Pursuit of Happiness
Venue - Bhutan
A great example of traditional way of living in the 21st century is Bhutan which measures it's growth with gross happiness of the citizens.
It is an amply modern country yet medieval with one foot still rooted in its past. Bhutan is aware of the downsides of rapid modernization and has decided to move cautiously without losing its soul. Sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of culture and tradition, and preservation and protection of natural environment are at the forefront of government policy. This gives Bhutan a different look and feel altogether, a visual and spiritual feast for all visitors.
A trip to this country will foster a fresh dimension in travel. This program is an opportunity to understand the rich, cultural heritage of the land of dragons, embrace nature in its various components, enjoy the peace and the tranquility of this carbon negative country. This trip will also let you engage with the Bhutanese people, college students and professors to understand their way of life, religion, culture and work thus motivating you to experience being a traveler than a tourist. This program will give the young adults a sneak peek into cross country travel.
Know Your Program
Our Facilitator will receive participant at Mumbai Airport & depart early morning. Reach Bagdogra by Flight at 10 am. Travel to Phuentsholing (6 hours journey by AC Cars). Night stay at Phuentsholing. Followed by rest and WALK – N – EXPLORE the town in the evening. Early dinner and Lights Out
After breakfast, travel to Thimphu ( 5 hours by road journey in Toyota Coaster/similar ). Lunch will be followed by rest. Play board games and table tennis in evening. Early Dinner and Lights Out
Post breakfast Explore Thimphu :
Drive to the 15th century Changakha Lhakhang spectacularly located on the spur. The Takin Sanctuary near the lhakhang will give the visitor a chance to glance at the National animal of Bhutan - Takin. Visit the Tashichho Dzong; the main secretarial building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and also the head seat of Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Visit the school of Arts and Crafts and the National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. Visit the memorial Chorten dedicated to the 03rd King of Bhutan, The Textile Museum & Folk Heritage Museum that provides a fascinating insight into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
Engage in a conversation by UNICEF team on the topic GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS and close the day with Reflection and open discussion on the concept on GNH.
Visit Buddha point to have a wonderful view of Thimphu valley.
Take a look at the National Postal Museum The museum tells the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of communication and postal system in the country. The journey told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced. On visit one can customize their own stamps with photo.
Visit Jungshi handmade paper factory, it was established in 1990 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in capital, Thimphu to expand the old domestic skill for commercial purposes, and thus give the ancient art a relevance in the modern world. The paper made here is based on unique materials of the Himalaya, the bark of the Daphne Papyri, also known as dey- sho.
Visit the Royal Thimphu college and interact with the students. Use this opportunity to understand how similar and different we are in our lifestyles, food, culture, technology, career options, Close the day with reflection and dinner.
Travel to Punakha after Breakfast via Dochula Pass ( approx 3 hour drive ), The Dochula Pass is a mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas within Bhutan on the road from Thimpu to Punakha where 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as "Druk Wangyal Chortens" have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. After Reaching Punakha, settle down in the hotel after lunch. Afternoon will be rest time. Evening will be spent playing games and knowing more about each other etc.
After Breakfast :
Experience Rafting at Punakha: The Pho Chu River, with its approx 16 km course with about 15 rapids of class 2-4 is the most popular for rafting in Bhutan followed by Mo Chu river with 10 Km course comprising around 10 rapids with 2 - 2+ rapids. Drifting past imposing 17th century Punakha Dzong (fort cum monastery) watching world’s rarest bird, the white belled Heron in its natural habitat and Kingfishers frolicking on riverbank - all these topped off with spectacular sight of serene lush green alpine valleys, are the most amazing experience you would love to treasure. Rafting in Bhutan is a superb experience in its own right. (Optional). Or Visit market area / Trek / Visit Limbukha
Visit Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Phodrang Dzong “the palace of great happiness or bliss”. It is the second largest Dzong in Bhutan.The Dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the Pema Lingpa.
Visit Chime Lhakhang: It is about 20 minutes walk from the road junction between Punakha and Wangdue through the mustard and paddy fields. The temple is popularly known as the temple of fertility. A replication of the iron bow and arrows of Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the “Divine Mad Man”, his scriptures and the phallus, which is the symbolic representation of fertility, bless the couples that visit the Lhakhang.
Spend time in evening clicking pictures and exploring the town on foot
After breakfast, leave for Paro ( approx. 4 hour drive ) After Lunch, rest time for an hour then explore Paro Market and indulge in shopping. Relax at cafe’s of your choice and later in the evening Enjoy Campfire at Night with dinner
Visit Paro Dzong,This fortress overlooks the Paro Valley.the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, built in 1645 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is an imposing square fortress, representing typical Dzong architecture, with a central tower and courtyards housing the administrative (Dzongkhag) and has a community of about 200 monks. It is listed as a faltering site in Bhutan’s tentative list for UNESCO inclusion.
Visit National Museum is an ancient watchtower called Ta- Dzong located on the hill above the Paro Rinpung Dzong, overlooking the spectacular view of Paro valley. It possesses a variety of artifacts from all over the country representing different eras, as early as 4000 B.C to the present day.
Visit Drugyel Dzong , this ancient fortress is considered one of the most beautiful and famous archaeological sites in Bhutan, situated on ridge in the upper Paro valley. The fortress was built in 1649 at the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to honor victory over an invasion from Tibet.
Visit Tshenden Incense Factory, known as Tshenden Peyzhokhang was established about eleven years ago. Today it produces varieties of incense sticks.
Spend time briefing and preparing for next day Trek and discussion on how to enjoy the most sought after destination in Bhutan. Early dinner and lights out.
Early Breakfast, leave for a Trek to Taktsang also known as the Tiger’s Nest. Taktsang Monastery, clinging on the steep rock, is one of the holiest temples in Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche flew on the Tigress back and meditated here. The trek to the temple through the pine tree and sweet aroma of the air is indeed a very special and memorable event. The return hike will take about 05-06 hours. It’s compulsory to wear full clothes, sport shoes, one litre water bottle, chocolates, and trash bag, carry a rain jacket, plastic bags and personal medication on this trip. Carry an extra pair of shoes / floaters. It would be ideal to prepare oneself mentally and physically before starting on this trek as the highest point of this monastery at 13,000 feet. Evening will be spent in rest and packing up.
Pack up and Fly to Kolkata, onwards Mumbai.
This is a sample itinerary. Kshitij reserves the right to cancel or alter any aspect of our program as a result of unforeseen circumstances, including weather, environment or health hazards. To the best of our ability, substitution of activities will be comparable to, or better than the original activity.
What to Bring!
Pair of Clothes (6 T Shirts & 2 Full Jeans + 2 Full Track Pants), 1 Haversack Bag & 1 Small Shoulder Bag, Thermal/Winter Jacket, Safety Pins, Water Bottle, Handkerchiefs, 2 Night Suit, Sport Shoes & Floater/ Slippers, Toiletry Pouch, Towel, Cap, Sun Screen Lotion,Odomos Mosquito Cream, Cold Cream, Lip Balm, Dairy Pen, 4 Extra Pair of Socks, Torch with new Batteries, Sunglasses, Swimming Costume (Nylon T-Shirt & Shorts (for Boys) & Nylon tights with Nylon Round Neck T-Shirts (for Girls)), Full Sleeves Jacket, Hand Gloves, Lunch Box
Optional: Camera, Binocular
What not to Bring!
Expensive Jewelry, Walkmans or Radio, Cellular Phone, Electronic Games, Junk Food, Cold Drinks