HIGH IN THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS

9 Days Land Tour

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Nepal and Bhutan are in the Eastern Himalayas. Nepal has the world’s great mountain ranges and some of the most important Asian artistic traditions. Its neighbor Bhutan is exquisitely beautiful with Buddhist monasteries, fortresses, powerful rivers and exquisite crafts. Explore two of South Asia’s most distinctive cultures, both ancient and contemporary!

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu

On arrival in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of Pashupatinath (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and pilgrimage destination, overlooking the sacred Bagmati River sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Also visit Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Asia, surrounded by numerous “gompas” (monasteries). Overnight at Hotel Shangri-La or similar.

Day 2: Excursion to Patan and Bhaktapur

Morning sightseeing tour of Patan, the oldest settlement in the valley and a venerable city of bronzemakers and woodcarvers. See the town’s superior stone architecture in the Patan Durbar Square, Golden Temple and the Krishna Temple. Following lunch at a local restaurant, visit Bhaktapur, with an immense Pachpan Jhyaley Mahal (Palace of 55 Windows), residence of the former kings, located in Durbar Square. Also see the Big Bell, the stunningly exquisite Golden Gate, the five-tiered Nyatapola Temple, the Bhairab Temple and the wood carving and metal work museums in Dattaraya Square. Overnight at Hotel Shangri-La or similar.

Day 3: Durbar Square and Swayambhunath

Morning visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the ancient residence of Nepalese royalty, Hanuman Dhoka (The Monkey God’s Gate) Palace which also houses a museum. Hanuman Dhoka is surrounded by a plethora of temples, including the shrine of the Kumari, the virgin living goddess who several times a day will gracefully deign to come to her ornate first floor window to give audience. Nearby is the Kashtamandap temple, dedicated to Shiva and his son Ganesh (the god with the elephant head), and said to have been built from the wood of one single tree. End the tour with a visit to Swayambhunath, situated on a hill and representative of the hybrid Buddhist-Hindu practiced by the valley’s inhabitants. Rest of the day is at leisure (lunch on your own). Overnight at Hotel Shangri-La or similar.

Day 4: Fly to Paro and Drive to Thimpu

Optional One Hour Mountain Flight (subject to weather conditions): Early morning mountain flight to view the various mountains in Nepal from Langtang Range to Kanchanjunga Range with the main focus on Mount Everest.

Late morning flight to Paro and drive to Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the nation’s largest city and check into hotel. Overnight at Hotel Le Meridien or similar.

Thimphus Farmers Weekend Market (Friday – Sunday): is by far the largest domestic market of Bhutan. Farmers from all across the country bring their farm products to the market. It has also turned out to be one of the most favoured spots for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.

Day 5: Thimphu

Morning visit to an arts and crafts School, the Folk Heritage Museum, a traditional house that showcases rural life and the Changangkha Lhakhang constructed in the 15th century, one of the oldest temples in the Thimphu Valley and is dedicated to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist emanation of compassion. Lunch in the local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Memorial Chorten, which dominates the skyline of Thimphu, Motithang Takin Preserve which houses the takin, the national animal of Bhutan; the giant bronze statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, sitting atop Kuensel Phodrang with beautiful views across the Thimphu Valley. Overnight at hotel Le Meridien or similar.

Day 6: Punakha

Morning drive to Punakha crossing over the Dochu-La Pass (3100m) and visit the 108 memorial stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. Descend into Punakha Valley and visit the Chimi-Lakhang, the fertility temple dedicated to famous Buddhist Lama Drukpa Kunley. Lunch in the local restaurant and check into hotel. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until the 1960s, and still retains the serene aura of its regal past. Afternoon visit to the Punakha Dzong standing on an island between the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. The dzong is joined to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and serves as the winter home of the monastic body. Overnight at hotel Dhensa Resort or similar.

Day 7: Paro

Drive to Paro and lunch at a local restaurant and check into hotel. Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. Afternoon visit the National Museum with its collection of arts relics, Thangkha paintings and history collection; and Rinpung Dzong, the “fortress of the heap of Jewels,” built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on a hill above the township. Walk over the historic cantilever bridge and free time in Paro. Overnight at Hotel Zhiwaling or similar.

Day 8: Taktsang

After breakfast, hike through pine forests festooned with Spanish moss to reach to the striking monastic retreat of Paro Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest,” built into a sheer cliff face above the forested Paro Valley. This is the most famous temple in Bhutan and one of the venerated Himalayan pilgrimages because Padmasambhava, the 8th century Buddhist saint and teacher, is thought to have landed at this spot after flying over the mountains from Tibet on the back of a tigress to bring Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. Enjoy our lunch en route at a teahouse midway with fantastic views of the monastery. Overnight at Hotel Zhiwaling or similar.

Day 9: Fly to Kolkata to Embark the Ganges Voyager

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board Druk Air’s flight to Kolkata and join the ship for the Ganges cruise.

Contact Information

E-mail: info@gangesvoyager.com

Heritage River Journeys Pvt. Ltd.
Office No. 7, Second Floor, Local Shopping Centre
Vasant Arcade, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110 070
Telephone +91.11.2612.4069 or 4070