Paro Festival, Bhutan and Nepal
Journey to Nepal and the mysterious Kingdom of Bhutan and experience the annual Paro Festival. This is the largest religious dance festival in Bhutan, and attendees are believed to attain merit by attending.
Enjoy the unique culture and pristine natural beauty of Bhutan, where the people remain true to their cultural heritage by preserving the traditions and beliefs passed on by their forebears.
This pilgrimage also visits the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, as well as the UNESCO world heritage city of Bhaktapur. During our visit to Nepal we will have the opportunity to visit significant Buddhist stupas as well as the home of the Tibetan community in Kathmandu.
9 Days, 8 Nights
|Kathmandu – Paro – Thimpu – Punakha – Paro – Kathmandu|
Arrive KathmanduWelcome to Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital city. Upon arrival you will be garlanded, as is the tradition in Nepal. We will transfer you to the hotel to check-in and rest. In the afternoon we will take a tour that focusses on the Buddhist heritage of this ancient city. We will explore the well-known Swayambhunath Stupa which overlooks the valley with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. Following this we will visit the twisting alley ways of the old city, which are home to many Buddhist and Hindu shrines. Lastly, we will head to Boudhanath Stupa and visit the thriving Tibetan community that surrounds it. Overnight: Hotel, Kathmandu
Kathmandu – Paro – ThimphuAfter breakfast we will transfer to Kathmandu’s international airport for the flight to Bhutan. When we arrive in Paro we will transfer to Thimphu (approximately one hour). Thimphu is the modern-day capital of Bhutan. When we arrive, you will be able to freshen up at the hotel before we visit the Memorial Chorten, built in honour of 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. After this we will tour the impressive Tashichho Dzong, which houses the Royal Government of Bhutan as well as a religious centre. Overnight: Hotel, Thimphu
Thimphu – PunakhaThis morning we will visit the Dordenma Buddha, a stunning 51m statue that heralds the entrance to the Thimphu valley. The construction of the statue is nearing completion, and in the future, it will house a unique library of Buddhist texts as well as meditation halls. After breakfast we will take a spectacular 3.5-hour drive to Punakha, the former Bhutanese capital. On the way we will pass through several picturesque villages and cross the Dochula Pass at 3200m. If it is a clear day you will be able to see Mount Gangkhar Punsum (7541m), the highest mountain in this region. Along the way we will pass by several shrines and small stupas. The beautiful Punakha valley is home to the scenic Phochu and Mochu (Male & Female) rivers and has a pleasant warm climate. When we arrive we will visit Punakha Dzong, which was once home to over 500 monks. It is also the winter home of His Holiness Jhey Khenpo, the Chief Monk of Bhutan, as well as the wedding venue of their Majesties the King and Queen. We will also visit the Ani Gompa and the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist studies. Overnight: Hotel, Punakha
ParoAfter breakfast we will take an early morning walk through lush farmland to visit the Chimmi Lhagang monastery, famous as the home of the monk Drukpa Kunley. This monastery is known as an auspicious place to make offerings for fertility. After lunch we will drive 3.5hrs to Paro and visit the colourful Paro Tsechu festivities. The festival is held at Rimpung Dzong, the administrative and religious centre of the district. The Paro Tsechu is held annually to celebrate the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (also known as Padmasambhava), who was responsible for bringing Buddhism in Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel, Bhutan
Paro TsechuWe will spend two days soaking up the atmosphere at Paro Tsechu. This is the biggest festival in Bhutan, with traditional rituals observed by monks as lay performers enact dances in masks that depict mythical deities. Watch performances and dances, each one more colourful and exciting than the previous one. The air will be filled with the sweet smell of juniper incense as crowds of locals chant prayers and monks blow large horn trumpets. During our time in Paro we will also visit Kyichu Lhagang, one of the most holy Buddhist sites in the area. In the evening you can enjoy the optional extra of a traditional hot stone bath. Overnight: Hotel, Paro
ParoToday the festivities will culminate with the unfolding of the giant Thongdrul, a painting of Buddha’s life story. It is believed that those who view it will be blessed manifold. We will queue with the locals to receive a blessing from the high Lama. In the later afternoon we will visit one of the most important Buddhist sites in Bhutan, the Taktshang Monastery. This spectacular monastery, also known as the 'Tiger's Nest Monastery' is perched 900m up a sheer cliff face that overlooks the Paro valley. We will transfer to the base of the Tiger’s Nest walk and hike to the cafeteria view point or up to the monastery at the height of 2980m. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew here on a tiger’s back to make the first monastery in Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel, Paro
Paro – KathmanduAfter breakfast we will transfer to the airport for the flight back to Kathmandu. After checking into the hotel we will visit the nearby city of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is a UNESCO world heritage protected site with well restored palace squares, famed pagoda styled buildings and numerus temples and shrines. Nepal is unique in that many temples contain strong links to both Buddhism and Hinduism and as we wander through Bhaktapur you will able witness the synthesis of these two religions. The rest of the day will be at your leisure to explore or relax. In the evening there is the optional extra of a farewell dinner and cultural performance. Overnight: Hotel, Kathmandu
Depart KathmanduAfter breakfast we will transfer you to the airport for your departure. We hope you enjoyed your pilgrimage and we hope to see you again soon.
- All transfers by private vehicle
- 8 nights accommodation and daily breakfast
- Entry fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary
- English speaking tour guide for the duration of the tour
- Return flights to and from Nepal
- Meals unless otherwise specified in the itinerary
- Personal expenditure such as drinks and souvenirs
- Donations to monasteries
- Compulsory travel insurance