Fall Itinerary 2017

Bhutan_TigersNest Bhutan Monk   

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Upcoming Sacred Journey with Kutira

 

Please note: All accommodations will be in 3-star hotels, 4-5 star hotel accommodations may require additional fees to be discussed on a personal basis if you so choose.

 

The Healing Waters of Bhutan

Exploring your authentic self while

riding the tiger of joy in the valley of happiness.

 

Day 1 / Paro to Thimphu

The flights to Bhutan provide one of the best views of the Himalayas including Mount Everest (8848m), the highest peak in the World. It is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills and hill top villages into the kingdom of Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, gathering all the participants coming from different destinations, after comp letion of immigration and custom formalities, we will be met by our Bhutanese guide.We will then take an hour bus drive to Thimphu. After checking into our hotel, there will be time to explore some of the beautiful shops in Thimphu.Evening dinner at our hosts’ place.Overnight in Thimphu Hotel Peddling.

Day 2 / Thimphu

This is a day of cultural experiences and souvenir shopping. We will visit the site of the largest Buddha statue, overlooking the Thimphu Valley. We will also visit the National Textile Museum of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Bhutan’s weavings and brocades are considered spiritual expressions and are admired for their diversity and sophistication. We will visit the Traditional School of Painting and the Arts to capture close-ups of students practicing the ancient arts of Bhutanese thanka painting, mask making, and wood carving. In the evening going to Kutira’s special bar. The order of this schedule will be defined at a later point. Overnight in Thimphu Hotel Peddling

Day 3 / Thimphu

This is a day we will going with the flow, and put the program together at our leisure and interest. I can insure you this town and it’s surrounding are amazing.…Perhaps some of the previous day’s sites some of you will want to spend more time enjoying. Overnight in Thimphu/ Hotel Peddling.

Day 4 / Thimphu to Punkahka

We will have a lunch stop at scenic Dochula pass (3150m) with a breathtaking view of Himalayas range. This place holds many favorite memories for me and I am especially excited to guide you to this place and enjoy the beautiful temple built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangchuk. We will spend some time at this auspicious place. After the Dochula pass the road descends through beautiful farm villages and fields. We will have several stops to take photos. Overnight in Punakha in the beautiful Khuru Resort.

Day 5 / Punkaha

We will see the Punakha Dzong that was built in 1637. This dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbot, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship. We will visit the Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Pagoda built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. This Pagoda is a splendid example of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture. After an invigorating hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, we will have a picnic at this spectacularly situated temple. You will be rewarded for your efforts with incredible views of the valley below. We will have a late picnic lunch at the Chorten.

For additional cost the courageous ones can at their own cost take a river rafting trip back to the hotel. Part of our journey will include a Hot Stone bath at the river where the divine madman Drukpa Kinley, the patron saint of Bhutan used to bath. We will then visit the nearby cave where he meditated. Overnight Punkakha at Khuru Resort.

Day 6 / Gaza  (campsite)

From Punkakha we are driving approx. 3 hours. Once we arrive we set up camp and have lunch and make ourselves familiar with the surrounding. The hot springs are situated close to the banks of the Mo Chu River. This is one of the most popular springs in the country.

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There are three bath houses at the Gasa Tshachu. One of the bath houses contains a large bathing pool and the remaining two each have two smaller pools. The water temperature varies in each of the pool so you can choose the one you like best.  There is also an outdoor pool close to the facilities that are frequently used by both domestic and wild animals such as Takins. Overnight at camp

Day 7 / Gaza (camping)

We will have day hikes, sight see the Gaza Dzong. Locally known as the Tashi Thongmon Dzong, the fortress served as a defending barrack in the seventeenth century to protect against invasion from Tibet.  This fortress is different from the other nineteen historical Dzong’s in Bhutan. The design here has a circular shape and three watch towers that are placed at strategic points to overlook the valley. The whole Gasa District is an environmentally protected area of Bhutan, with the Jigme Dorji National Park being the jewel if the region.mThe park holds a high variety of rare wild animals like: Snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, red panda, sambar, barking deer, Indian leopards, and marmot. Overnight at camp.

Day 8 / Gaza return to Punkakha

We will drive back to at the beautiful place of Ashi Sonam and her family in Punakha. We’ll relax and enjoy the magical setting and celebrate the healing waters of Bhutan by having a hot stone bath, a dip in the river and gazing up into the night stars. Latter we’ll enjoy a camp fire with good company. Overnight at Khuru or Damche Resort right by the river

Day 9 / Pobjiikha

After leaving Punkakha town we will visit Chimi Lakhang, a small but famous temple in the center of the golden Punakha Valley, also known as the temple of the Divine Mad Man Drukpa Kinely. This temple is famous for its fertility blessings for childless families in Bhutan. Chimi Lhakhang was founded in the 15th century by Lam Ngawang Chogyal in honour of Divine mad monk, commonly known as Lam Drukpa Kinley, after he subdued the demoness of the nearby Dochula pass with his magic thunderbolt of wisdom. A wooden effigy of Lam Drukpa Kinley’s thunderbolt is preserved in the temple, where childless women receive an empowerment from this wooden effigy to have a child. Newborn children are also brought to this temple to receive their names and to seek refuge to Lam Drukpa Kinley. Overnight Hotel in Pobjiikha

Day 10 / Pobjiikha to Thimphu

We will have a morning hike in the valley of the black necked cranes and visit the Gangtey Monastery. Overnight in Thimphu Hotel Peddlin.

Day 11

Early morning-Transferring to Paro. On the way we will visit the Nuns Porject in Thimphu. We will also visit the century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest temples. We will then see a Nunery or Museum and have a possible audience with a Rinpoche.Overnight in Paro at the Metta Resort and Spa

Day 12

Our journey in the kingdom culminates with a hike to the most famous pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Taktsang Lhakhang, or the Tiger’s Nest Temple (9,300 feet). Visible from afar, this stunning monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 2,000 feet above the valley floor. I have been visiting Tigers Nest for many years and each time it is a new breathtaking experience. It will stay with you for rest of your life. For those who would like to ride up we can hire ponies, for those who walk we will get you hiking sticks. Overnight in Paro with the option to get hot stone bath to relax the body.

Day 13

Exploring the Paro Valley and possible audience with Khenpo Tashi, a long time friends and director of the National Museum. This day we leave open to let spirit move us to explore this region. Possible farewell dinner at the culinary school.

Day 14

Paro Departure – We will be leaving for the Paro Airport to return either to Bangkok or Kathmandu.

(Final itinerary will be sent before journey, however this is going to be as close as possible, changes may apply)

Throughout the journey I will provide “check in” circles, meditations, and inspirational talks, either while visiting the power places, or in the hotels. Of course some things will happen that we cannot foresee, but will magically occur on our journey. This itinerary is subject to change.

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For those who are interested I will be leaving before Bhutan to Bali and after Bhutan go to Nepal. I am happy to share with you my schedule if you are interested to extend your 2 weeks to a longer journey.

Past Events 2016

East to West: Nov. 2nd-18th

Wednesday, November 2nd- Samdrup Jongkhar (As some of the participants are coming via New Delhi and some via BKK/Calcutta, the arrival times are varied in Guahati. A 2.5 hour taxi drive from the airport to the Bhutan boarder will be the last  leg of reaching your final destination.  Welcoming and gathering in Samdrup Jonkhkar at the border of Bhutan, where we will be staying and get to meet each other for the first time. Staying Overnight at Hotel Menjong

Thursday, November 3rd-Samdurp Jonkhar leaving for Trashigang-Travel day to Trashigang- sightseeing and visiting an extraordinary Buddha park above a small nunnery called Samten Choling along the 110 miles of road climbing from the Indian border up into the Himalayan mountain region. Arrive in the evening and stay in Trashigang at the Lingkhar Lodge.

Friday, November 4th- Trashigang-Drive toward Merak and visit the village of Radhi. Radhi is a small town with a Monastery and a community of silk weavers. This daylong excursion is rarely done by travelers and will be a fantastic sacred journey. Beside the 10-mile drive we also will hike and eat the local food in the village. Overnight Lingkhar Lodge

 Saturday, November 5th– Day long Excursion- We hike from Trashigang to a nearby small village, and then drive towards Sakten to visit the Ranjung Monastery. We will also visit the Thegchok Kunzang Choden Nunnery in Radhi about 30 minutes drive from Ranjung. Overnight at Lingkhar Lodge

 Sunday, November 6th- Trashigang to Mongar-En-route visit Goma Kora under Trashiyangtse District. There are numerous local Tshechus throughout Bhutan all with their own unique dances and traditions. The Dance Festival in Mongar starts on Nov 6th. People from all over the region as far as Trashigang and Lhuentse come to attend the festival. A lot of unique dances indigenous to the region are also performed. We will catch the afternoon dances and dress up for the festivities. Overnight at Wangchuk Hotel

Monday, November 7th- Mongar Dance Festival- We are getting dressed up again and ready to attend more of the Dance Festival. This is a joyous celebration and very colorful. The main inhabitants of this region are the Tshanglas and the Kurtoeps. They speak distinct languages known as Tshanglakha and Kurtoepaikha. This region is famous for their exquisite wood-carvings. The new Dzong in Mongar was built at the initiative of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1953. Today the dzong is the centre of administration where all important decisions are made. *For those who would like to visit Luhenste- it is about 48 miles from Mongar. Luhenste is a small village with a dzong, a school and a small inn. This region has become well known for the residents who weave beautiful dresses called ‘kushutara’ which are woven with brocading technique and made out of fine silk. Overnight at Wangchuk Hotel

Tuesday, November 8th- Travel to Bhumtang-Leaving from Mongar to Bhumthan we embark over the highest pass in Bhutan to the heartland of this mountainous kingdom. On the way we pass Ura known for over 300 varieties of medicinal herbs and a yearly festival in May. Overnight Kaila Guesthouse

Wednesday, November 9th-Bhumthang- Monastery tour of some of the most spiritual places of Bhutan- including the Pema Linka lake, which is called “burning lake”. Overnight Kaila Guesthouse (possible evening at the Swiss Guest house with a Raclette or Fondue)

East Group: Thursday, November 10th- Leaving for Phobjikha- We will leave early in the morning as this road is under construction by the Indian government, however we chose to take this route of a 100 mile so we can visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong and the fabulous Trongsa tower museum. We will arrive late in Gangtey in the Phobjiikha region and enjoy a bonfire. Our overnight stay will be in a farmhouse and in cozy warm tents. Our hosts will be the locals of the village.

West Group: Thursday, Nov. 10th- Paro to Timphu
Arriving in Paro, you will be picked up by our Bhutan host and travel to our hotel in Thimphu (capital of Bhutan). Kutira and her group will meet up with you in Punakha coming from the East the next day. On the way to Timphu we will stop at the iron bridge and visit the small temple on the hill.

East Group: Friday, November 11th Phobjiikha to Punakha- We will attend the annual Black Neck Crane Festival, which is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered species. The festival includes cultural programs such as folk songs, dances, songs by school children and mask dances preformed by the local people. After Lunch we will depart for Punakha (3 hours drive) to meet up with the West group and keep celebrating the Kings birthday with hot stone bath and good drink’s let the party continue. Overnight in Punakha.

West Group: Friday, Nov. 11th- Timphu to Punakha- This is a special day as the country celebrates the Kings Birthday. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck the 4th King of Bhutan was born on 11th November 1955. To mark this occasion every Dzongkhag in Bhutan will observe the day with various cultural programs and events participated in by people from all walks of life. You will be leaving at 2pm for Punakha to meet with the East Group and continuing celebrating the King’s Birthday. Traveling through Bhutan on such a day is very special and you will see many beautiful decorations.

EAST AND WEST GROUP UNITE
We stay at the beautiful place of Ashi Sonam and her family in Punakha, a resort right by the river. Good day to have a hot stone bath at the river and gaze into the night star. Maybe even a camp fire with a good Bhutan wine and share with each other our stories and integrate the new comers. We relax and enjoy this magical setting and keep celebrating the King’s birthday

Saturday, Nov. 12th– Punkakha- After an invigorating hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, a spectacularly situated temple, be rewarded for your efforts with incredible views of the valley below. Then visit the Punakha Dzong, an impressive fortress guarding the southern end of the valley at the confluence of the Pho (male) and Mo (female) Rivers. For additional cost we can organize a river Rafting for the courageous ones. In the evening another Hot Stone bath at the river for those who missed the other night.

Sunday, Nov. 13th. Punakha to Thimphu-We leave early in the morning to visit Chimi Lakhang, a small but famous temple in the center of the golden Punakha Valley, also know as the temple of the Divine Mad Man Drukpa Kinely. Lunch at the Dochu-la pass (10,000 feet) and gaze at a 200-mile panorama of Himalayan peaks. This place holds many favorite memories for me and I am especially excited to guide you to this place and enjoy the beautiful temple built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangchuk. We will spend some time at this auspicious place.Overnight in Thimphu

Monday, Nov. 14th– Thimphu– Visiting the site of the largest Buddha statue, overlooking the Thimphu Valley.– Visit to the National Textile Museum of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. Bhutan’s weaving’s and brocades are considered spiritual expressions and are admired for their diversity and sophistication. We visit the Traditional School of Painting and the Arts to capture close-ups of students practicing the ancient arts of Bhutanese thangka painting, mask making, and wood carving. A day of cultural entertaining and some souvenir shopping. Tara Temple, Nuns project, in the evening some entertaining visit’s to Kutira’s special bar. Schedule will be defined at a later point. Overnight in Thimphu

Tuesday,Nov. 15th Thimphu

A day we are going with the flow, we will put the program together at our leisure or with some suggestions from our hosts and friends. We take it easy and I can insure you this town and it’s surrounding are amazing… Overnight in Thimphu

Wednesday, Nov. 16th– Thimphu to Paro- Early morning-Transferring to Paro. Visit of the culinary school for lunch. Staying at the Drukyel another place of our host which is newly build. Visiting the century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest temples and Nunery or Museum and possible audience with some high Rinpoches. Overnight in Paro

Thursday, Nov. 17th– Tiger’s Nest- Our journey in the kingdom culminates with a hike to the most famous pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Taktsang Lhakhang, or the Tiger’s Nest Temple (9,300 feet). Visible from afar, this stunning monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 2,000 feet above the valley floor. I have been visiting the Tigers Nest for many years and each time it is a new breathtaking experience. It will stay with you for rest of your life. For those who would like to ride up we can hire ponies for those who walk we will get you hiking sticks. Overnight in Paro with the options to get hot stone bath to relax the body.

Friday, Nov. 18th– Paro Departure-We will be leaving for the Paro airport to return either to Bangkok or Kathmandu.

(Final itinerary will be sent before journey, however this is going to be as close as possible, changes may apply)

Throughout the journey I will provide “check in” circles, meditations, and inspirational talks, either while visiting the power places, or in the hotels. Of course some things will happen that we cannot foresee, but will magically occur on our journey. This itinerary is subject to change.

 

Gift Yourself the Entire 16 Days-
This is a once-in-a-lifetime spectacular experience. I guarantee you will have the most stunning, mind-blowing and blissful trip of your life. This is a country like no other and you will deepen your understanding of sustainable living and the celebration of National Gross Happiness (GNH) while expanding your sense of self in an environment that breaths, lives and embodies spirituality.

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(Final itinerary will be sent before journey, however this is going to be as close as possible, changes may apply)

Throughout the journey I will provide “check in” circles, meditations, and inspirational talks, either while visiting the power places, or in the hotels. Of course some things will happen that we cannot foresee, but will magically occur on our journey. This itinerary is subject to change.

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