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Within the folds of Bhutan’s mountains lie many sacred temples and meditation centers where over centuries great Buddhist saints and yogis have prayed and meditated. On this transcendental spiritual and wellness journey, experience the magic and mysticism of the last Mahayana Buddhist kingdom of the Himalaya. And amid the verdant valleys dotted with ancient fortresses and shrines, find your own capacity for spirituality.
Fly to Bhutan's Paro Valley (7,300 feet). Our guide will receive you and check you into your hotel. After lunch, we’ll visit the Paro Dzong, a spectacular 16th-century fortresses overlooking the Paro Valley. A lovely stroll downhill from the Paro Dzong over an old cantilever bridge will wrap up an eventful first day in this magical kingdom. Overnight in hotel.
This morning drive for 30-min up on a hilltop to one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in the kingdom—Drak Karpo Lhakhang/temple— and circumambulate the holy rock where the ancient shrine dedicated to the “Precious Master” Guru Padmasambhava is located. It is said that beside the Guru, a great many Bodhisattvas and dakinis have meditated here and blessed the place thereby energizing it, and that by circumambulating it many times it helps you purify your sins in addition to receiving blessings from it. Enjoy your picnic lunch and in the evening return to hotel. Overnight in hotel.
Pilgrimage time. It is said that the more you walk and sweat on your journey to reach a sacred site, the more powerful blessings you’ll receive from it. Early morning drive for two hours and then walk for another two hours to the ancient Bemri Lhakhang, where it is believed a hundred thousand dakinis once visited and blessed the site. Hike for another four hours till Dochotey Lhakhang. In the evening interact with the caretaker of the lhakhang/temple. Meditate. Pray. Rest. Overnight at the monastery.
Journey back (five hours) to Dongkola Lhakhang, an ancient shrine perched, literally, on top of a mountain. Mediate. Pray. Circumambulate. Drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, home to the royal family, and the best place to witness the country’s newly embraced modernity. Overnight in hotel.
Pay visit to the Buddha Dordenma, an enormous golden statue perched on a mountaintop at the edge of the city with sweeping views. Drive to the Memorial Chorten/stupa and pray and circumambulate with the thousands of devotees gathered there many of whom stay from dawn to dusk. The stupa is said to grant wishes for the most earnest and honest hearted. After that visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a 12th-century monastery popular for providing blessings to newborns, and walk around the temple alongside local parents and devotees. Visit Tashichhodzong fortress, the office of the Dragon King of Bhutan and end your day at the craft bazaar. Overnight in hotel.
Drive 30 minutes and then walk two hours to the Dodeydrak Monastery, a Buddhist institute of learning nestled in the creases of a mountain cliff, where monks old and young reside and study Buddhism. Visit the main shrine. Interact with the monks. Pray and meditate. In the evening catch a discourse on Buddhism and meditation (in English) from the head of the institute at the main hall of the monastery. Overnight at the monastery.
Enjoy early morning meditation and sunrise. Hike for an hour downhill and then drive to the sacred Tango Monastery, home to the deity Hayagriva and where Buddhist saints and yogis meditated and, it is said, performed various miracles. Next hike to the Cheri Monastery, one of Bhutan/s major teaching, meditation and retreat centers. Interact with the monks. Overnight in hotel.
Journey to Punakha by way of the Dochu La pass. With its circular formation of 108 chortens set against a panoramic backdrop of majestic mountains, the pass is an awe-inspiring and spiritual place. Upon arrival in Punakha, set out on a hike through the surrounding rice paddies to Chimi Lhakhang—a temple blessed by Drukpa Kuenley, known as the “Mad Saint”. Next explore the elaborately designed fortress of Punakha Dzong; its positioning at the confluence of the Mo (mother) and Pho (father) Rivers helps make this dzong one of the most beautiful in the country. Overnight in hotel.
This morning hike to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a dramatic temple poised on a scenic mountain ridge overlooking the Punakha valley. After lunch, drive to Trongsa (five hours), a small sleepy town at the foot of a mountain. Overnight in hotel.
This morning visit Trongsa Dzong/fortress. Also called ‘Fortress of the Vanguard of Warriors’, the dzong rises dramatically over the town and is the biggest dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1647, the dzong holds special historical significance. It was the seat of the father of the first King of Bhutan. This is also where the prince, the heir to the throne, is instated as the governor of the Trongsa region before he assumes the role of kingship. Next visit the historic Ta Dzong (watchtower) overlooking the fortress. Ta Dzong houses an excellent museum of Buddhist arts and royal memorabilia including a 500-year-old jacket worn by a legendary Bhutanese. Drive to the remote Tharpaling monastery. Overnight at the monastery.
Founded by Longchen Ramjam, the great Buddhist master and saint, the Tharpaling monastery was used as a meditation center by eminent Buddhist scholars and high Lamas over centuries. Visit the many meditation caves of Guru Padmasambhava, Longchenpa and many other Buddhist masters. Spend the day meditating in the caves. In the evening drive to Bumthang (1.5 hours). Overnight in hotel.
Get a personal perspective on the spirituality of the Bhutanese while hiking to Kurjey Lhakhang through the panoramic pine tress along a meandering river. The valley is peppered with prayer flags, shrines, sacred sites and fortresses. Visit Jakar Dzong (fortress of the white bird) perched on the edge of a ridge overlooking the valley. While we are at it, we’ll also visit the four sacred temples of Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamzhing Lhakhang, and Kenchosum Lhakhang. Overnight in hotel.
Drive to the Tang Valley with an en-route stop at the Mebar Tsho, also known as Burning Lake. It is believed that Terton Pema Lingpa (spiritual treasure discoverer) dove deep into the lake with a burning oil lamp in his hand and emerged out of the lake with the lamp still burning along with several spiritual treasures which were hidden by Guru Padmasambhava inside the lake centuries ago. Continue to Tang Valley and hike for three hours to Kunzang Drak, a very sacred and ancient meditation site of Guru Padmasambhava and Terton Pema Lingpa. Rest and mediate in those very caves. Overnight at Tang Guesthouse.
Early morning meditation. Then explore Tang Valley. Visit farmhouses. Interact with farmers. Visit a local palace turned museum and enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverside. In the evening, return to Bumthang. Overnight in hotel.
Fly to Paro (30 minutes) from Bumthang via Bhutan domestic plane. Check into your hotel and rest. Then spend an evening in the quaint Paro town at leisure, browsing its handicraft shops, exploring neighborhoods where the old vies with the new, or mingling with locals at the vegetable bazaar. Take a drive to the Paro View Point and enjoy the sweeping night views of the dramatically lit Paro Dzong, Ta Dzong and the cantilever bridge. Overnight in hotel.
Your journey through Bhutan culminates at the kingdom’s most iconic site: Taktsang Lhakhang, famously called the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This majestic structure is poised high above the Paro valley, built dramatically on the ledge of a granite cliff face. Legend has it that the eight century Buddhist Tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, came to this place riding on a flaming tigress to meditate and subdue the demons wreaking havoc on the valley below. Make the steep, strenuous trek to the temple or hike to a nearby viewpoint, taking in a landscape dotted with pine trees, prayer flags, and ancient shrines. Enjoy lunch at the home of a local farmer before returning to Paro for the evening. Overnight in hotel.
Your guide and driver will accompany you to the airport and on behalf of Bhutan Spicy Shangri-La will bid you farewell with a fervent prayer that your life may be filled happiness and success!
This trip has an activity rating of moderate to tough. Travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of hiking over several days on high mountains. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and walking on paths with steep ascents and descents.
Throughout the trip, we stay in 3-star hotels with many amenities and also in monasteries (2-3 nights). With additional fee, arrangements to stay in high-end 5-star hotels can be made. Stay in traditional farm-houses come free with the tariff. Let us know what you like.
A special Bhutan Spicy Shangri-La Buddhism guide/expert will accompany you for the entire journey.
|March-May/September-November||ONE PERSON TRAVELLER||USD 4,380/-|
|TWO-THREE PERSON TRAVELLER||USD 4,220/-|
|GROUP OF 16 (MAX)||From USD 3,740 per person|
|Jan, Feb, June, July, August, December||ONE PERSON TRAVELLER||USD 3,580/-|
|TWO-THREE PERSON TRAVELLER||USD 3,420/-|
|GROUP OF 16 (MAX)||From USD 2,940 per person|
Prices are per person based. There is 50% discount for kids below 12 years and 20% discount for students below 25 years. From the total price a chunk goes as Royalty to the Bhutanese government which is used for providing free education and health care, build roads and bridges, and as tourism development fee. If you want to close your trip with a night stay in a high end resort, the price will be a little higher. Let us know.