Buddhism Cultural Holiday
A true and inspiring entrance into Bhutanese Buddhism
Buddhism Cultural Holiday
- This Bhutanese Buddhism cultural holiday can be customized to your interests, but it will always center on learning about the spiritual practices, traditions, and religious customs of Bhutan. It offers an authentic and memorable experience for understanding Bhutanese Buddhism.
The Tour's Highlights
- Pathways and mule roads, high mountain passes, farms, villages, and farmhouses, as well as temples and monasteries perched on peaks and ridges, rural households, and distinctive architecture
- Contacts with various people daily, all of whom are consistently kind, attentive to our interest in them, and curious to learn more about us, including farmers, riders, shopkeepers, bar owners, weavers, monks, teachers, and children.
- Archery drills and competitions.
- History and Culture.
- Local markets, textiles, arts and crafts.
- Explore valley views and vibrant prayer flags by climbing herders’ pathways.
- Hike to Tiger’s nest, Paro.
Day 1: Paro’s spiritual and cultural heritage
Paro is known for its beautiful textiles and annual festival, and the Rinpung Dzong, also known as the “fortress of a heap of jewels,” is a must-see attraction. Built in 1646, it sits on a ridge above the Ta Dzong, which was originally used as a watchtower to protect the Rinpung Dzong from invaders. In 1968, the Ta Dzong was converted into the National Museum, which houses a wide variety of Bhutanese art, relics, religious paintings, stamps, coins, and handicrafts, as well as a small collection of natural history. A visit to the National Museum is a great way to learn about Bhutan’s culture and history all in one place, and the unique museum style is sure to delight visitors.
Day 2: Thimphu-Cruising the capital’s cultural core
The capital city of Bhutan offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, and is home to a diverse population including royalty, government officials, expatriates, businesspeople, and monks. Visitors can experience this cultural mix by exploring temples, dzongs, chortens, museums, handicraft shops, nunneries, and parks. Take the opportunity to encounter both traditional and contemporary artists in this city.
Day 3: Tango Monastery
Experience the local spiritual culture by visiting Tango Monastery, a sacred site that is reachable via an hour-long hike through a rhododendron forest. The monastery, which sits on a hillside with views of the forested mountains, is one of Bhutan’s most important Buddhist colleges. It was built in the 18th century and its name, meaning “horse’s head,” is derived from the shape of a rock at the top of the hill. Today, Tango is home to the reincarnated Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. While visiting, you can participate in local temple practices such as lighting butter lamps for personal grief or for loved ones, making offerings for those suffering and for the deceased, and dedicating merits for positive future connections with a true spiritual path.
Day 4: Punakha
Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan, is steeped in history and culture. This district, which ranges in elevation from 1300m at the valley floor to almost 3000m at Dochhula pass, served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907 and was the site of the first National Assembly. The Punakha Dzong, which is historically important and symbolizes a unified Bhutan, is a must-see attraction. At the Dochhula pass, visitors can have prayer flags hoisted in their name and those of their loved ones, with the belief that the flags release positive wishes into the world. Themes of the flags include loving kindness, peace, compassion, and wisdom.
Day 5: Nalanda Buddhist Institute
The Nalanda Buddhist Institute, also known as Dalayna or Nalanda Buddhist College, is a monastic school located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. Visitors can chat with the monks here, who are eager to practice their English, and meet with the Principal Khenpo Sonam Tshewang to learn about meditation and its importance in Buddhist practice. Bhutan, known as an abode of Buddhist deities, immortals and saints in the Himalayas, is a place where scholars, wandering yogis, saints and lay pilgrims have been drawn for centuries in their search for wisdom and inspiration. Experience the peace and solitude of these landscapes as you travel to hidden holy shrines and ancient monasteries, hiking through an unspoiled Himalayan environment.
Day 6: Talo & Nobgang Village Walks
The village of Talo, located at an altitude of 2,800m, is known for its cleanliness and hygiene among the villages of Punakha. It is the seat of the mind incarnations of the Zhabdrung and home to Talo Sangnacholing Dzong, which is built on a plateau and offers a majestic view of the surrounding villages. The village is known for its beautiful farmhouses with flower gardens, and the abundance of corn and sweet peas grown on the hill slopes. Visitors can spend time at Nobgang and Talo villages, visiting farmhouses and meeting families. The concept of the Village Walks is to provide an authentic, firsthand experience of rural life in the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan, and the locals are eager to welcome visitors and share their way of life with them.
Day 7: Retrace Steps back to Paro
Day 8: Taksang
The Tiger’s Nest, also known as Taktsang, is a must-see destination for visitors to Bhutan. The awe-inspiring, cliff-hugging monastery is considered a pilgrimage site for many, and even for those who are not spiritually inclined, the dramatic and artistically structured monument is a hiker’s delight. Join us for the uphill climb to this magnificent Buddhist relic, rising more than 2000 feet from the valley floor. After the climb, a Buddhist scholar will give a talk on Bhutanese Buddhism and answer any questions you may have.