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All Ways Travel Club.
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Sacred Bhutan. Mahakala Festival

In this program besides the iconic places in Bhutan – we will visit the Mahakala Festival or Yeshe Goenpo Drupchen at the famous Trongsa Dzong. This festival is dedicated to the male patron deity of Bhutan, Yeshe Goenpo (Mahakala). It was first introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century to commemorate victory over Tibetan invasions.

Mini-group of up to 10 people.

  1. Tour dates: November 13- November 22, 2023.
  2. Number of days: 10 days / 9 nights.
  3. Where to: The Kingdom of Bhutan.
  4. What we do: We visit different places of power and learn about culture and Buddhism.
  5. Visa and entry conditions: Bhutan visa is arranged through us. Bhutan is open for entry from September 22, 2022. No quarantine and a certificate of vaccination is not required (but welcome).
  6. Accommodation: 3* hotels.
  7. Insurance: Med. insurance for traveling abroad.
  8. Cost of the tour: for a group of 6 or more people. – $3,745 (USD).
  9. Support: Natalia S.He is a Russian-speaking guide who has lived in the Himalayas for many years.

Route

Paro
Thimphu
Gangtey
Boomtang
Tang Valley
Trongsa
Punakha
Paro

Group facilitator: Natalia S.

Natalia was born in 1974 in the Volga region. Translator, guide, journalist (published in Yoga, Empire of Spirit, Wild Yogi magazines).
In 2006 Natalia met her Buddhist Guru in Kathmandu – Lama Rinchen Phuntsok, a heart disciple of Dudjom Rinpoche. In 2008 Natalia finished teaching courses at Ashtanga Yoga Center in Moscow. In 2011 she studied the basics of the Tibetan language at the Manjushri Institute (Darjeeling, India). She studied and practiced the Buddhist tradition of Charya Nitya ritual dance under the direction of Leanne Hunt. Natalia has been living in Nepal and India since 2006, working as a guide. Natasha’s enveloping gentleness and kindness help guests to open up and relax in an unfamiliar land.

Reviews

Travel program

1 day. Paro to Thimphu.
Arrival in Paro.
The transfer to Thimphu town will take 1 hour. Accommodation, a short rest at the hotel and out for a walk around the capital.
Today we will climb up to Asia’s tallest Buddha statue, Kunzang Phodrang, which offers a magnificent view of Thimphu.
At sunset, we join people heading to the Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 in honor of the third King, by his mother. Together with the locals, you can do a Kora (circumambulation) around the stupa and recite mantras.
Return to the hotel, dinner, rest.
Day 2. Thimphu
After breakfast at the hotel, we will leave for Chagri gompa. This monastery is located in the north of the Thimphu Valley, half an hour’s drive from the city.
In the evening, we will go to Tashicho-dzong, the city’s main monastery and royal secretariat. Tashicho Dzong is picturesquely located near Thimphu town on the banks of the Wang Chu River.
Day 3. Thimphu – Gangtey
After breakfast departure to Gangtey.
On the way, we will pass through Dochu-La Pass, which is 3080 meters high. If you are lucky with the weather, you will see the chain of the highest Himalayan peaks. At the pass there is a complex of one large and one hundred and eight small stupas, as well as a monastery.
We will move to Gangtey where we will visit Gangtey Gompa, the largest Nyingma monastery in Bhutan and the only monastery of this school lying west of the Black Mountain range. We will also take a hike to the Phobjikha valley. Black-necked Cranes move here from the arid regions of the north by winter. These rare birds, which prefer to spend the cold season in the milder climate of the Phobjikha Valley, are listed in the Red Book. We’ll have a chance to see these amazing birds.
Day 4. Gangtey – Bumthang
Today we will be transferred to the valleys of Bumthang.
The Dzongkhag (or district) of Bumthang lies at an altitude of 2,600 to 4,500 meters and consists of four broad valleys formed by ancient glaciers. The valleys are called Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor, with Choekhor being the most extensive. The vibrant, impressive neighborhood attracts quite a few tourists every year. Despite this, Bumthang is an idyllically quiet place. The fertile valleys are covered with picturesque fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. Shady apple orchards and touching dairy farms are encountered. It is pleasant to walk here and enjoy the tranquility and unity with nature.
We will visit the monasteries of Jambey and Kurjei, some of the most sacred sites in the kingdom. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche himself meditated at Kurjei.
We will visit Jakar Dzong, the “fortress of the white bird”. It is located on the crest of a mountain above the town of the same name.
Day 5. Jakar – Tang Valley. Ogyen Choling
Today we will make a trip to the Tang River valley at an altitude of 3000 meters. On the way we will see Mebarzo – the “blazing lake”.
The small freshwater lake, hidden in the rocky shores, is often visited by Bhutanese pilgrims. On auspicious days, they make offerings of oil lamps, and the quivering lights add more charm to the pristine beauty of the lake.
Ogyen Choling is a 14th century manor house that belonged to the ruling Dorji family before the current Wangchuk dynasty came to rule.
A fully preserved manor house and monastery, undoubtedly the best place in Bhutan for those who want to experience the history and culture of the country.
You’ll spend the night in an old building whose rooms are set up as a gesthouse.
Dinner and fireside chats.
Day 6. Ogyen Choeling – Trongsa
Tang Valley is one of the most amazing places in Bhutan, it is as if time has stopped here. The locals for the most part never traveled anywhere outside of their valley, when you meet them they will remove their headdress and bow as they did a hundred years ago. The old way of life is still preserved here. Life is imbued with simplicity, closeness to nature, the eyes of villagers shine with joy and love.
We will take the road that leads to Tibet. It was along this route that Tibetans fled to Bhutan from the Chinese in the 70s. We will visit an old family monastery.
Lunch in the courtyard of the manor house. You’ll be surprised by the local cuisine, with a mix of Bhutanese and Swiss recipes.
After lunch, we will head to Trongsa.
The city of Trongsa is not only the geographical center of Bhutan. In the distant past, Trongsa played an important role in uniting the country and forming a single state.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7. Trongsa. Mahakala Festival – Punakha
Today at the famous Trongsa Dzong we will attend the Mahakala or Yeshe Goenpo Drupchen festival. This festival is dedicated to the male patron deity of Bhutan, Yeshe Goenpo (Mahakala). It was first introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century at Punakha Dzong to commemorate victory over Tibetan invasions, and afterward transferred to Trongsa.
After lunch we will head back and stop at Punakha valley.
Two major Bhutanese rivers, the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu, meet in the Punakha valley.
Tonight we’re spending the night at the farmhouse. We will meet the kind-hearted hostess and she will show us around the house and farm. Ama Wangmo was born in this house and several generations of her family have grown up here. The main house is about 300 years old and has been added on and changed. There are 5 acres of land surrounding the house, the lot is adjacent to a river with wooden tubs on the bank. It’s a Bhutanese bath. Those who wish will be able to take baths and take a dip in a small waterfall here. Or just to be secluded in nature, there is plenty of space in the estate.
We have a dinner waiting for us at the house with the family.
Day 8. Punakha – Paro
Today we will visit the famous Punakha Dzong. It is a very picturesque place, especially on clear days, when the sun, reflecting off the water surface, illuminates the whitewashed walls of the ancient monastery. Punakha was the capital of the kingdom until 1955, and is now the winter residence of the country’s supreme clergy.
Afterward, we will visit Chimi Lhakang. This monastery is built in honor of Drukpa Kyunle, who is also known as the Divine Fool. Chimi-lhakang is believed to have miraculous powers – curing infertility. Many childless couples come to Chimi for a blessing.
Transfer to Paro.
On arrival – we will stop by Kichhu Lhakang – one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It was founded in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo, through whom Buddhism spread over a vast area of Tibet and the Himalayas. Legend has it that Songtsen Gampo, with the help of Kichu, drove out an ogre who had settled in the Himalayas and was terrifying people.
Day 9. Paro. Taktsang-lhakang
After breakfast, we will travel to Taktsang Lhakang , Bhutan’s most famous monastery and
one of the most sacred places in the country
. It is located north of the town of Paro at a dizzying altitude of 3120 meters. To get to the monastery, we will take a pleasant 2-3 hour walk through shady pine forests. It takes a total of 5-6 hours to travel to Taktsang Lhakang.
It seems unbelievable, but Taktsang-lhakang is located on sheer cliffs 900 meters above the Paro valley. The name “taktsang” translates to “tiger’s nest”and there’s an explanation for that. The monastery was built in 1692 in a cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated in the 7th century. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche came here riding a tigress and meditated for 3 years 3 months 3 days and 3 hours to defeat the demons living in the cave. Since then, the cave has been considered sacred, and many famous Buddhist practitioners have traveled quite a distance to be able to meditate in it.
Farewell dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10. Paro. Departure
Transfer to the airport. Departing from Paro.
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Cost of travel

The cost of the trip is: $3745 For double occupancy

A clear color copy of your passport is required for Bhutan visa application. Passport validity – at least 6 months from the date of travel. Before the trip, we send the e-visa and itinerary to your email. These need to be printed out and presented at the counter of the airline carrier to Bhutan. An up-to-date visa is put in your passport upon arrival.

The cost of the tour includes:

  • 3* hotels/ guesthouses/ homesteads (double occupancy);
  • transportation according to the program for the group;
  • three meals a day along the whole route;
  • accompanied by a Russian guide – Natalia;
  • entrance tickets to monasteries, monuments, museums;
  • Bhutan visa;
  • daily state tax of 200 dollars per day.

Not included in the tour price:

  • Single occupancy supplement ($260);
  • Health Insurance;
  • Personal Expenses.

Registration

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