SITES IMPORTANT TO BHUTAN’S SAINTS


MAIN DESCRIPTION OF PILGRIMS

This 10-day tour is designed to familiarize the students of dzogchen and vajrayana with the three saints of Bhutan: Guru Rinpoche, Longchenpa, and Pema Lingpa.  While Guru Rinpoche and Longchenpa are not natives of Bhutan, each spent considerable time in Bhutan; Pema Lingpa is considered the immediate rebirth of Longchenpa, and he is native to Bhutan.  Bhutan has several sites known to have been used by Guru Rinpoche, and, additionally, Bhutan has the world’s tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche. Longchenpa and Pema Lingpa both were instrumental in establishing sites devoted to the practice of buddhadharma in Bhutan.  The goal of this trek is to visit and explore some of the major sites that are accessible by road that are related to these three saints.

Note:

While the tour package is set up to originate in Paro, this package can be added to any of the treks and/or other Carbon-Free Zone tours.  Further, for those wanting to spend time in retreat during this journey, the tour can be extended to suit this purpose.  Thus, it is best to take the following as a guide to the locations and times involved in reaching them and, if interested in customizing your experiences, then use the contact form to initiate your itinerary.

Cost of tour outlined below:

(Additional days are charged at the going rates, seen under Travel Info: Tourist Tariff Rate, and must be booked with the tour agency.)

ITINERARY

Arrive Paro.

Since Druk Air now flies from varied locations, one’s arrival time will vary, depending on one’s point of departure for Bhutan. Regardless, you will be met at the airport and transported to your hotel, where you will spend your first night in Bhutan.  Depending on your arrival time, you may have a chance to visit the downtown and, possibly, the National Museum. 

Overnight Paro hotel.

Fly to Bumthang.

Today, using the domestic airline of Bhutan, namely Bhutan Airlines, you will leave Paro and fly to Bumthang.  Upon arrival at Bumthang, you will be transported to your hotel. Afternoon, visit Kurjey, site where Guru Rinpoche meditated and left his walking stick (now a large tree). 

Overnight Bumthang hotel.

Bumthang to Takela

Today, we will drive to the site of the world’s tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche, located at Takela.  We will cross the Thrumshing La Pass and, after a descent, again climb to the site in Takela of the statue.  Once there, we will circumambulate the statue and, if the caretaker is available, view the interior of the base of the statue.  Overnight at guest house on site. 

(Note, this is one place where you can extend your tour to spend time in retreat; discuss this with the tour operator using the contact form.)

Takela to Bumthang

Today, on the return drive to Bumthang, we will visit one of the remaining of the eight Lings, or places of pleasure, established by Longchenpa, located in Ura Valley region of Bumthang: Shingkhar Dechenling Lhakhang.  Here you will see the stone throne that was hidden for 700-years under floorboards at the temple; Longchenpa used to sit on it while composing some of his famous texts. There are many wonderful wall murals also to be seen, and several statues of interest at this historical location. 

Overnight Bumthang hotel.

Bumthang

Today, we will visit places of importance to the immediate rebirth of Longchenpa, Pema Lingpa, himself a noted terton (treasure discoverer) and popular Bhutanese saint.  The trip begins with a drive to the site known as Burning Lake, which is a ten-minute walk down a rocky incline path to the edge of a river made famous when Pema Lingpa jumped into it holding a lit butter lamp, one that remain lit upon his resurfacing also holding terma discovered beneath the waters.  Next, we will head to the monastery built and painted in 1501-05 by Pema Lingpa, known as Tamshing monastery; thirty-six of his original paintings still grace the walls of the interior vestibule. Additionally, you will see the statue of Guru Rinpoche that was built overnight by thousands of dakinis.  On the way back from Tamshing monastery, we will stop at Konchogsum Lhakhang, to visit the statue of Guru Rinpoche inside the old temple (now surrounded by a newer building with magnificent wall murals). Lastly, the day concludes with a visit to the oldest temple in Bhutan: Jampa.  Overnight at Bumthang hotel. 

(Note, this is one place where you can extend your tour to spend time in retreat; discuss this with the tour operator using the contact form.)

Bumthang to Trongsa

Today, on the way to Trongsa, where Longchenpa used to spend his summer months, we will stop at another of his eight Lings: Tharpaling monastery.  This site is very complex, with hikes required to access most of it; but, we can readily access the Tharpaling monastery with its wonderful shrine room.  After this, our drive continues to Trongsa, exposing you again to Bhutan’s forests in the clouds. 

Overnight at Trongsa hotel.

Trongsa to Bumthang

After a visit to Trongsa Dzong, with its museum and several temples, we will return to Bumthang, stopping on the way at Nyingmalung monastery, where talking statues of Guru Rinpoche, Amitabha and Green Tara are on display.  Evening will be spent quietly, packing for tomorrow’s flight. 

Overnight at Bumthang hotel.

Bumthang to Paro

Today, a flight will return you to Paro, where, after checking in to the hotel, you will be transported to the base of Tiger’s Nest to make the ascent to see the temple that was erected following Guru Rinpoche’s flying there on the back of a tigress.  Time permitting, a visit to the other oldest temple in Bhutan, Kyichu Lhakhang, will occur.

Overnight Paro hotel.

Paro to Thimphu, and back to Paro

Today, a quick tour to the capitol of Bhutan, Thimphu, will occur, with the main goals that of visiting Buddha Dordenma (with its commanding view of the capitol valley), visiting the Memorial Stupa (built by Trinley Norbu, a recognized rebirth of Longchenpa, to honor the third King of Bhutan), and visiting Zangthopelri Lhakhang (with its large statue of Guru Rinpoche).  The site seeing will include introduction to the main attractions found in Thimphu.  Lunch will be in Thimphu, and dinner will be back in Paro. 

Overnight Paro hotel.

Departure

Today, after a time to search for last minute gifts and souvenirs in downtown Paro, you will be taken to Paro International Airport for your departure.