Ura Festival

Day 1ura-festival
Arrive in Paro
We will welcome you at the Paro international airport in a traditional Bhutanese way. The only gateway to Bhutan via flight, Paro presents best introduction to Bhutan. Except for a few concrete and traditional buildings, Paro is dominated by paddy fields.
We will immediately drive you to the capital city, Thimphu. En route Thimphu, we will make several stopovers. We will briefly visit the 15th century Tamchog Lhakhang. Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo, a Tibetan spiritual adept, who is said to have spent 60 years in his mother’s womb, built the monastery. He is popular in Bhutan for building iron chain bridges. One such bridge is the approach bridge to the temple.
If we reach Thimphu early, we will walk around the capital city, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights.
Day 2
Halt in Thimphu
Today, we undertake a sightseeing tour around Thimphu. We will visit the popular Memorial Choeten in the heart of the city built in the memory of the third King of Bhutan, the traditional weaving centre, the heritage museum, the Bhutanese paper factory, the National Library, and the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts.
In the afternoon, we can either take a stroll around Thimphu city or visit historically significant Semtokha Dzong. Built in 1629 by the founder of Bhutanese state, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it is the oldest dzong in Bhutan.
Alternatively, we can drive to Sangaygang, a hilltop that commands a panoramic view of the capital city. On the way, we can visit Bhutan’s only takin reserve. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan.
Day 3
Thimphu to Punakha
Today, we start our journey early in the morning. The road to Punakha passes across Dochula Pass which is 3,150 m above sea level. We will stop on the pass for a while and enjoy the spectacular view of Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain ranges as we sip our coffee. The 108 stupas built on the crest add beauty to the already magnificent mountain pass.
From Dochula, we descend to Lobesa where we will have our lunch. After lunch, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is 25 minutes hike from the road point. Also known as the fertility monastery, this temple built by Tibetan Lama Ngawang Chogyal is today associated with his cousin, Lama Drukpa Kinley, popularly known as Divine Madman. This temple is believed to bless childless couples with fertility.
After the temple visit we will drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s medieval capital.
Day 4
Punakha to Bumthang
As we drive towards the east from Punakha, we will pass through Wangdi and Trongsa districts that present different vegetations. In Wangdi, we will drive past the ruins of Wangdi Dzong. In Trongsa, we pass by the magnificent Trongsa Dzong. This dzong is historically important to Bhutan as it was the seat of Trongsa Penlop before the institution of monarchy, a century ago. Bhutan’s crown prince still assumes the role of Trongsa Penlop before becoming the King.
Dinner and overnight stay will be arranged in Bumthang.
Day 5
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Today we will attend Ura Tshechu. We will witness different mask dances, folk dances and dance drama, with a lot of festivities. Our guide will explain to you the significance of different events.
Day 6
Halt in Bumthang
Bumthang is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. Today, we will undertake a pilgrimage to the monasteries and dzong in the district.
We will visit Bjakar Dzong, Jampa Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, and Mebartsho Lake.
Bjakar Dzong is the seat of district administration and district monastic body. The dzong was built in the 17th century by Desi Mijur Tenpa on the same spot where Lama Ngagi Wangchuk founded a religious centre in the 16th century.
Jampa Lhakhang was built by Tibetan dharma king Songtsen Gampo along with Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro to immobilise the left knee and left foot of a demoness respectively.
One of the holiest monasteries in Bumthang, Kurjey Lhakhang is associated with the first visit of Guru Rinpoche to Bhutan. Guru is believed to have left his body print here after subduing the vindictive local spirit, Shelging Karpo. A huge cypress tree near the temple is believed to have grown from Guru’s walking staff.
Mebartsho (Burning Lake) is associated with great treasure discoverer Terton Pema Lingpa. Pema Lingpa is said to have dived into the lake with a butter lamp in hand and emerged from the lake carrying treasures with the lamp still burning bright. So the lake was named Mebartsho.
Night halt in Bumthang.
Day 7
Halt in Bumthang
Today, we hike to Ngang Lhakhang located in Ngang Yul (Swan Land), sacred site blessed by Guru Rinpoche. It is a three-hour walk from Bumthang River from Thangbi Gompa. Namkha Samdrup, a contemporary of Pema Lingpa, built the temple in the 15th century.
Day 8
Bumthang to Gangtey
Today, as we drive to Gangtey at 3,500 metres, we will come across different vegetations, landscapes and people. After reaching Gangtey, we visit Phobjikha valley which is popular for the endangered black-neck crane. Phobjikha valley is one of the two main roosting grounds for the cranes in the winter. We take the same route we took to come to Bumthang. After we pass the popular Pelela Pass, we turn left and leave the highway. At Gangtey, we visit Gangtey Gompa, one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and the seat of an important lineage of Pema Lingpa, the 15th century Bhutanese treasure discoverer.

We will spend the night in a village in Gangtey. We will experience traditional Bhutanese rural life. Our guide will relate their experience of rural Bhutanese life.
Day 9
Gangtey to Thimphu
Today, we take the same route back to Thimphu via Wangdi. On the way in Wangdi, we will pass by the ruins of historic Wangdi Dzong. The dzong that was burnt down in a fire accident in 2012 was an important administrative centre in medieval Bhutan. The dzong is being rebuilt. Our guide will brief you on the historical and political significance of the dzong.
Day 10
Thimphu to Paro
Today, after breakfast we drive to Paro. In Paro, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, and Rinpung Dzong.
Kyichu Monastery was built in the 7th century. This historic temple was built as part of construction of 108 temples by a Tibetan dharma king to subdue a demoness. Two such temples were constructed in Bhutan. The other one is Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang. Jampa Lhakhang is believed to have been built on the demoness’ left knee and Kyichu on its left foot. The temple is small but very historic.
Drukgyal Dzong (fortress of Drukpa victory) was built to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by fire in 1951.
Rinpung Dzong is today the civil and religious administrative centre of the Paro District. Historically important, this dzong was first built by Hungral Drung Drung, a descendant of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo. In 1640s, the descendants of Hungral Drung Drung offered the dzong to Zhabdrung Rinpoche who built a new dzong in the same spot in 1646.
Day 11
Hike to Taktshang
Today, we hike to Taktshang Monastery clinging on the face of a cliff 900 metre above Paro valley. Taktshang, also known to the outsiders as the Tiger’s Nest, is one of the most sacred places in Bhutan. This place is said to have been blessed by a large number of enlightened Buddhist masters, among them Guru Padmasambhava (popularly known as Guru Rinpoche in Bhutan). Guru Rinpoche is believed to have flown to this place riding a tigress.
We will have lunch at Taktshang cafeteria from where we will enjoy a great view of the monastery.
Back in Paro, we can visit the National Museum of Bhutan. Also known as Taa Dzong, the national museum is a circular building on the ridge overlooking Rinpung Dzong. It is part of Paro valley and it is a piece of Bhutanese heritage.
Day 12
Depart
Our guide will drive you to the airport on time to catch your flight back home. We will bid you farewell in a traditional Bhutanese way by offering you a white silk scarf.