastery and then hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The walk up to the viewpoint will take about 1 – 1 ½ hrs. depending on your fitness and from View Point you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria. Take photos with great view of Taktsang behind you.
Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour. After visiting the monastery, walk downhill back to the road on the way stop for lunch at the view point cafeteria and then walk further downhill to the road point.
Then visit a Farmhouse in Paro Valley and a visit to a farmhouse offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
In the evening relax in the Traditional Bhutanese Hot stone bath at a farmhouse in Paro valley.
Traditional Hot stone bath: A traditional Bhutan hot stone bath uses river rocks that therapists place in water where they crack and steam, releasing key minerals and relieving deep-set aches.
You will also see around inside of the traditional Bhutanese house.
You will enjoy traditional Bhutanese dinner with the family members of the house.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to the Paro airport and your Bhutan tour guide from Discover Happiness Tours &Travel will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your flight to your onward destinations.