Bumdra Trek With Cultural Tour
7 Nights 8 Days Tour
Day1: Arrive Paro –Thimphu, 54 km, 1 Hour Drive
The flight to Paro offers spectacular views of Himalayan Mountain ranges including our sacred Mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drake only on clear weather. On arrival at Paro International Airport our representative will be there to welcome you and after that start your drive to our only capital city of Bhutan,Thimphu which takes about 1 hour. On the way if the time permits stop at one of our oldest iron bridge built in 15th century by Drupthob Thangthong Gyalpo and again stop at Chuzom (the confluence of Paro and Thimphu River). After reaching Thimphu visit Centenary farmers market and stroll freely in Thimphu city and experience the lifestyle of the people. Overnight in the hotel.
Day2: Thimphu Sightseeings
After breakfast visit National Memorial stupa ( built in the memory of the third king of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), the giant Buddha statue overlooking Thimphu valley with 169 feet/51.5 meters and its tallest of its kind, Takin reservation center, Institute of thirteen arts and crafts, Folk heritage museum Tashi Chodzong meaning “fortress of glorious religion” built in 1641 by the unifier zhabdrung. Overnight in the hotel.
Day3: Thimphu-Punakha, 76km, 3 Hours Drive
After breakfast drive to Punakha district, our ancient capital city before Thimphu and stop at one of the most beautiful pass in the country called Dochula Pass(3100m) adorned with 108 Druk Wangyel chortens and colourful prayer flags surrounded by spectacular views of Himalayan ranges on clear weather. Continue driving to Punakha valley and on the way you can stop at Lobesa to hike up to Chimi Lhakhang through rice paddy fields and through metsina village with colourful painted Phallus on the walls to bless the household with fertility and to ward off evil spirits. The temple is dedicated to the accomplished master in the 15th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or the “Divine Madman,” who is believed to bless women who seek fertility. After this visit Punakha Dzong, one of the most beautiful dzong in the country with intricate metal and wood carvings situated between male and female rivers like an anchored ship built in 1637 by Zhabdrung and then visit one of the longest suspension bridge.
Day4: Punakha-Gangtey, Enjoy Crane Festival (78kms, 2 ½ Hours Drive)
Gangtey monastery sits on the hill top which is the main seat of great treasure revealer Pema Lingpa and it is the famous nyingma school of Buddhism established in 1613 by Rigzin Pema Thinley, the great grandson of terton Pema Lingpa. After visitng the monastery enjoy nature hike through villages and the beautiful glacier valley which takes about 1 hour. And visit the crane information center where you will get opportunity to watch documentary about this beautiful valley and the importance of this vulnerable bird ‘black necked cranes’. You will also get to watch the cranes over the valley through binoculars. Overnight in the hotel.
Day5: Gangtey-Paro, 170km, 5 Hours Drive
In the morning drive to Paro via Wangdue Phodrang, passing Dochula pass and the outskirt of Thimphu city and onward to Paro district. After lunch visit national museum of Bhutan which was built to serve as watch tower in 1649 and later in 1968 the ancient watch tower was renovated and converted into national museum under the command of His Majesty, the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, visit Paro Rinpung Dzong meaning “The fortress on the heap of jewels” built in 1646 by our unifier Zhabdrung. Along the wooden gallaries lining the courtyard of Rinpung Dzong are the fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore and visit Kichu Temple which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7th century by the Tibetan Buddhist king Songtsen Gonpo. In the evening stroll Paro town and local handicraft shops. Overnight in the hotel.
Day6: Trek To Bumdra
Bumdrak is one of the short 1 night 2 days trek with breathtaking views of Himalayan ranges and its also one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage spot. Drive to Sangachokhor will take about 40 minutes from Paro valley and that’s the end of the road.
Start trekking through black roasted forest (recent forest fire) for the first 1 hour and its all gradual ascends through the forest or rhododendrons, pines, brown oaks and so on until Choechentse lhakhang. From there we have to walk another 20 minutes uphill and the trial becomes flat until reaching Bumdrak base camp.
The place Bumdrak was founded by Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel(Consort of Guru Rinpoche) in 8th century after meditating for 3 months in the cave. Later Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel invited Guru Rinpoche from Taktsang to Bumdrak to bless the place. It is believed that khandro Yeshey Tshogyel emanated herself into hundrend thousand Dakinis or fairies to welcome Guru Rinpoche and on arriving the place the Dakinis served him well when Guru was meditating in the cave. So Guru appreciated their help and asked them to leave their own imprints on the cliff. So the name ’Bumdrak’ as the cave with imprints of hundred thousand Dakinis.
Sky Burials in Bumdrak
There are three mountain top sky burials in Bumdrak believed to have been blessed by Guru Rinpoche himself. People from across the valley bring the dead people there for vultures and other carnivorous animals. From temple it takes about 40 minutes walk uphill to reach at 3rd sky burial. On the way to 2nd and 1st sky burials, there is a hat of Guru Rinpoche and a small cave to pray and meditate. The 2nd sky burial is just 20 minutes walk uphill from 3rd sky burial and views of paro valley is amazing from the top. Many people visit this famous Bumdrak pilgrimage sites especially on auspicious days to hoist prayer flags and to get the funeral blessings in advance. The walk from 2nd sky burial to 1st sky burial is quite hard as the trail is rocky and we took about 1 hour 20 minutes to reach there. It is said that we have to sleep on those sky burial mounds for few minutes assuming we are dead and then offer our bodies to those animals. When we get up we must thank gods for the resurrection and promise to help sentient beings. There is a holy water of Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel just below the temple.
Day 7: Bumdra To Taktsang Monastery (drive to Paro)
The walk from Bumdrak to Taktsang is all downhill and it will be painful to our knees. It takes about 2 hours to reach at taktsang from bumdrak.
On the way down to the base, visit the famous Taktshang Monastery perched on the hanging cliff at about 3100 meters. Guru Rinpoche(spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktshang monastery now stands. The monastery is situated at about 900 meters above Paro valley. We will walk back the same way and the lunch will be served in Taktshang cafeteria or walk down to valley floor and enjoy lunch in the town. In the evening visit farmhouse and try traditional hot stone bath to heal the joint pains after your hike and try traditional Bhutanese meals. This is fantastic conclusion of your stay in Bhutan! Overnight in the hotel.
Day8: Depart Paro
In the morning, you will drive to the airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.