Gomphu Kora Tshechu Festival Tour

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Gomphu Kora Tshechu Festival Tour
Trip Duration: 10 or 14 Days
Festival Dates: 25-26 March, 2018
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above  
Transportation: Private vehicle

Trip Overview:

Gomphu Kora Tshechu is the popular festival celebrated in the eastern Bhutan every spring. The prime feature of the festival is the circumbulation where ‘Gom’ meaning meditation, ‘Phu’ meaning cave and ‘Kora’ is the circumbulation. It is celebrated at the Gom Kora Monastery 23 kilometers away from Trashigang Dzong. This festival is attended by people from all over the eastern Bhutan descending down the narrow valley dressed in their finest clothing and jewelries. Traditionally, the festival is also the occasion to find a soul-mate that leading to marriage. The festival legend goes to the time of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who mediated in the cave for three months during when he subdued the demon, Mongkhapa, who had fled from Tibet and hide in a rock at Gomkora. Besides, the tour also visits the colorful Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu, the old capital – Punakha, the beautiful Gangtey Valley, Bumthang, Trashigang. The tour is to witness Bhutan rich cultural and traditional heritage still untouched by the outside world. 

Trip Highlights:

  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro
  • Explore the colorful Paro town
  • Guided city tour of the tiny capital - Thimphu
  • Attend the Gomphu Kora festival at Gomphu Kora Monastery
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan
  • Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan
  • Visit Bumthang- the religious heartland home to oldest monasteries & temples

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m) – Thimphu (2350m)
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch. Then drive towards Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan) for about 1 & half hours drive. En-route Thimphu, one can do a short hike to Tamchog Monastery, a private temple owned by the descendents of famous Tibetan bridge – builder Thangthong Gaylpo. Later on continue the drive to Thimphu.

In Thimphu, visit Buddha point for a stunning view of Thimphu city and Takin Compound- on the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. Then continue to Tashi Choe Dzong- the fortress of the glorious religion was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in the 1960s, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha (1310m)
After early breakfast, drive towards Punakha for about 3 hours passing along Dochu La Pass at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, the road descends through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. En-route take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman".

In the afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong. Located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Punakha – Gangtey (2320m)
Drive to Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Enjoy 1½ hours Gangtey nature trail from the monastery through the jungle before emerging to the valley floor. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 04: Gangtey - Bumthang (2800m)
Today, we drive 5 hours to Bumthang valley. The road climbs rapidly through a series of hairpins out of Trongsa and there are great views back to the Dzong and out across the valley. After passing through cultivated fields for a while, the trail re-enters the forest and reach the Yotong La (3400m). Descending to a low point of 2650m at a village called Chumey; the scenery is once again totally different as the route enters the wide-open Bumthang valleys. It takes about an hour to get to the roadside at Chumey, the first of the four valleys in Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 05: In Bumthang - Sightseeing
In the morning visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later, visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, and then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 06: Bumthang – Mongar (1700m)
Today is the longest day so wake up earlier than usual as a 7-8 hours drive to Mongar from Bhumthang. During this 184 kms trip on hilly roads, witness varieties of floras and faunas passing through Ura valley, one of the most beautiful valley’s of Bhutan. All kinds of vegetations await en-route. You will reach in Mongar before dusk. Evening: Go round Mongar town. Overnight at Hotel. 

Day 07: Mongar – Trashigang (3773m)
Morning: visit Mongar Dzong. The Dzong was built with a tradition touch in 1930s, and is the newest Dzong in the Dragon County. The Dzong was reconstructed following an order from the royals in the recent past. The Dzong is unique and traditional at the same time. The Dzong is a perfect example of modernization of Bhutanese architecture. After this visit drive back to Trashigang by crossing over Korila Pass reaching Trashigang by mid afternoon. In Trashigang, visit Trashigang Dzong. The Dzong was built in 1659 to defend the country from Tibetan invasions. Likewise, the Dzong is said to be have political stronghold of Eastern Bhutan for over 300 years. It is one of the strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan. The current Dzong is made bigger in 1936. Overnight at Hotel. 

Day 08: Trashigang (Gomphu Kora Festival)
After breakfast, drive to Gomphu Kora Monastery to attend the festival and interacting with the locals. To celebrate people from all over the eastern Bhutan including neighboring Indian state of Arunachal Pardesh have gathered here with their best attires to take part in the festivities. After the festival, drive back to Trashigang. Overnight at Hotel.

Option 01:
Day 09: Trashigang – Mongar (1700m)

In the morning, proceed towards Gom Kora. It is one of the temples where Guru Rinpoche, the great tantric meditated. After spending around a full day in this divine place drive back to Mongar for overnight stay. Overnight at Hotel. 

Day 10: Mongar – Trongsa (2200m)
This day is all about being on the roadways where occasional stops will be made in gorgeous places for photography. The journey will start form Mongar towards Trongsa which is around 250 kms. It requires around 6-7 hours reaching the destination. In the evening, go around Trongsa village for a short hike. Overnight at Hotel. 

Day 11: Trongsa – Gangtey Valley– Wangdue (1310m)
Once again like previous days, the day follows a road trip driving to Wangdiphodrang via Gangtey in the morning. En-route, a stop will be made at Gangtey Gompa. It is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism also the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. Likewise, stop at Phobijikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Reach Wangdue in the evening. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 12: Wangdue – Paro (2250m)
After breakfast, drive back to Paro which is about 4 hours drive. PM: Stroll around the streets of Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 13: Paro - Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m)
This morning, make an excursion to Taktsang Monastery – this has to be the monastery with the most outstanding setting in Bhutan. Set on a vertical cliff face at 2950m above sea level, it defies all engineering logic. For the energetic, hike 2 hours up to get a more dramatic view of the monastery. (The hike demands a certain level of fitness and a pony ride to the monastery can be arranged at additional cost). Just on the outskirts of Paro town, visit Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and have the opportunity to meet the local villages in a local farm house. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 14: Paro depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.

Option 02: 
Day 09: Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar (450m)

After breakfast drive proceeds towards Samdrup Jongkhar with lunch en-route and the drive is about 8-9 hrs. En-route, visit Khaling the weaving center under women association of Bhutan where one can see all the process and materials involved in weaving. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10: Depart – Samdrup Jongkhar
In the morning, see-off at Samdrup Jongkhar from where you will travel to Guwahati Airport for your onward journey.

Cost Details:

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

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