ABOUT BHUTAN

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Location: Southern Asia. Landlocked between China and India. Area: 38,394 square kilometers . Altitude: 100 meters above sea level in the south to over 7,500 meters above the sea level in the north…

National symbols of Bhutan

The National Flag, National Emblem, National Anthem, National Animal, National Bird, National Butterfly, National Flower, National Tree, National Dress, National Game, National Day, National Language, National Dish…

Brief History of Bhutan

Bhutan was inhabited 4000 years ago, there were archeological evident indicating settlements in Bhutan dating back to 2000-1500 BC. Bonism was the main religion in Bhutan before the arrival of Buddhism…

Culture, Language and People of Bhutan

Bhutan has a rich culture that has remained intact because of its self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world until five decades ago. Dzongkha, meaning the language of the fort, is the national language of Bhutan. Small though it is, Bhutan has a rich variety of culture. The difficult topography of the country succeeded in keeping each ethnic group separate and vibrant…

Gross National Happiness

Bhutan measures prosperity by taking into consideration the citizens’ happiness levels and not the gross domestic product. We call this development philosophy the Gross National Happiness; a term coined by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck the fourth King of Bhutan, in 1972…

Plants and Animals

With 72 percent of Bhutan under forest cover Bhutan has a rich variety of plants and animals. Bhutan has three different zones, the alpine zone (4000m and above) above the tree line, temperate zone (2000 to 4000m) and subtropical zone (150m to 2000m)…

Weather and Climate

Bhutan has  four seasons and the climate varies depending on the altitude. March to May is spring when the weather is pleasant and the flowering trees blossom.  June to August is summer, also referred to as the monsoon season because we get plenty of rain…

BHUTAN
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TAKSANG MONESTRY-PARO

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It is a small monastery hung far up on a cliff overlooking a spectacular valley.

It is also one of thirteen small monasteries or “tiger’s lairs” where the Guru Rinpoche or “Precious Master” also known as the “Second Buddha” of Bhutan is said to have meditated.

Padmasambava was a Brahmin royal who spread Tantric Buddhism through Bhutan and Tibet in the 700s, and is seen in those areas as nearly as holy as the Buddha himself.

As legend has it, Padmasambava landed at Paro Taktsang to meditate when he brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the seventh century. He is said to have arrived on a flying tiger which had recently been his Tibetan concubine. He then meditated in a cave high on the mountain for four months after which he subdued the local ‘demons’ and began the conversion of the Bhutanese to Buddhism.

For those without flying tiger concubines, getting to the Tiger’s Nest is significantly more difficult. There is a two hour climb from the valley floor, which is already quite high at 7000 feet, to the Tiger’s Nest 3000 feet above, 10,000 feet above sea level. As one climbs the well-maintained but very steep trail over ever more vertical switchbacks, the monastery seems to appear and disappear in and out of the trees and the mists. After two hours of a long slow climb – going slow is recommended to help manage the pace of the altitude – one arrives at the only beginning of the entrance to the Tiger’s Nest, a rock outcropping overlooking a vast chasm, with the monastery on the other side.

Beneath the promontory of rock, and across the chasm from the monastery, the cliff drops a couple of thousand feet to the gorge below. Carved into the exposed cliff face are stone steps with absolutely no handrails. This is the way to the Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Despite the reservations of visitors to navigate the terrifying looking steps, Bhutanese mothers with small babies can be seen floating up the steps with the greatest of ease. The steps lead down into the gorge, which provides the separation and isolation the Tiger’s Nest has enjoyed for all these centuries.

As one climbs into the canyon, a one hundred meter high water fall at the deep end of the canyon appears immediately in front, with the path traversing directly across its base. Once down and across the front of the water fall the steps start back up toward the Tiger’s Nest once again, over 700 steps in all.

After removing one’s shoes one can enter the Tiger’s Nest and climb the several levels within, visiting three temples and gasping at the unreal view. High and deep inside is the cold cave where Padmasambabva is said to have meditated and one can feel the chill breath coming from the cave.

The return journey is much faster, but equally dramatic.

taksang monestry
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MANDALA RESORT -PARO BHUTAN

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mandala Resort

 

  • Restaurant (A La Carte and Buffet) and bar
  • Spa and fitness facilities : hot stone bath and yoga/meditation room
  • Free WiFi Internet access
  • Conference room
  • Business centre with copier, fax, and printer
  • Foreign currency exchange
  • Gift shop
  • Laundry
  • Event management
  • Parking
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • On call taxi service (charges apply)
  • Bathroom floor heating system
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Taj Tashi -Thimphu Bhutan

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taj

 

HOTEL FACILITIES
  • 57 rooms
  • 9 suites
  • Luxurious rooms & suites with sweeping mountain views
  • All Rooms are Non Smoking Rooms
  • Marble bathrooms with luxury bath amenities
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi for resident guests
  • Fine-dining specialty restaurants—Chig-Ja-Gye (Bhutanese) & The Thongsel (European & Bhutanese)
  • Ara, music-themed bar Rimps, tea lounge
  • 24-hour in-room dining
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THINGS TO DO IN PARO

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PARO SIGHTSEEING 

Rinpung Dzong
Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first National Museum Parospiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.

Ta Dzong
One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.

Drukgyel Dzong
This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when its was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.

Kyichu Lhakhang
It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.

Farm House (traditional village house)
The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.

Druk Choeding
Built in 1525, this town temple was formed by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Dungtse Lhakhang
To the west of the road is Dungtse Lhakhang, a chorten-like temple. This unusual building was built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo. It has three floors representing hell, earth and heaven and the paintings inside are said to be some of the best in Bhutan.

Beyond Dungtse Lhakhang, to the east of the road, the tiny Pana Lhakhang is quite old and is believed to have been built in the seventh century.

Ugyen Pelri Palace
Ugyen Pelri Palace is in a secluded wooded compound on the south side of the river just west of the Dzong. This Palace was built by the Paro Penlop, Tsering Penjor, in the early 1900s. It is designed after Guru Rinpoche’s celestial paradise, Zangto Pelri, and is one of the most beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture.

Jangsarbu Lhakhang
Located behind Paro Dzong, this small temple is home to a magnificent statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that was carried all the way from Lhasa and also houses the protector deity of Paro. Legend has it that the statue of Sakyamuni was destined for Paro Dzong and merely placed in the temple for overnight safe keeping. However, when the time came to move the statue, it proved impossible to lift. As a result, it became a permanent feature of the lhakhang.

Taktshang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest)
It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, Tiger's nest Paroperched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called “Tiger’s Nest”. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.

Excursions around Paro Valley

Haa valley
Start the day early for drive to Haa via Chele-la pass. 4 Km away at Bondey village the road to Haa diverts towards the right hand side and ascends towards the chele-la pass starts. After driving through blue pine & rhododendron forest for 45 km, reach Chele-la pass ( 4200 meters). From this point one can have a superb views of Mt. Chomolhari & Jichu Drakey. This is a very good place to walk around for few minutes enjoying the view. Drive on to Haa, descending all the way for another 22 km (under an hours drive), finally reaching Haa. The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by military, but the view from outside is stunning. After picnic lunch visit to the famous Monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by visit to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple).

The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to have no difference with that of Lhasa JOWO in Tibet. The construction of the Lakhang Karpo is believed to have been assisted by the locality. As a result the place came to be locally known as “Hay” meaning” surprise” which later became “Haa” due to the differences in interpretations and pronunciations of different people over time.

The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa valley were called “Me Rig Puen Sum” especially after the incidence of the Lhakhang Karpo construction. Today the three hills are popularly known as “Rig Sum Goenpa” signifying three deities-Jambayang Chana Dorji and Chenrizig.

Later, other Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche and “Machi Labdorn” came to the Jungney Drag in Haa and blessed the locality. The principal religion followed is Drukpa Kagyupa. After the arrival of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the chief guardian deity of Haa became, Ap Chundu.

Later in the afternoon drive to Paro same way back. The drive will be under 3 hours.

Kila Goemba
It is the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their life for spiritual fulfillment and leading undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. The goemba is nestled in a craggy patch on mountain side below the Chelela pass and perched precariously along the rock face. From Chelela pass, the lhakhang is about an hour walk amidst magnificent wooded area.

Chelela pass
Chele la (pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour’s drive along a thickly-forested road, is this Pass-a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Here, visitors can see cascades of wild roses; purple and yellow primulas; and swathes of deep blue iris covering the forest floor. The top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons in a variety of colours-pale pink, deep pink, burnt orange, mauve, white and scarlet.

Dzongdrakha Goemba
Often called as mini Takstang, Dzongdrakha is a cliff-side temple complex on the western side of the Paro Valley.  Four shrines make up the complex, dedicated to Drolma (Tara), Tsheringma(Goddess of Longevity), Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya. Local oral tradition states that when Guru Rinpoche first came to Bhutan, he came from Nepal, first landing at Drakarpo, and then Dzongdrakha before arriving at Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) farther north up the valley. Located approx 20 minute drive from Paro, these temples are built on a cliff above Bondey village but the walk is not as strenuous as Taktshang. From the road, it take only about 30 minutes walk to reach here, through forests of rhododendron and oak trees with white monkeys on it. Dzongdrakha also hosts an annual Tshechu (festival) that takes place the day before and the day after the larger Paro Tshechu held at Rinpung Dzong near the main town. During the festival at Dzongdrakha, one of the main blessings takes place when thechorten (stupa) of the past Buddha is opened so that attendees are blessed by the relic held within. The Dzongdrakha village has numerous temples and is known for most of their men being either fully ordained monks or gomchens (lay monks who don’t take vows of celibacy). Ironically it is the women who work in the fields and are the bread earners unlike in any other part of the country.

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