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Jambay Lhakhang Festival - 11 Days

Jambay Lhakhang Festival

Jambay Lhakhang Festival is held in Jambay lhakhang located in Bumthang. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul in a day to subdue the demons that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. The other is the Kichu lhakhang in Paro, believed to have been built on the same day.

Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche visited the site several times and deemed it exceptionally sacred. Chakhar Gyab, the king of the Iron Castle of Bumthang renovated the temple in the 8th century AD.

The first king of Bhutan, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck constructed the Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra- Wheel of Time) inside the temple, to commemorate his victory over his rivals Phuntsho Dorji of Punakha and Alu Dorji of Thimphu after the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Later, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of the second king of Bhutan, built the Chorten lhakhang.

The main relics include the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from whose name the present name of the temple is derived. The lhakhang also houses more than one hundred statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first king, in 1887. Here, one of the most spectacular festivals is hosted called Jambay lhakhang Drup that lasts for five days beginning from Nov 14-17, 2016. The highlight of the jambay lhakhang festival is the fire ritual that is held in the evening where crowds gather to witness the ritual together with the naked dance.

Day Day to Day trip Schedule
01 Arrive Paro Hotel
02 Thimphu Sightseeing Hotel
03 Thimphu – Punakha Hotel
04 Punakha – Trongsa Hotel
05 Trongsa – Bumthang Hotel
06 Jambay Lhakhang Drup Hotel
07 Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Festival) Hotel
08 Bumthang – Phobjikha Valley lodge
09 Phobjikha Valley – Paro Hotel
10 Paro Taktshang Hike Hotel
11 Depart Bhutan

Day 1
Day 1 | Arrival in Paro

On arrival at Paro airport our representative will pick you up. Drive to Thimphu. The drive to Thimphu (7700ft/2350m) is only 55 km long and easily negotiated in 1.5 hours. Check in to your hotel. After lunch visit : SIMTOKHA DZONG, originally called Simmo Dokha (Demon on the Stone)till the Zhabdrung cleansed and purified it and build the dzong whose complete name is san ngay sabdon phodrang( The Palace of Profound Tantric Teaching).This was the first of the many dzongs constructed by Zhabdrung in 1631. NATIONAL MEOMRIAL CHORTEN, it was built in 1974 in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk by his mother. CHANGANGKHA LHAKHANG, is one of the oldest temple in Thimphu, dating back to the fifteen century. It was built by a descendent of Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. The main statue here is that of Avaloketeswara and opposite the entrance is a large painting of Tsangpa Gyaray Yeshay Dorji. The place has an air of peace and tranquility, located as it is above and away from the city. TRASHICHHOE DZONG, “The Fortress of Auspicious Religion”, Your last stop for the day. The Dzong can be visited only after 5 pm on week days, when the government office closed-or then during the day on Saturday/Sunday. The Trashichhoe Dzong, in its present incarnation, was consecrated as late as 1969 and this building is a visual delight. With its superb sense of proportion and space, it carries an aura of regal dignity. Its history dated back to the 13th century. After becoming the property of Zhabdrung in 1641 he rebuilt the dzong.

Day 2
ay 2 | Thimphu Sightseeing

Today drive further north of Thimphu to visit TANGO GOMPA, this is a 300m hike and takes around one hour. Although founded by Gyalwa Lhanangpa , it was further developed by Lama Drukpa Kinley in the 15th century. Nearby is the cave where Zhabdrung meditated and believing that his spiritual powers had helped repel the Tibetan invasion, this gompa was presented to him in appreciation. Desi Tenzin Rabgyel renovated and added to the structure in 1688, bringing it to its current magnificent form. It is now time to return to Thimphu for lunch after which you can take in some more attractions that this quaint capital city has to offer. SANGAY GANG, heading towards the telecom tower which is at 8807ft/2685m and provides a vantage point for brilliant, clear views of the town and surrounding countryside. MINI-ZOO, heading back , stop a few minutes at the ‘mini-zoo’ which is now a large outdoor enclosure that holds one of the strangest looking creatures you are likely to see- the takin.(Actually the best time to see them is when they come to the fence for food in the early morning so if you are really interested, you can reschedule your day accordingly. DRUBTHOP GOMPA, a small building surrounded by prayer flags that now house the Zilukha Nunnery. Located above the dzong, this gompa is believed to protect it from fires. DECHEN PHODRANG, descending further, your arrive at Dechen phodrang which was the original site of the dzong and is now occupied by the state monastic school. NATIONAL LIBRARY, your drive will now take you past the rolling greens of the golf course with the grand National Library coming up on the opposite side. This was open in 1967 to preserve the ancient Dzongkha texts and act as a repository for thousands of old religious books and manuscripts as well as the wooden blocks used for printing. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ZORIG CHUSUM, which offers a six year course on Bhutan’s traditional crafts for those who are artistically inclined. FOLK HERITAGE MUSEUM, with its interior styled to resemble a typical farmhouse as it would have been a hundred years ago. The museum offers not only a glimpse into the past but also depicts the present reality of many remote rural hamlets. “If you are in Thimphu over the weekend, try and visit the local open market with its vast array of fresh produce, handicrafts and other items.”

Day 3
Day 3 | Thimphu – Punakha

After your breakfast check out from the hotel for your next destination, DRUK WANGYEL CHORTEN, “Chortens of the victory of the Druk Gyalpo” the top (dochula pass) is unlike that of any other pass you will encounter here or for that matter anywhere in the world! There are a 109 chortens in three tiers of 45,36 and 27 circumscribing a single large chorten. The building of this chortens was initiated by Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk when her husband, the fourth king, travelled to the South-East of the country in December 2003 leading his army against insurgents from India. Beside these magnificient chortens in an amazing setting you will be able to sport some of the great Himalayan peaks. CHIMI LHAKHANG, it is a pleasant 30-40 minute walk from the road head, through cultivated fields and up a gentle slop. This lhakhang dates back to 1499 and was built by Lama Drukpa Kinley, when he visited this valley. Lama Drukpa Kinley is believed to have subdued the demoness residing at Dochu La with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’ and a wooden effigy of this is preserved within. PUNAKHA DZONG, the dzong straddles the confluence of two rivers and resembles a giant battleship. Its full name is ‘Pungthang Dechen Phodrang’ or ‘Palace of Great Happiness.’ This extremely impressive fortress was built as far back as 1937. It was the second of the mighty dzong built by Zhabdrung and was the seat of government till the end of the reign of the second king.

Day 4
Day 4 | Punakha - Trongsa

After your early breakfast drive to Trongsa, en route to Trongsa is the Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Katmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted on the four cardinal point. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Legends says that the evil spirit manifested as a gigantic snake. Reaching Trongsa visit TRONGSA DZONG, built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and the second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All 5 Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop “governor” prior to ascending the throne. The dzong is the massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Because of the dzong’s highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control effectively the whole of the Eastern and Central regions of the country. TA DZONG, this watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chhoje Minjur Tempa, the first governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation pints resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significant of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. As of date the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the country.

Day 5
Day 5 | Trongsa – Bumthang

Reaching Bumthang, check in to the hotel and after lunch visit JAKAR DZONG, the Jakar Dzong or “Castle of the White Bird” dominates the Chamkhar valley and overlooks the town. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan lama Nagi Wangchuk . The dzong plays an important role as the fortress of defense of the whole eastern districts. It also became the seat of the first King of Bhutan. A special feature of the dzong is the approximately fifty meter high Utse or Central Tower, which is distinct from all the dzongs in Bhutan. The other unique feature of the dzong is that of a sheltered passage, with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which gave the population of the fortress access to water in the case of a siege. The protected water supply is still intact to this day. TAMSHING LAKHANG, located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501, a Terton(treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa, who was the re-incarnation of Guru Rinpochhe There are very old religious painting around the inner wall, which was restored at the end of the 19th century. This temple can be approached from Kurji Lhakhang with a short walk crossing through the suspension bridge. THANGBI GOMPA, this temple can be approached with 30 minute walk from Kurje Lhakhang, situated in the middle of a wide fertile plateau overlooking the river. Founded in 1470, by Shamar Rinpochhe of the Karma Kagupa religious school. The building compresses two sanctuary and a temple of terrifying deity. The sanctuary on the ground floor contains the statue of the past , present , and the future Buddha and three clay statues probably dating to the end of the 15th century. On the upper floor, the vestibule contains two remarkable paintings of Guru Rinpochhe’s heaven and the Buddha Amitabha’s heaven.

Day 6
Day 6 | Jambay Lhakhang Drup

After your breakfast drive to Jambay Lhakhang and withes ‘Tshechu’. This is a great opportunity to mingle with the Bhutanese crowed and so to enjoy their happy company. Throughout the day there will be mask dance and the Buddhist ceremonies. People come from all around to attend and exchange gossip, look for marriage partner, pick up merit in the search of escaping the wheel of life or perhaps just to have thoroughly good time with the friends.

Day 7
Day 7 | Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Festival)

In the morning continue with the festival and after lunch visit KURJE LAKHANG, located further along the valley, Kurje Lhakhang compresses three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face, where Guru Rinpochhe meditated in the 8th century. The middle temple was built on the site of a cave containing with the rock imprint of Gurus body, and is therefore, considered to be the most holy . The temple on the left was built by the Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Choden in 1990. This three temples are surrounded by 108 chorten walls. If time permits drive further east of Bumthang to visit the MEMBAR TSHO ‘ the burning lake’. In the evening after your early dinner drive to Jambay Lhakhang to witness the night necked mask dance. The festival of Jambay Lhakhang is well known because of this dance that performed at night. Enjoy the dance.

Day 8
Day 8 | Bumthang – Phobjikha Valley

Today you will be driving to Gangtay, the winter home land of black-necked crane there. In Gangtay you can either rest in the peaceful vicinity of the lodge, or there a plenty of local walks, including bird watching and the visit to gompa which overlooks the valley. GANGTAY GOMPA, in the mountains east of Wangdue Phodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slope of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtay, established in 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few Km. down from the monastery on the valley floor. This quite remote valley is the winter home for the Black Necked Cranes, which migrates from the arid of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate BLACK NECKED CRANE CENTRE, visit the Black Necked Crane Centre, though you might not be on a Crane season, you will get a loads of information about the crane, even a short 3-4 minute documentary will be available regarding the Black Necked Crane.

Day 9
Day 9 | Phobjikha Valley - Paro

After breakfast, drive through upper Punakha valley passing through farmhouses and take a leisure walk through farmhouses and then through nature to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten temple built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. The leisurely walk up to the temple would take about 1 hour. Visit the temple and also enjoy the breathtaking view from there.

After lunch,drive back to Paro. After a refreshment drive up the valley to visit the historic Drukgyel Dzong which was built in the 16th century to mark the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan invaders.

Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 10
Day 10 | Paro Taktshang Hike

TAKTSANG GOMPA, it is now time to embark on your somewhat arduous adventure for the day ascending the 3000 ft cliff reach the most spectacularly located Gompa in all of Bhutan. According to the legend Guru Padmasambhava visited the site in 8th century flying from the East of the country on the back of a tigress( a form that one of his consorts is believed to have taken). He meditated for three months in the cave here and then domining his terrifying form of Dorli Droloe subjugiated the evil spirits. Following him many permanent saints came here to meditate; notably Milarepa, Labdoenma and Thongtong Gyalpo. Today, Taktsang is more a holy place in the country. KYICHU LHAKHANG, go back in time and history and visit the 7th century Kyichu lhakhang. As the name suggest, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel peace here. Next to the temple is a house now turned into museum dedicated to the late Delgo Khyentse Rinpochhe. One can come across photographs and other artifacts belonging to Rinpochhe.

Day 11
Day 11 | Depart Bhutan

After breakfast,your tour guide from Access Bhutan Tours will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward journey.

End of Tour Program

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Bhutan Government Royalty of US$ 65/person/night
  • FIT surcharges of US$40/person/night for a single traveler and US$30/person/night for a double
  • Twin sharing hotel rooms at 3 star hotels
  • All meals ( breakfast, lunch, dinner & light refreshments) with standard menu at 3 star hotels
  • English speaking tour guide service
  • All transfers and excursions by private vehicles
  • All entrance fees to museums and monuments
  • All internal taxes and fees
  • Mineral drinking water

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Fee of US$20/person for Mules/horse ride to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Optional)
  • Single room supplement of US$ 50/room/night (optional)
  • Bhutanese Visa fee of US$40/person (must be paid in advance with tour cost)
  • Airfares (optional)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • 4 star and 5 star accommodations and meals (optional)
  • Other personal expenses like overseas calls, laundry,etc

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 24 - 26 October 2018
  • Bhutan
  • Paro
  • All meals including evening tea with snacks and also bottled water in the vehicles
  • 4 star hotels mostly, but good 3 star hotel in Punakha

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