A Spiritual Pilgrimage to Bhutan--Itinerary Highlights

A Spiritual Pilgrimage to Bhutan--Itinerary Highlights

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Spiritual Pilgrimage to Bhutan Spiritual Pilgrimage to Bhutan

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Itinerary Highlights
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Days 1 & 2: Travel to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 3: After a brief stop in Calcutta, fly to Paro, Bhutan

Day 4: Explore the ancient temple of Avalokiteshvara at Kyichu and visit the Paro National Museum, where we will see beautiful Buddhist thangkas. The day concludes with a visit to the temple of Guru Khentse at Sartsamchorten.

Bhutanese Countryside Day 5: Morning drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Visit the National Library, which holds ancient manuscripts and wooden printing blocks. After a stop at the large Tibetan-style Memorial Chorten, visit the Painting School, where students carry on the traditional arts of Bhutan.

Day 6: Journey through Dochu Pass, Pele Pass, and Black Mountain National Park to Chendebji. The chorten (stupa) at Chendebji was built in the 19th century by the Tibetan Lama Shida to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was killed at this spot.

Day 7: Pass numerous monasteries en route to Chume Valley, home to the red-roofed complex of Tharpaling Monastery situated on a cliff high above the village. From here, continue on to Bumthang Valley, the cultural and historic heart of the kingdom.

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Day 8: A full day's sightseeing in Bumthang begins with a visit to Kurjey Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's most sacred sites, said to contain a rock with the imprint of Guru Rinpoche's body. See Jambey Lhakang, believed to have been built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. In the afternoon we visit Tamshing Monastery, founded by Pema Lingpa in 1501, considered to be the most important Nyingma monastery in Bhutan.

Hillside MonasteryDay 9: Morning departure for the Ura Valley. Take in the wide open spaces in the shadow of the Thrumsing Pass, separating the East from the West of the kingdom. Stop in charming Ura village, with its cobbled streets and medieval feel. Then will continue on foot to the old temple at Shingkar.

Day 10: Explore Kunzangdrak, one of the most important sites related to the holy man Pema Lingpa. He lived and worked here as a blacksmith; many of his most important sacred relics are kept here, including a gilded stone bearing his footprint.

Before returning to Bumthang Lodge, we'll stop at Membartsho ("Fire Lake"), where Pema Lingpa found several of Guru Rinpoche's hidden treasures (terma). The lake is surrounded by prayer flags and small clay offerings called tse tsa, left behind by local worshippers.

Day 11: A spectacular early morning drive to Punakha through deciduous forests. At Pele Pass, the entire area is blanketed by high-altitude dwarf bamboo. Sloping down the ridge stands the many-leveled Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648. Trongsa is the ancestral home of the Bhutanese Royal Family. Time permitting, we will set out for a short walk to the temple of the Divine Madman or "Drukpa Kunley."

Day 12: A full day excursion to the "Taktsang," also known as Tiger's Nest, one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites of the Himalayan world. The home of 13 holy places, it clings to the sheer cliffs walls, 3,000 feet above the valley. The monks at Taktsang take turns meditating alone in a cliffside retreat for three years, three months, three weeks, and three days.

Day 13: After saying goodbye to Bhutan, we fly to Bangkok, arriving at the deluxe Peninsula Hotel on the banks of the Chao Praya River. Each room offers a beautiful river view.

Day 14: Free day to explore Bangkok.

Day 15: Return flight to the U.S.


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