November 18, 2023 – Touring in Thimpu – Welcome to your first sunrise in glorious Thimpu. Awaken to a gorgeous vista of picturesque mountains covered in ever-green fir trees. Take in the crisp, cool breeze as you sip on our unique “eye-opener”, a refreshing morning drink to jump start your day.
After a hearty breakfast, start your tour with a drive to the iconic Tashichhoe Dzong, popularly known as the Thimphu Dzong (or ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’, is Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, government ministries, the nation’s largest monastery and headquarters of His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the monk body. As the summer residence of the Je Khempo the central monastic body will be in Thimphu during the month of April. The attention to detail and finish given to this building adds to its grand appearance – the outer walls are built of trimmed neatly fitted granite blocks, unlike other Dzongs, which were made of roughly dressed stones. Similarly, the courtyard is paved with rectangular stone slabs.
After Lunch, visit the iconic Buddha Dordenma Statue, one of the world’s largest statues of Gautam Buddha, at nearly 05-stories tall, located 20 minutes away from the hotel.
After taking a selfie or two with the Big Buddha, travel to the famous Changankha Monastery – a 15th century monastery, and the oldest in the city, perched on a hill overlooking the valley. At the temple sanctum, make a wish while turning the ancient khorlos (or prayer wheels) located in the inner sanctum – as per myth, the more often you turn the wheels, the more positive the karma you will receive. Take a scenic drive to the city’s outskirts, and visit the Takin Preserve, a sanctuary within the city’s peripheral for the national animal of the country, the curious Takin. Within the sanctuary, enjoy feeding the antelope while also seeing Sambhar and Barking Deer.
Visit to the nunnery is located in Zilukha, Thimphu overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It is popularly known as the Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.
Later in the day, head out to Tango-Cheri Monastery base, a 13th century monastery complex, widely considered to be one of the most reputed schools for Buddhist learning. Nestled deep in the hills of Thimphu, it is also the summer capital for the monastic body in Bhutan. The base of the monastery complex meanders along the crisp, clean waters of the Thimphu Chu, the great river of Thimphu.
If preferred, take an hour hike to the Cheri Monastery (the residential complex of Tango-Cheri), and visit the monks and their temple. Drive back to the city (or the hotel) for lunch, or, should you prefer, carry a packed lunch and enjoy a beautiful afternoon picnic at Cheri-Tango.
Overnight at the hotel.