Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas between China and India, the small Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan opened itself to the outside world only in the 1960s. Hithertho, it had been largely mysterious even to its neighbours but abandoning its self-imposed policy of isolation had it grappling to find a precarious balance between modernization and the preservation of its culture and traditions.
|PLACES COVERED||Paro – Thimphu – Punakha – Punakha – Paro|
|DURATION OF TRIP||6 NIGHTS/7 DAYS|
|MINIMUM REQUIRED||2 PAX|
|ACCOMMODATION||BUDGET ACCOMMODATION/Premium On Demand|
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||PICKUP Paro/DROP Paro|
|RETURN TIME||Approximately 6:30 PM/Depends on onward Journey|
|WEAR||Comfortable athletic clothing, sunscreen.|
DAY - 01 : Arrive Paro – Thimphu
On arrival at Paro airport, our tour representative will meet you to pick you up and transfer to your hotel. Check into your hotel in Thimphu. Free until lunch time for some rest from early morning flight, refreshment and lunch. Afternoon, you can choose to visit any or all of the following places:-
Tachogang Lhakhang:- Tachogang Lhakhang is located in Paro district, on the way to Thimphu. It was founded by Thankthong Gyelpo after he experienced a vision of Guru Rinpoche, Amitaba, and Avalokiteshvara near site. The caretakers today are said to be descendants of Thangtong Gyelpo. Inside the temple, one can see the masters relics, including his walking stick.
Changangkha Lhakhang:-This popular temple, perched like a fortress on a ridge above central Thimphu, hums with pilgrim activity. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. Parents traditionally come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity Tamdrin (to the left in the grilled inner sanctum). Children are blessed by a phurba (ritual dagger) and given a sacred thread.
Tashichho Dzong:- The Tashichho Dzong is a Buddhist monastery cum fortress at the northern edge of Thimpu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu and has historically served at the seat of the DrukDesi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan’s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer capital of the kingdom before becoming the full-time capital of Bhutan.
DAY - 02 : Thimphu
After the breakfast we will drive to the following places:
Kuensel Phodrang:- The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Thimphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place, you will surely enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it, the statue and its adjoining car park and recreational center.
National Memorial Chorten:- The National Memorial was built by Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who is also known as the “father of modern Bhutan.” He wanted to erect a monument carrying the message of world peace and prosperity. However, he was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state and other regal responsibilities. After his untimely demise in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to eternal peace, harmony, and tranquility.
Motithang Takin Preserve:-The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan’s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an animal in captivity. The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason, the Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby.
Semtokha Dzong:- Simtokha Dzong also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (Bhutanese language meaning: “Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras”) is a small dzong. It was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan. It is the first of its kind built in Bhutan. An important historical monument and former Buddhist monastery, today it houses one of the premier Dzongkha language learning institutes.
Zilukha Nunnery:-Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery is a Buddhist monastery in the small Himalayan country of Bhutan. The nunnery is located in Zilukha, Thimphu overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drives from the town. It is popularly known as the Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rickey Jadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.
THE CENTENARY FARMER’S MARKET:-Located below the main town, near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products on the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favorite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Nearby, across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles, and handicrafts.
In evening we will visit the weekend market of Thimphu:-
Thimphu’s ‘Weekend Market’ occupies the west bank of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region start arriving on Thursday and remain until Sunday night. Most people combine a visit here with some souvenir shopping in the nearby Handicrafts Market. The incense area is one of the more interesting sections, full of deliciously aromatic raw ingredients and pink cubes of camphor and saffron that are used to flavor the holy water given to pilgrims in Lhakhang.
Overnight In Thimphu.
DAY 03 :- DAY - 03 : Thimphu – Punakha
Post early breakfast, you will drive towards Punakha via Dochula Pass. We will stop over for tea at Dochula (3,100 m), where on a sunny day, you can get stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best-known mountain pass in Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meters above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30 kilometers away from the capital city Thimphu and the road to Punakha. On a clear day, the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges.
Punakha Dzong:-The Punakha Dzong or the Pungtang Dechen Phortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzhong was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal Wangchuck in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago. According to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. And lo behold! Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal found that the peak of the hill was in the shape of an elephant’s trunk and built the Dzong at that very spot.
Overnight in a hotel in Punakha
DAY 04 :- Punakha sightseeing
After an early breakfast, we will be driving down to Trongsa. Admire the view en route the valley of Wangdiphodrang. We will drive to Chimmi Lhakhang to start with. The Chimi Lhakhang or the Chimel Lhakang is a Buddhist monastery located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. The monastery stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14thDrukpaheirarch.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten:- A beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability, and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery:- Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.
The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation center for nuns where, apart from religious training, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making, and thangka painting.
Overnight in a hotel in Punakha.
DAY 05 :- Punakha – Paro
After breakfast, you will drive to Paro.
THE JUNGSHI PAPER FACTORY:- The Jungshi handmade paper factory uses traditional methods to produce the authentic Bhutanese paper known as Deh-sho.
It is located approximately 1 km from Thimphu City. The factory uses the bark of two tree species, the Daphne tree and Dhekap tree in the manufacture of traditional paper. Visitors can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper using ancient traditional methods that have been practiced for generations. You can even try your hand at this ancient craft and make some paper of your very own as a souvenir. Deh-sho paper was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books. The Jungshi paper factory continues to preserve and promote this age-old Bhutanese tradition. It also produces various other products, such as stationery and greeting cards.
National Post Office:-Bhutan has good and reliable postal services. However, delivery services in Bhutan tend to be concentrated in urban areas and so people in rural areas tend to visit post offices to check for and collect their mail. Recently, telecenters have been established in some of the post offices, where people can check for their e-mails too. The average distance of the post office from a Bhutanese home was found to be 11.2 km. More than half of the postal correspondence in Bhutan is in English and about one-fourth Bhutanese postal clients use both English and Dzongkha for their correspondences. Along with the post office at Thimphu, there are agency mail offices and community mail offices that are scattered in remote and isolated areas across the country.
Changlimithang Archery Ground:- On weekends it’s worth checking to see if there’s an archery tournament going on at this ground near the Changlimithang Stadium: whether it’s traditional bamboo or high-tech carbon-fiber bows, the skill, camaraderie and good-humored ribbing are always entertaining. Traditional songs and victory dances are all part of the fun. Archers often practice here in the mornings.
Rimpung Dzong:-The Paro Dzhong is probably Bhutan’s best known and most iconic Dzhong. This is probably the first building you will notice when you land at Paro International Airport and will probably be your first memory of Bhutan.
The imposing Dzhong is perhaps the finest example of Dzhong architecture existing the world today, the massive buttered walls of the fortress dominate over the valley. The Rinpung Dzhong’s names translate to the ” Fortress on a heap of Jewels “.
Jangtsa Dumgtseg Lhakhang is a Buddhist temple in western Bhutan. The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan. It is located on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopchari valley, across the bridge from Paro. The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu school.
In evening we will visit the local market of Paro and overnight in a hotel in Paro.
DAY 06 :- Paro
After early morning breakfast, we will take you for a morning hike up to:
Taktsang Monastery:- also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Hanging precariously and magically from a rather steep cliff, the Taktshang monastery is a monument of genuine pride for the Bhutanese nation. It defies architectural principles to the core and amazes tourists from around the world. It is a sight to behold. Taktshang or the Tigers lair as the monastery is called, it is widely regarded as one of the most important monuments of spiritual significance in Bhutan. Its history is deeply associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, the revered Indian saint who came to Bhutan in the 8th century AD.
Kyichu Lhakhang:- The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple was built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in the 7th Century AD. The Kyichu Lhakhang was one of the 108 temples constructed by him to subdue a demon that was terrorizing the people of the Himalayas.
The Lhakhang underwent many extensions during the ages with the last one being carried out in 1965 by the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. She added another new structure to the temple called the Guru Lhakhang. As one of the oldest Lhakahangs, it houses many important relics. One of the most important relics of the temple is a 7th-century statue of Jowo Sakyamuni which is believed to have cast at the same time as its famous counterpart in Lhasa Tibet.
DAY 07 :- Paro Departure
In the morning after early breakfast, we will see you off at the Paro Airport for your onward destinations.
PRICES BASED ON BUDGET ACCOMMODATION FOR UPGRADE PLEASE EMAIL
Services are included in the price:-
- A safe and comfortable air-conditioned Car with driver, all-inclusive. (Fuel, road and state taxes, toll fees, parking fees, Insurance for Customer & Driver and driver’s food and lodging).
- The car will be with you from your arrival to departure with as many stops to sight see as you want.
- A Driver with excellent skills and record, a good knowledge of the area you are visiting and sufficient English to communicate.
- Transfers and land transportation according to the itinerary.
- Accommodation Double or Twin rooms with Bed and Breakfast at all hotels.
- Sightseeing Tours in All Cities as per the above tour plan.
PRICES BASED ON BUDGET ACCOMMODATION FOR UPGRADE PLEASE EMAIL
Services are not included in the prices:-
- Tips, laundry, telephone bills, luggage handling and Beverages.
- Meals unless specified: Lunch or dinner
- Entrances tickets to Monuments
All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa obtained from an Indian Mission or Post abroad.
All Individual visa seekers are requested to apply for the Indian Visa through Online application link , in order to make an application for getting the Indian visa.
The duly signed physical copy of the application form completed in all respect and submitted successfully, is to be submitted at the concerned Indian Visa Application Center (IVAC) or directly to Indian Mission/ Post, on the scheduled date of interview along with the requisite supporting documents. The instructions for filling the form and scheduling the appointment can be seen at Instructions for Online Visa Application. Important technical information for filling online Indian visa application can be referred at Technical Instructions.
The applicants are also requested to visit website of the Indian Mission concerned for detailed information about Indian visa.
ONLINE VISA APPLICATION
All Individual visa seekers are requested to apply for the Indian Visa through online application link. Or can apply by typing the URL: http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ in the address bar of web browser, in order to make an application for getting the Indian visa. In either case, no hand written application form will be accepted by any of the Indian Mission/ Post, where-ever online Visa facility has been implemented. The application form completed in all respect and submitted succesfully, is to be submitted at the concerned Indian Visa Application Center (IVAC) or directly to Indian Mission/ Post in absence of IVAC, on the scheduled date of interview along with the requisite supporting documents. The instructions for filling the form and scheduling the appointment can be refered at Instructions for Online Visa Application. Important technical information for filling online Indian visa application can be referred at Technical Instructions. If you have already applied online for Indian Visa online and want to know the status of your application,
Government of India issues the following visas: Business Visa, Conference Visa, Diplomatic Visa, Employment Visa, Emergency Visa, Entry Visa, Journalist Visa, Medical Visa, Missionaries Visa, Permit to re-enter within 2 months, Research Visa, Student Visa, Tourist Visa, Transit Visa. Please follow the link for details on Visa Provision and supporting documents
VISA PROCESSING TIME
Upon receipt of the Visa Application through Indian Visa Application Center or directly, the Indian Mission/ Post requires a minimum of three working days to process the case and issue a visa depending upon the nationality and excluding special cases.
Online India Visa Application allows the Applicant to upload a digital photograph of self to complete the online visa application.
Guidelines/procedure to upload a digital photograph
The digital photograph to be uploaded along with the Visa application should meet the following requirements:
Format – JPEG
Minimum 10 KB
Maximum 300 KB
The height and width of the Photo must be equal.
Photo should present Full face, front view, eyes open.
Center head within frame and present full head from top of hair to bottom of chin.
Background should be plain light colored or white background.
No shadows on the face or on the background.
Make sure that photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin. Head should measure 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches (25mm to 35mm). Make sure eye height is between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3.
FEE FOR INDIAN VISA
The visa fee depends upon the type of applied for and duration of visa. Visa fee is divided into various types depending upon the case viz; Basic fee, special fee, processing fee by out-sourcing agency. During the online registration process, at the end of the process the basic fee shall be displayed. However, this fee shall be indicative only and final fee shall be charged while submitting the application at the respective counters Fee once received are non-refundable even if the visa application is withdrawn, the visa is not granted, or if visa issued is of shorter duration of period than applied for or otherwise issued or returned at a time or on terms and conditions that may vary from those sought by the applicant. For further information on this, please check with local embassy office or Indian Visa Application center office or websites for information on applicable fee and payment methods.
|Sl. No.||Type of Visa||Period for which granted||Entry – Single (S), Multiple (M), Double||Documents required with application||Extendable in India|
|2||Transit||15 days||S/ Double||Return/ onward journey ticket||No|
|3||Business||5 years||M||Documents to prove bonafide purpose (Company’s letter etc.)||Yes|
|4||Employment||1 year/ period of contract||M||Proof of employment (appointment document), terms and conditions||Yes|
|5||Student||Period of course/ 5 years||M||Proof of admission in Indian Institution||Yes|
|6||Foreigners of Indian Origin||5 years||M||Proof of being of Indian Origin||Yes|
- Online application form:
This application form is meant for those foreigners who are applying for visa from outside India.
Each online application form is meant for one person only. Separate application has to be filed for each applicant.
Furnish information exactly in the manner asked for in the forms, especially the names, address and date of birth.
Applicants are required to verify the application details before submitting the online application. They have an option to save the online application form, in case it is not to be submitted.
Once the online application form is submitted by the applicant, then further modifications are not allowed. Hence applicants are requested to check and validate the details before submitting the online application form.
Applicants are requested to keep the Application Id (generated automatically after the submission of online form) for further communications.
- Appointment Scheduling:
Applicant can schedule the appointment as per his/ her convenience with the concerned Indian Mission.
Each applicant to schedule a separate appointment with the Indian Mission
- Process for filling up online application form:
Applicant shall access the Visa Application system online through the following link: http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/.
Applicant visits the above mentioned web link and selects the Indian Mission from where he intends to apply for the Visa from the tab “Select Mission”.
Applicant fills the application on-line as per the forms standardized by the Ministry.
After filling the form and submitting it, the system shall automatically generate a Application Id. Applicants are requested to keep this Application Id for further communications with the concerned Indian Mission.
System will automatically ask the Applicant for the following confirmation: “Select ‘Yes’ if the applicant want to seek appointment and make payment online or ‘No’ if the applicant just want to print the submitted application form.”
If the applicant response is “No”, then it is requested by the applicant to take the print out of the submitted online application form and approach the concerned Indian Mission for submission of the online form along with supporting documents.
If the response from applicant is “yes” then the system automatically takes the link to perform the following:
Selection of Date and Time of appointment at the concerned Indian Mission
Calculation of Visa fee, service charge, VAT etc. as applicable according to the Visa type
E Payment using service provider’s payment system
In case the facility of Appointment Scheduling and e-Payment is not available for the concerned Indian mission, then applicant has to take the printout of the online application form and visit the concerned Indian Mission to submit the same along with supporting documents and make the payment.
Indian Culture: Traditions and Customs of India
India’s culture is among the world,s oldest; civilization in India began about 4,500 years ago. Many sources describe it as “Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara” — the first and the supreme culture in the world, according to the All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP) organization.
Western societies did not always see the culture of India very favorably, according to Christina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London. Early anthropologists once considered culture as an evolutionary process, and ”every aspect of human development was seen as driven by evolution,” she told Live Science. “In this view, societies outside of Europe or North America, or societies that did not follow the European or Western way of life, were considered primitive and culturally inferior. Essentially this included all the colonized countries and people, such as African countries, India, and the Far East.”.
However, Indians made significant advances in architecture (Taj Mahal), mathematics (the invention of zero) and medicine (Ayurveda). Today, India is a very diverse country, with more than 1.2 billion people, according to the CIA World Factbook, making it the second most populous nation after China. Different regions have their own distinct cultures. Language, religion, food and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture. Here is a brief overview of the culture of India.
India has 28 states and seven territories, according to the World Health Organization. There is no official language in India, according to a Gujarat High Court ruling in 2010. Many people living in India also write in Devanagari script. In fact, it is a misconception that the majority of people in India speak Hindi. Though many people speak Hindi in India, 59 percent of India residents speak something other than Hindi, according to The Times of India. Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu are some other languages spoken in the country.
India is identified as the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, the third and fourth largest religions. About 84 percent of the population identifies as Hindu, according to the “Handbook of Research on Development and Religion” Edited by Matthew Clarke (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). There are many variations of Hinduism, and four predominant sects — Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakteya and Smarta.
About 13 percent of Indians are Muslim, making it one of the largest Islamic nations in the world. Christians and Sikhs make up a small percentage of the population, and there are even fewer Buddhists and Jains, according to the “Handbook.”
When the Moghul Empire invaded during the sixteenth century, they left a significant mark on the Indian cuisine, according to Texas A&M University. Indian cuisine is also influenced by many other countries. It is known for its large assortment of dishes and its liberal use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles vary from region to region.
Wheat, Basmati rice and pulses with chana (Bengal gram) are important staples of the Indian diet. The food is rich with curries and spices, including ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, dried hot peppers, and cinnamon, among others. Chutneys — thick condiments and spreads made from assorted fruits and vegetables such as tamarind and tomatoes and mint, cilantro and other herbs — are used generously in Indian cooking.
Many Hindus are vegetarians, but lamb and chicken are common in main dishes for non-vegetarians. The Guardian reports that between 20 percent and 40 percent of India’s population is vegetarian.
Much of Indian food is eaten with fingers or bread used as utensils. There is a wide array of breads served with meals, including naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, and bhatoora, a fried, fluffy flatbread common in North India and eaten with chickpea curry.
Architecture and art
The most well-known example of Indian architecture is the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to honor his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. India also has many ancient temples.
India is well known for its film industry, which is often referred to as Bollywood. The country’s movie history began in 1896 when the Lumière brothers demonstrated the art of cinema in Mumbai, according to the Golden Globes. Today, the films are known for their elaborate singing and dancing.
Indian dance, music and theater traditions span back more than 2,000 years, according to Nilima Bhadbhade, author of “Contract Law in India” (Kluwer Law International, 2010). The major classical dance traditions — Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Kathakali — draw on themes from mythology and literature and have rigid presentation rules.
Indian clothing is closely identified with the colorful silk saris worn by many of the country’s women. The traditional clothing for men is the dhoti, an unstitched piece of cloth that is tied around the waist and legs. Men also wear a kurta, a loose shirt that is worn about knee-length. For special occasions, men wear a sherwani, which is a long coat that is buttoned up to the collar and down to the knees. The Nehru jacket is a shorter version of a sherwani.
Customs and celebrations
The country celebrates Republic Day (Jan. 26), Independence Day (Aug. 15) and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (Oct. 2). Diwali is the largest and most important holiday to India, according to National Geographic. It is a five-day festival known as the festival of lights because of the lights lit during the celebration to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. Holi, the festival of colors, also called the festival of love, is popular in the spring.
India is situated in Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan.
The climate in India varies from a tropical monsoon climate in the south to a temperate climate in the north. If you are thinking of Visiting Delhi (the capital of India) then best to visit it in October, November, February and March. That’s when the nights are cool and the days are filled with a little sunshine. May, June and July are very hot with temperatures over 45 degrees (113 Fahrenheit). It is a dry heat and is sometimes accompanied by dusty desert winds. Most of the rain falls between July and September but they are not the tropical rains you’ll experience in India’s coastal cities.