Dochula Festival or Tshechu, Druk Wangyel Tshechu, is commissioned by the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck in 2011. This is a unique festival as the festival is fully performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than the monastery. The soldiers have been given three months training in folk and mask dance.
It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. It started in 2011, in remembrance of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Armed Forces’ victory over Indian insurgent forces residing in southern Bhutan in 2003. It is held in every 13th of December.The festival will start at 0900 and ends at 1615 hours.
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatize to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and let’s have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sightseeing in Thimphu if possible.
Buddha Point at Kuensel Phodrang, is open to tourists. The 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma , Vajra Throne Buddha symbolising indestructibility will be completed soon. The Buddha statue itself is competed awaiting paintings, but visitors can drive up to the Buddha point and view the tallest statue of Lord Buddha. The view of Thimphu valley from the Buddha point is spectacular and beautiful, especially at night.
National Memorial Chorten – Which was built in honor of the late Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Thimphu Dzong – The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.
Visit Heritage Museum, built to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artefacts used in rural households. After which, head to Textile Museum to witnesses the art of traditional weaving then witnesses the art of papermaking at Paper making Factory. On the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin; a strange looking beast some say looks like a bee stung moose.
Centenary Farmers’ Market – Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
Dochula Pass – The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over indian militants and to liberate the souls of the souls lost. Punakha Dzong – Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a splendid example of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture.
Attend Dochula Festival at Dochula Pass
Dochula Pass – The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate of the souls lost.
Punakha Dzong – Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a splendid example of of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture.
The beautiful valley of Paro is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and temples. The country’s only airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to Mount Jomolhari (7, 300m) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pa Chhu flowing through the valley.
Kyichu Lhakhang – Also known as Kyerchu temple or Lho Kyerchu, it is the oldest temple in Bhutan. Just like Jambhay Lhakhang in Bumthang, it is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to subdue and pin down an ogress that was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. According to legend, all 108 temples were built in a single night.
Go back in time and history and visit the seventh century Kyichu temple. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, and you will feel at peace here. Next to the temple is a house that was turned into a museum dedicated to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. One can come across photographs and other artifacts belonging to Rinpoche.
Dumtse Lhakhang – Built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangton Gyalpo, the temple was built to subdue a demoness and so was chained firmly to the ground. It’s three floors represents hell, earth and heaven. To enter Dumtse Lhakhang, you will require a special permit.
Drukgyal Dzong – A morning drive, north of Paro valley brings us to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate.Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
Taktsang Monastery – A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliffs and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
Kyichu Lhakhang – After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek!