Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is pocketed between two most populated countries of the world. Country is embrace of twenty districts with its own distinct features. Exploring Bhutan through its different region helps to know the country in better ways. Paro, Haa, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Gasa are spot as western region of Bhutan. The western regions are considered to be affluent and developed comparing to other parts of regions. The western regions offer the perfect experience for tourists as it enfold holistic glimpse of Bhutan.
Exploring the Bhutan begins and ends at Paro. This is so because you get off from your Drukair flight and take your first look of Bhutan and you will be amazed by the scene and tranquility of Paro’s Valley.
Suitable to close proximity of the airport and many historical and religious sites in the region there are large number of high end hotels, resorts and luxurious hotels for tourist. This region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and covered in fertile rice fields with distinctive situated in a flat valley and follows a grid-like pattern.
PLACE TO VISIT
Taktshang or Tiger Nest
Taktshang transales to “The Tiger’s Nest” is the most iconic landmark and religious site at the elevation of 30000 ft. vertical rock face 700m above the Paro Valley floor. In the 7th century A.D Guru Rinpoche flew to the site riding on the back of trigress and meditated in the cave for 3 year to subdue evil demons residing within it. Later in 1692 Taktshang lhakhang was built at a cave. Tour to Bhutan would be incomplete without a visit to this site.
It was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan invaders. In the year 1951 the Dzong was razed down by the fire and these days we can see the ruin. One could see the Bhutan’s sacred mountain Jumolhari (7314m, 23,996 ft.) from this site on clear day.
The “fortress of the heap of jewels” was built in 16th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal overlooking the longest stretch of the Paro Valley. Paro Dzong now functions as the center of religious and secular affairs of the valley.
The national Museum of Bhutan was established at Ta-Dzong (watch Tower) which was built in 1649 by 2nd Desi La Ngoenpa Tenzin Drugda and officially opened in 1968 featuring mainly the collection of art object donated by Royal Family members.
It was built during the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in fulfill to built 108 temples in a day across the Himalayan regions to subdue demons.
Paro Tshechu is held every spring and it is one of the most significant attracting major audience locally and foreigner. Final day of the Tshechu ends with unfurl the Guru Thongdrol early morning and get blessing from it. It is believed that simply seeing a Thongdrol cleanse the viewer sin.
The Kingdom’s capital city is in the center of the Thimphu Valley home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants. The bustling capital town of Bhutan, host the Head quarter of Government and religion. Along with it capital is commercial hub and offers a glimpse of Bhutanese metropolitan life with night clubs, disco-theaques and other entertainment centers. Thimphu city is fast growing cities in the worlds with new buildings and construction and simultaneously retaining its culture identity and values. The most interested features of Thimphu city is that it is the only city in world without traffic lights.
PLACE TO VISIT
National Memorial Chorten
It was built in 1974 in the memory of Third King of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. The chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures.
The dzong is located on the bank of wang chhu. It was first built in1216 A.D by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa and the dzong have to go several renovations and in 1902 3rd king had completely renovated over the five years after he moved the capital to Thimphu in 1952.
The kingdoms oldest Dzong was built in 1627. The dzong house statue of yeshay Gonpo the chief protective deity of Bhutan inside the Utse. And also there contains the bed chambers of both zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and jigme Namgyal the two most important figures in Bhutanese history.
Buddha Dordenma Statue
The Buddha statue is located atop hill in Kuenselphodrang overlooking the southern entrance to Thimphu valley, measuring at a height of 51.5 meters making it one the largest statues of Buddha in the world.
The Textile and Folk Heritage Museum
Both these museums were established in the year 2001. The museum depicts the overall Bhutan culture and living traditions.
Centenary Farmer’s Market
Farmer all over the country comes to this place to sell their organic farm products. So this adds the value as the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan.
The school educate and train the students on the 13 art and craft of Bhutan. This helps the students to be self reliance and also adds the value to preserve the tradition of art of Bhutan.
Three km north of Thimphu city there is mini Zoo which house to only “Takin” the national animal of Bhutan.
A Buddhist monastery founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in 13th century and built in its present structure by 4th Desi Tenzin Rabgye in1688. In 1616 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated in its cave. It is 14 Km from capital city and belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Bhutan
Chagri Dorjeden Monastery was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The monastery which is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Drukpa Kagyu and it was in 1623 that Zhabdrung established the first Drukpa Kagyu monastic order in Bhutan. It is also said that the place was first visited by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century and also visited by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan in 13th century.
Dochula pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu. The pass is a popular location for tourist and local as it offers a stunning Himalayan mountain range. One can also circumambulate 108 stupa known as Druk wangyal chorten which was built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji wangmo wangchuck and also one can visit to Druk wangyal lhakhang that was built in honor of His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo.
The dromchoe is celebrated three days prior to the Thimphu Tshechu that was first introduced by Je Kuenga Gyeltshen in1710. The Dromchoe witness the scared dances dedicated to the chief protective deity of Bhutan Palden Lhamo.
The Thimphu Tshechu was initiated by the 4th Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgy in 1867 consisted of few dances performed by monks in addition to that in 1950 by 3rd King introduced numerous Dance. It is one of the biggest festivals in the country it last for three days and festival is held on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar.
Wangdu Phodrang is 73 kms, 3 hours drive from Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. It is one of the largest Dzongkhag in the country covering 4308sq km and ranges from 800-5800m in altitude. This district is famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate, stone carving.
PLACE TO VISIT
It was built in 1639 by Zhadrung Ngawang Namgyal at the confluence of Puna Tsang Chu. Dzong serve as the administrative and religious centre for the region. The dzong was burnt to the ground on 24th of june 2012. Now with help of government and Funds from other Diplomatic partner started to re construct the dzong.
The Gangtey Monastery also called the Gangtey Sangngak Chöling was established in 1613 by the first Peling Gyalse or Gangtey Tulku, Rigdzin Pema Tinley who was the grandson of Terchen Pema Lingpa. . It was initially built as a Lhakhang, a small village monastery, which was later expanded by his son Tenzing Legpai Dhendup who succeeded him as the second Gantey Trulku.
This scared site is one of the important places of Guru Rinpoche because in 8th century Guru Rinpoche mediated and subdued the local demons. Today it has became one of the hotspot for religious site to all walks of people and tourist in general.
Annual wangdue Phodrang Tshechu was introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after the completion of the dzong. The three day Tshechu concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Tshengy Thongdrol.
Black Necked Crane festival
Every year the festival is observed on 11th November to spread awareness of the birds and also to uphold efforts to preserve the habitat of these rare beautiful birds. This event is considered most unique and popular festivals in the country and also to mark the arrival of the endangered Black Necked Crane.
Punakha Dzongkhag is the second oldest and second largest Dzong in Bhutan which is three hour drive from capital city. From the year 1637 to 1955 it served as the capital of the country and also hosted the first National assembly in 1953. Punakha is the most fertile valley in country and also has a pleasant climate. Today it also serves as the winter residence for the central monastic body.
PLACE TO VISIT
Punakha Dzong was built in the year 1637 at the confluence of two river Pho chhu and Mo chhu. The Dzong contains the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and also contains sacred relic known as the Ranjung Kharsapani, self-created image of Avalokiteswara emerged from the vertebrae of Tsangpa Gyarey the founder of Drukpa School when he was cremated.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
It is under the Queen Mother patron to build the chorten in dedication to the King and well being of Bhutanese and was built in 1990 and it took nearly 10 years to bring to present structure. It is 30 min drive from Punakha at the base of the chorten and it takes about 1 hour hike from the base up to the temple.
The Punakha Drubchen was introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans invasion. Drubchen is unique festival that showcases the dramatic reenactment scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army.
Punakha Tshechu was first introdruced in the year 2005 by the 70th Chief Abbot of Bhutan Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and the then Home Miniser His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley. Punakha Tshechu is the reflection of Bhutanese rich cultural and to better preserve Buddhists teaching.
Gasa the northernmost district of the country and sharing it’s the boundary with Punakha, Thimphu and Wangdue. This pleasing region ranges from 1500 to 4500m experiencing the extreme long cold winter. Just about 3000 nomadic herder’s inhabitants their main source of income comes from trading the Products made from Yaks and also from harvest and sell of Cordyceps.
PLACE OF VISIT
Gasa Tashi Tongmön Dzong is the administrative center of Gasa Dzongkhag that was built in the 17th century by Tenzin Drukdra the second Druk Desi over the site of a meditation place established by Drubthob Terkungpa in the 13th century. Later it was expanded by the fourth Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye.
Gasa Hot Spring
Gasa hot spring is one of the most popular and visited place situated close to the banks of the Mo chhu. It is 40mins trek from the nearby road. Gasa hotspring have three bathing pool with varies in water temperature.
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park has some rare flora and fauna species which are snow Leopard, Takin – the national animal, Red Panda, the Mountain Goats, Blue Sheep and the Blue Poppy- the national flower of the country.
Haa is the smallest and least visited district in the country. This region is adorned with pristine alpine forest and tranquil mountain peaks. The white Poopy is widespread that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This flower typically grows to 1-1.5m in height at the altitudes around 4000m.
Haa is home to a number of nomadic herders and host an annual summer festival. During the summer festival it showcases the unique lifestyle and culture of nomadic Bhutanese herders with few delectable Haapi cuisines and traditional songs and dance to add up the festival more interesting and lively.
Bhutan is geographical distributed in four regions western, eastern, northern and southern. Above all the other region eastern zone that includes the districts of Mongar, Lhuntse, Trashigang,Trashi Yangtse, Pema Gatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar of Bhutan which is one of the least explored and have got scores of pristine and well preserved traditional and culture to offer to the tourists. In additional to that regular Buddhist festivals and other local rituals can be also experience.
All in all the eastern regions makes it perfect location for day hikes or longer treks which is because of the great variations in altitude and climatic conditions. Accommodations in this area are much more austere but warmth and hospitality extended by the locals will never let you miss the comforts of your stay like in hotels.
Mongar district shares its borders with Bumthang, Lhuentse, Pema Gatshel and Trashigang covering an area of 1954 sq.Kms, with elevations ranging from 400m to 4000m and Population of about 38,000. The region is best known for it’s weaving which produces one of the best textiles and fabrics in the country.
PLACE TO VISIT
Mongar Dzong is one of the newest Dzongs built in 1953 under the initiative of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and demonstrates how traditional Bhutanese architecture has thrived to alive through the centuries.
In the 17th century the ruin of Zhongar Dzong is believed to be constructed renowned master crafts man Zowo Bali and to this day it is endures as a testimony to the skill of the Builders.
It was built in the 16th century by Ani Cheten zangmo the daughter of Terton Pema Lingpa. The Dramiste Ngachaam (Dance of the Drums of Dramiste) was originated at this place in 16th century and also it is venerated under UNESCO world heritage list.
It was built in 16th century by Sangdag the youngest son of Terton Pema Lingpa and this temple plays an important role in the religious life of People.
This palcewas discovered by Guru Rinpoche and have a rock that bears 100 renditions of sacred syllable “Aa” and pilgrims pay homage, receive blessing and wash away their sins.
Jarong Khasor Stupa
This stupa is modeled from Jarung Khashor Stupa of Nepal and it is located in Lingmethang.
Mongar Tshechu is an annual three day Tshechu that is held every November. It is witnessed by people from in a round Mongar and neighboring districts.
There are numerous local Tshechus in this region all with their own unique dances and traditions.
It is located 77km from Mongar. It is the ancestral home of our kings and hosts several sacred sites of pilgrimage in the country. Women of Kurtoeps are especially adept at weaving a textile called Kishuthara which is one the expensive textile in the country.
PLACE TO VISIT
The mighty fortress popularly known as Lhundub Rinchentse overlooking the Kurichu River was built in 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tenpa. It houses many sacred artifacts that were installed by the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgay.
This temple houses the sacred chain mall that was once used to recapture a statue that miraculously flew away from the Lhuenste Dzong. The Temple was believed to be built by Kilung Gyalop a regional chieftain.
It was founded in the 18th century by Pekar Gyatso and until recently was under the patronage of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji. Ashi wangmo the daughter of first king lived at the monastery as a nun.
Dungkhar Nagtshang the ancient home of the Dungkhar Chojie and the ancestral home of the wangchuck Dynasty.
This village is famous for pottery as its women folk are skilled artisans of dying art.
This village is known throughout the country for its signature woven textile the kishuthara.
The Tshechu is normally celebrated in the month of November for three day and draws large number of people toghter for the religious celebrations and one of the most interesting and visually appealing aspects of the Tshechu is the colourful attire of Kishuthara that Lhuenste is famous for.
Cha and Ha Festival
Cha and Ha festival are celebrated to honor the deities and avert misfortunes.
Trashigang the Auspicious Hill is the country largest district and altitude ranging from 600m to 4000m.
PLACE TO VISIT
The Dzong was built in 1659 to defend against Tibetan invasions and later in 1936 present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola. It has been the political stronghold of eastern Bhutan for over 300 years.
Sherubste College the peak of learning is the oldest premier college in the country offering different field of studies incorporating modern education.
Trahigang has its own distinctive annual festival but the highlight is the three day Tshechu that is held during the 7th to 11th days of the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar (December). On the 9th of the month Tshechu begin and on 10th Thongdrol of Neten Chudrug(sixteen Arhats) is unfurled for the devotees. Tshechu is concluded with the unfurling of old Guru Tshengyed Thongdrol accompanied by the performance of Guru Tshengyed Chhams.
One of the newest Dzongkhags that was established in 1992. Trashi Yangste is the destination for visitors that offers wealth of natural, historical and culture resources.
PLACE TO VISIT
In the 9th century a Tibetan Prince named Lhasey Tsangma settled in the region after being exiled from Tibet built this dzong and it is believed to be the first dzong constructed in the country.
Duksum iron Chain Bridge
This was built by the great Yogi Thangthong Gyalpo during the 15th century.
Bomdeling wildlife Sanctuary
It is located in North-western part of Bhutan and covers an area of 1545sq.km. it has one of the richest temperate Fir forests in the eastern Himalayas and provides an ideal protected habitat for big cats like Tigers and Leopards.
It also houses to a number of other rare animals including Barking Deer, Himalayas Black Bears, Red Pandas and Hunderds of Black Naked Cranes that migrate to the region every winter.
Zorig Chusum Institute
The institute was established to educate and trained the Bhutanese in 13 Arts and crafts of Bhutan.
This Chorten was built by Lama Ngawang Loday in 1740 to subdue the demons in that place and also to dedicate to his late uncle Jungshu Pesan. This stupa is believed to be a replica of the Boudhnath stupa in Nepal.
Dakpa Kora signifies that people from Arunachal Pradesh known as Dapas come to circumambulate the Chorten. Lengend states that young girl from Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) believed to be Dakini agreed to be buried alive inside the chorten. The Dakap Kora is held on the 15th day of the 3rd month corresponding to 28th February every Year.
It is usually the Bhutanese People who circumambulate the chorten and it is held on 30th day corresponding to 15th march every year.
Pemagatshel translates to “Lotus Garden of Happiness” covering 517.8sq km located in south eastern Bhutan and its altitude ranges from 1000-3500m. The inhabitants depend on agriculture and other cash crop. Pemagatshel is famous for artisans and weavers.
Pemagatshel Tshechu is observed for three days with showcasing the different Mask Dances and Songs. Mask dances are very important in the context of Buddhist, its significant are very much strong and it is believed that you gain merit simply by attending and you also get blessing.
It is also an annual social gathering where people from all walks of life get toghter to celebrate and contemplate religion.
Samdrup Jongkhar being the oldest town in Bhutan and it is often used as the entry point for merchants and tourists entering Eastern Bhutan. This place is a commercial hub for the people of Eastern Bhutan.
PLACE TO VISIT
Dewathang is located18 km from samdrupJongkhar, this is the site where Jigme Namgyal the father of First King led the Bhutanese troops in a final battle against British in 1884 and signed the treaty of sinchula with British in 1865.
Mithun Breeding Farm
Mithuns are considered the finest breed of bison in Bhutan and this farm supplies farmers from the six eastern districts with this magnificent animal.
Central Bhutan embraces of two districts of Trongsa and Bumthang. The centre possesses the distinctive and significant monument of religious and historical events. Pelela pass divides the central and western region of the country.
This region has its own distinctive features to showcase to Bhutanese and tourist in general. Annual festivals are the epic of all events that are religious festivals, nomad’s festival and Matsutake mushroom festivals. Above all the central region is blessed with rich natural beauty and pristine flora and fauna. And also Thrumshingla National park adds to its beauty by housing to many rare and endangered birds.
Trongsa, The Vanguard of the warriors located centre of Bhutan. Strategic positions of the region help in controlling the country during the early days of Bhutan history. A district is situated on the steep ridge offering spectacular views of the valley. All the modern amenities are available.
PLACE TO VISIT
The massive structure was built over the ridge slop in 1648. It was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan during early Bhutan history. The Dzong holds the significant events in the history of Bhutan where first and second king ruled the country from this seat and also prior to ascending to the throne kings has to invest as Trongsa Penlop (governor). Now Dzong is house for administrative purpose of the Trongsa district and also house for the monastic Body of Trongsa Rabdey. This impressive structure can be seen anywhere from town.
It was built by first Penlop of Trongsa Chogyal Minjur Tenpa in1652 as a watch tower to safe guard the Trongsa Dzong from internal uprising. It is said that it has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon. Now the Ta dzong is designated as the most fascinating Museum of the country.
It was here at Thruepang palace that on 2nd May 1928 His Majesty the 3rd king of Bhutan was born. The birth place is situated just above the highway in the Trongsa town.
Kuenga Rabten Palace
23km drive from Trongsa you will reach to the winter palace of the second king. On the way to Kuenga Rabten palace you will be fascinated by agriculture activities and its native culture of that place.
En route to Trongsa you will come across the chorten which is much similar to of Bunath stupa in Nepal. It was built by Lama Zhida in 18th century as antidote to subdue evil spirit residing at that place.
Trongsa Tshechu is an annual festival of Trongsa which is held for three and it falls sometime in the month of December. During the Tshechu all walks of people come together to witness the sacred dance and get blessing. Unfurling of Thongdrol concludes the three day Tshechu and also people get opportunity to see and receive blessing from sacred Nangtens.
The region that spans from 2600-4500m consists of four main valleys namely Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. The wide and scenic Bumthang valleys draws a large number of tourist each year and also Bhutanese people pay homage to the holy sites which are once blessed by Guru Rinpoche and other great saints.
It is the heartland of religious because valleys domicile some of the Bhutan oldest and most venerated temples. Furthermore the tales of Guru Rinpoche and Tertons still remain in this sacred region.
PLACE TO VISIT
Jakar “castle of the white Bird” was built by Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk in 1549. The dzong played an important role as the fortress of defense to the whole eastern Districts. Unique and special feature of Jakar dzong is that 50m central tower and interconnected fortified towers which gave access to water during the blockade. It can be seen still to this day.
Guru Rinpoche came to Bumthnag on the invitation of Chakar Gyab Sindu Raja in 746 A.D to subdue the evil spirit and to resort the king soul taken by the guardian deity Shelging karpo. Guru Rinpoche meditate in a cave named Dragmar Dorji Tsegpa and subdue all the evil spirit and resort the king soul. There Guru Rinpoche kept the body imprint and place came to known as Kurje (Imprint of Body).
There are three main temples, among them the oldest temple is the temple constructed by chogyel minjur Tenpa in 1652 on the site where Guru Rinpoche meditated and the main relic are three Buddhas of past, present and future and also 21 Taras.
The second temple was built by first King of Bhutan and house the 12m high Guru Rinpoche statue. In 1990 the third temple was built under the patron of Queen Mother Ashi Kezang choden Wangchuck. Temple houses the Khenlop Chosum, Phurba, Neten Chudrug and Tsenmar Neykhang. One could also see cypress tree near the temple that is said to be Guru Rinpoche walking stick and few meter from the temple there is Druchu (holy water) of Guru Rinpoche. Temple is beautifully walled by 108 stupa symbolizing Buddha victory over the evil spirit.
Jambey Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the country founded by king of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in 7th century that he was destine to build 108 temples to subdue the demons that was residing in the Himalayas. Future Buddha Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) is the main relic housed in the temple with other more than one hundred statues of the god Kalachakra built by first king in 1887.
Tamshing Lhundupcholing Lhakhang was founded by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501AD. The temple holds the statue of Guru Rinpoche which is supposedly built by Khandroms and inner offering are some of the Terton himself treasures. One could also see the replica image of Terton Pema Lingpa and also other images of Peling Tshokhor sum, Guru Tshengyed etc.
The lhakhang is likely to build in 7th century but present structure of the temple was built in 15th century by Terton Pema Lingpa. It is belived that a large lake existed underneath the site, where Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several treasures. The Lhakhang holds many relics like statue of Vairocana, Avaloketesvara, Guru Rinpoche, Jowo Jampa, Terton Pema Lingpa, Longchen Rabjam and other great Buddhist lama.
North of Kurje Lhakhang is Thangbi Goemba which was built by Shamar Rinpoche of Karma Kagyu in1470. It contains statues of three times Buddha’s made from clay dated back to the ens of 15th century. And also you can see remarkable paintings of Guru Rinpoche heaven and Buddha Amitabha heaven.
Thirty minute drive from Chamkhar town towards the Tang valley you we see what we call burning lake. It is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it related to the renowned treasure reveler Terton Pema lingpa who discovered treasure from the lake in 15th century. Story behind naming as burning lake is that according to the legend that Terton Pema Lingpa had a vision of sacred treasures that Guru Rinpoche had hidden with the lake.
The people of Tang and local ruler had a suspicious thought on Pema Lingpa to claim as Teton and the story he had said to them about the treasure. So in order to prove the claim Pema Lingpa held a butter lamp in his hand and jumped into the lake. After remaining under water for long time he re-emerged holding treasures with the butter lamp still burning bright in his hand. Thereafter, the lake came to be known as Mebartsho (the burning lake).
Jambey Lhakhang Drubchen
Among the many festivals held in an around the country Jambey Lhakhang Festival aka Jambey Lhakhang Drup is considered as the most significant and spectacular festivals in the country. It is performed for five days and the highlight of the festival is the fire ritual held in evening and also the ritualistic naked dance.
Ura yakchoe is the famous dance held every May in Ura valley and during the festival sacred and important relic are display for the people to get blessing from the relic.
Be remind to yourself to visit the holy places around the world and Buddha said:
“Monks, after my passing away, if all the sons and daughters of good family and the faithful, so long as they live, go to the four holy places, they should go and remember: here at Lumbini the enlightened one was born; here at Bodhgaya he attained enlightenment; here at Sarnath he turned twelve wheels of Dharma; and here at Kushinagar he entered parinirvana”
BANGKOK/ BODI GAYA/ BODI GAYA
Across the world and throughout the ages, religious people have made pilgrimages. The Buddha himself exhorted his followers to visit what are now known as the four great places of pilgrimage. So it signifies that pilgrimage to holy site is essential and for that we had tailored made the tour.
A flight from Bangkok to Gaya airport is three hour five minute. On arrival to gaya airport you will be received by our guide and take to check in to the hotel at Bodhi gaya which is twenty minute car drive and tea break.
After that you will processed to Bodhi Temple to pay homage. Bodhi Gaya is the most holy place on Earth for the followers of the Buddhist all over the world and it situated near by the bank of river Neranjana. This is the very place where Gautama Buddha got enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Vihara more commonly known asMaha bodhi temple is one of the most interesting and impressive religious structure in India. The main entrance to the Vihara is from east which contains images of Buddha which are painted in gold by Tibetan pilgrims. The image is set during his final effort for Buddhahood with his back to the bodhi tree.
Then you walk few meter from the main entrance to left side you will see 10ft.high Bodhi tree. The bodhi tree becomes the central object of worship to the Buddhists and it said that the original tree under which Lord attained Buddhahood sprang up simultaneously with his birth. According to history, the original bodhi tree had been cut down by Hindu King of Bengal but another tree arose out of the same roots.
After that you will go to visit dorji Den (stone Throne) and Dutri ha ha Gap (one of the most secret cremation groung) and break for lunch.
After lunch you will visit Lodru Kawa Chasa. This place is believed that Gautama Buddha had under gone an intensive six year meditation before his final enlightenment under Bodhi tree.
At a distance of mile and a half across the Neranjara river there is high mound over grown with trees and shrubs known as Sujata Garh. At this place the girl named Sujata offered a bowl full of milk milked from 1000 cows to Guatama Buddha after he ascend from his six year Meditation.
Call off for the day and overnight at the hotel.
BODI GAYA/ BODI GAYA/ JI SI RONG
Day two start off after your breakfast. Drupthop Shawaripa Drakphu and Dutri Siwasi will be first stopover for the morning tour. Break for the lunch.
Later than Lunch you visit Ji Si Rong. Day conclude here and overnight stay at the Bodhi Gaya Hotel.
BODI GAYA/ RAJGIR/VAISHALI
After breakfast drive 1hr 30min towards Vulture peak at Rajgir from Bodhi Gaya. Rajgir is the Place of the Buddha subduing Nalagiri, the angry elephant, through loving kindness and one of the oldest cities of India. Vulture Peak was the second turning the wheel of Dharma to an assembly of 5,000 monks, nuns and laity, as well as innumerable, where the Buddha taught Prajnaparamita and started teaching the Mahayana path. And also the first community of Sangha was established here.
Then you visit hot water spring which is situated on the slopes of the hill which have a medicinal value. And also visit Gyalpoi Khap (Bimbisara’s Jail) this is supposed to be the jail in which Bimbisar was kept confined as a prison by his son Ajatasattu. It is said that from the prison king had seen the lord Buddha walking up and down and gave much relief to his sad heart. Then break for Lunch.
After lunch you drive 15km towards Nalanda from Rajgir. The real importance of the place for Buddhists began with the establishment of famous ancient learning centre or Nalanda University, which became world eminent on account of its galaxy of brilliant professors and high standard of teaching. The actual date of the foundation of the university is not known. Furthermore Lord Buddha chief disciple Sariputta was born near this Place. And also visit Nalanda Musum.
Evening excursion to Vaishali. Overnight stay in hotel at Vaishali.
Vaishali was the capital of the Vajjian Republic of ancient India. It was this place where Buddha received an offering of honey from a monkey watching an elephant attending the Buddha by bringing him water and fruit, a monkey decided that he too wanted to honor the Buddha by offering a gift. It was here that he established the Bhikshuni Sangha, initiating his maternal aunt Maha Prajavati Gautami into the order. His last rainy season resort was here and he announced his approaching Mahaparinirvana before leaving for Kushinagar, where he laid his mortal coil, he left his alms-bowl here with the people of Vaishali.
And also visit places like Chorten Namdadrong and tshachodrong. Chorten Namdadrong is the place where Gautama Buddha cut his hair after he renounce his Kingdom Kapilavastu. Break for lunch.
After lunch drive to Kushinagar. The Buddha chose Kushinagar, capital of the Malla kingdom, for his Mahaparinirvana. After his death, the Buddha’s body was cremated at the shrine of the Mallas. His remains were divided into eight parts which were subsequently placed under eight stupas in different parts of the country. The Mahaparinirvana stupa marks the spot where the Buddha passed away. The temple contains a six meter long statue of the Buddha in parinirvana posture lying on one side.
Overnight stay at Vaishali
VAISALI/ SARASWATI/ VARANASI
After breakfast passage to Shravasti.
Evening travel to Varanasi and night halt at Varanasi Hotel.
N/O at Varanasi
VARANSI/ BODI GAYA
Third last day of the tour begins later than breakfast visiting Sarnath in Varanasi. Deer park at Sarnath Lord Buddha delivered his first teaching after his enlightenment on Four Noble Truth. This is referred to as the first turning of the Wheel of the Law (Dharmachakra). It was here that the Buddha also established the order of monks (Sangha). By the 11th century these structures had fallen into disrepair, but excavations in the late 19th century uncovered the pillar together with a marble relic casket and an image of the Buddha delivering his first sermon. The Dhamekh stupa that exists today was built from brick during the 5th-6th centuries and stands on the site of earlier structures. Subsequently go to Museum and you break for the lunch.
After lunch you travel back to Bodhi Gaya. On the way back stopover at holy Ganges River (Chumoganga). It is believed to be that if we dip and bathe in Ganga river our sinful deeds will be cleaned.
After a hectic journey finally reach Bodhi Gaya and overnight stay at Hotel.
During the course of paying homage to holy sites of Buddha, you have accumulated merit and it’s the time to dedicate this merit to all the sentient being. So your second last day of the tour will be so meaningful and significant. In this regard you will be doing Tshog Offering and at last do aspiration prayer led by one of any Buddhist master.
Leisure time out
O/N at the Bodhi Gaya
BODI GAYA/ BANGKOK
Your final day of the tour kicks off after breakfast. You will be escorted to Gaya airport to fly out to your own destination but it’s not the end it is just the beginning of next expedition. We hope you had a memorable voyage. Take care and Safe journey.