Druk Path Trek (11 Days /10 Nights)
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Arrive Paro 2280 meters. The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Omkara Tours & Travels will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the hotel. After Lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Paro: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery. A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After early breakfast, a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort. Lunch will be served at the Paro town. After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Paro – Jele Dzong (Start of Trek): Camp Altitude: 3560m; Distance 10 Km; Walking Time 4 – 5 hours. (1090 meters ascent). Today is a short trek. The trek begins above the National Museum; we climb till we reach camp. If the weather is clear the Paro valley and the snow-capped mountains can be seen. The campsite is near the old Jele Dzong. If the caretaker is there you can visit the Dzong.
Jele Dzong – Jangchulakha: Camp Altitude: 3770m; Distance 10 Km; walking time: 3 – 4 hours. (Ascent 310 meters, descent 50 meters). The trek starts with a short climb and then passes through a thick alpine forest of rhododendron and gradually climbs till we reach camp. You may see yak herders around your campsite.
Jangchulakha – Jimilangtso: Camp Altitude: 3870m; Distance 11 Kms; Walking time 4 hours, (330 meters ascent, 230 meters descent). The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valleys are beautiful. Our camp is close to Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout, and if lucky, you may enjoy well-prepared trout for dinner.
Jimilangtso – Simkota. (4-5hours): Camp Altitude: 4110 meters, 11 kms, Walking time: 4 hours, (820 meters ascent, 400 meters descent). The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees past the lake of Janetso. Overnight camp.
Simkota – Phajoding – Thimphu (4-5hours): Altitude (End of Trek: 2520 meters), Distance: 15 kms, walking time: 6 – 7 hours, (130 meters ascent, 1820 descent). From here we slowly descend down to Phajoding Monastery from where Thimphu town is visible at the valley floor. After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Takin Preserve Center and Sangay Gang View Point and to the Largest Statue of Buddha. Overnight in Hotel.
Thimphu Sightseeing: The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After Lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Over night in Hotel.
Thimphu – Punakha (72 Kms, 3 hours drive). After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. Lunch at Punakha. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. In the evening, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “ Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. Overnight in Hotel.
Punakha – Thimphu – Paro: After breakfast, drive to Paro via Thimphu. Lunch at Thimphu. Afternoon, free for shopping. In the evening, drive to Paro. Over night in Hotel.
Departure: Early morning, drive to the airport and farewell.