Bhutan Festival Odysseys

Haa Festival Odyssey - July 8-17, 2021

Odyssey of the Black-Necked Crane - November 6-15, 2021

Above dates are tentative due to COVID-19 pandemic

Tshechu-Religious Festivals of Bhutan

Attendance at a Tsechu or religious festival in Bhutan allows for an immersion into an ancient oral tradition that weaves in Bhutanese values, mythology and spiritual traditions through dramatic dance. The local people dress in their finest clothing to celebrate and receive blessings. Rituals and rare masked sword dances are performed with traditional musical instruments in the Dzong or monastery and typically honor Guru Padmasambhava who brought Buddism to Bhutan from Tibet in the 8th century. This is a very special time to be in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.


Children of Bhutan
Kingdom of Happiness

When the Bhutanese speak of happiness, they are perhaps speaking more of the process of creating conditions for contentment. Contentment does not come from GDP.

Happiness- thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened, happiness never decreases by being shared.

The Buddha
Rice paddies and flowers
Sacred Landscape

Bhutan has the stunning beauty of the Himalaya mountains with an abundance of rivers, verdant valleys with rice paddies, and jungles in the southern area of the country. Bhutan has a committment to keeping the country with 72% forest cover.

Dakini sculpture in Bhutan
Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites

Pilgrimage to the many sacred sites in the Himalyas incudes the journey as well as the destination. Some are Buddhist temples and others are located in caves or rivers that have a special spiritual significance.

May all embodied beings hear the sound of dharma without cessation from the birds and the trees and from lights and the sky.

Shantideva
Sacred art of Bhutan
Buddhist Wisdom

Bhutan has remained loyal to its Buddhist cultural and spiritual practices that were introduced by Guru Rinpoche in 737. There are over 2000 ancient Buddhist monasteries with beautiful Buddhist iconography scattered throughout the country.

Approach what you find repulsive, help the ones you think you cannot help, and go to the places that scare you.

Festival Odysseys

Haa Festival Odyssey

The 2 day colorful Haa festival honors Guru Rinpoche from the 8th century who brought Buddhism from Tibet to Bhutan. Beautiful masked dances are performed by the monks and lay people. The festival offers an experience to learn about the nomadic yak herders and high altitude farms of Bhutan, their lifestyle, culture, food and even the local brew, ara. Join the fun by dancing to local folk music and maybe even ridin a yak. The peaceful Haa valley has pristine forests and alpine flowers, including the white poppy that can only be found there.

Your odyssey will aslo include the hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery built in 1692, seeing many of the ancient heritage sites with their unique architecture and history, learning about the traditional crafts and exploring the towns of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha.

A detailed itinerary will be available soon.

Black-Necked Crane Festival

The endangered 4 ft tall black-necked crane migrates from the Tibetan Plateau to Bhutan’s Phobjikha Valley every fall and goes back to Tibet in the spring. They are seen circling the local Gangtey Monastery three times as if practicing the Buddhist kora or circumabulation. Bhutan mandates the protection of the birds. Local people venerge them, believing that birds symbolize peace, healthy crops and prosperity.

Monks at the ancient Gangtey Monastery organize the Black-Necked Crane festival every November, performing masked dances representing local deities. Children dress up in black and white costues and imitate the movement of the graceful cranes.

This odyssey also includes seeing many other ancient sites in Thimphu, Punaka and a hike to the Taktsang Monastery in Paro.

A detailed itinerary will be available soon.

Odyssey Details

Odyssey Includes

Cost includes lodging, land transportation, all meals in Bhutan and Sikkim, water, gentle early morning chair yoga and meditation, odyssey guide, local guide and driver, Bhutan visa. Small group experience, max 10 people.

Cost does not include: travel insurance, beverages other than water, gratuities to driver and guide, your fight from and return from Bangkok, Delhi or Kolkata into Bhutan on either Drukair or Bhutan Airlines. That flight cost is extra and needs to be arranged by the tour company in Bhutan. Please contact us for more information.

Festivals are very popular events. If you are interested in either of the festivals, I will need to have final payments, additional payment for Bhutan air travel and passport information 3-4 months before departure. Airfare and lodging needs to be arranged well ahead of the festival.

Haa Festival Odyssey

July 8-17, 2021

Cost:$TBD, per person with a minium of 4 people.

Odyssey of the Black Neck Crane Festival

November 6-15, 2021

Cost: $TBD per person with a minium of 4 people.

Cost for each festival odyssey is based on double occupancy, with limited single rooms at an additional cost. If you are willing to share but we are unable to pair you with a same-gender roommate, you will not be charged the single supplement fee.

Contact us if interested. A deposit of $500 will hold your place. Credit cards or checks are accepted. Read the terms and conditions and fill out the registration form.

Fill out the registration form.

Read and sign Terms and Conditions

HAA FESTIVAL ITINERARY

Tap or put your cursor over the Day in the itinerary and the box will open with all the information.

After a welcome by our local guide and orientation to your lodging,The Paro valley is famed for its natural beauty, historical monuments, and Bhutanese village communities. You will visit the National Museum and the Paro Rinpung Dzong, a fortress built in the 17th century to protect Paro valley, which offers you picturesque scenery and a sense of inner peace. Later, we will walk through Paro town. Overnight Paro
You will hike up to Taksang Monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest. Built in the 1600's, it hangs on a cliff with amazing views of the valley below. Your guide will explain that Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century, flew on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where the monastery now stands. The hiking is on a dirt path with some stairs that wanders through a forest with waterfalls along the way. The increase in elevation is about 2000 feet. It is about a 2.5 hour walk up and back. It is possible for you to ride a mule there for a small additional charge. The walk is not difficult and the monastery has a cafe to get refreshments and food. Later we can visit local people and experience a farm house in Paro. Overnight Paro
From Paro, we will take a 1 hour drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. After lunch, we will go to view the world’s largest Buddha overlooking the beautiful Thimphu Valley. The National Memorial Chorten was built in memory of third king of Bhutan and is dedicated to World Peace. Local people can be seen circumambulating it while saying prayers. We may also see the National Textile Museum and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. Overnight Thimphu
After breakfast, We will Drive for 2 hours to visit TSELUNG NYE is a place where Guru Rinpoche spent 4 months meditating, entrusting his hidden treasures to local guardians and dharma protectors. It is said that after meditating there, Guru Rinpoche met Tsepamey (god of longevity). “It’s believed that Tsepamey offered the tshey gi bumpa (vase of longevity) to Guru Rinpoche.” The place is as sacred as Daphu Maratika in Nepal.” . After lunch, We will visit Tandin Nye. It is one of the most sacred spots discovered by Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal as per the prophetic instruction of Guru Rinpoche. According to a local account, Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal spent 13 years in meditation at this place. Several imprints of Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal and other celestial beings seen on the rocks bear witness to this. Later, Guru Rinpoche blessed this place and concealed many ter (spiritual treasures). Some of these treasures had already been discovered by Terton Drukda Dorji in the 17th century, and some are yet to be discovered. Thus, Tamdrin Ney is equally rich and sacred as any place of pilgrimage blessed by Guru Rinpoche and Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal.  Overnight Thimphu
The new day begins with a delicious Bhutanese breakfast. After that, we will travel northeast to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. a 3 hour drive over Dochula Pass which offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range.  After lunch, we will visit Chimi L'hakhang Temple or the Fertility Temple built in 1499 and blessed by Buddhist leader Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Madman.” Drukpa Kunley, had an active bacchanal lifestyle full of women, poetry and sex. The phallus became Drupa Kunley’s symbol, indicating both fertility and the power to bring enlightenment. Overnight Punakha
After breakfast, we will go to the Punakha Dzong or fortress, located at the confluence of 2 major rivers, is the second largest and oldest in Bhutan and is a magnificent example of Bhutanese architecture. We will drive the same way back to Thimphu from Punakha. You can have a leisurely afternoon and evening in Thimphu. Overnight Thimphu
It will be a 3-4 hours’ drive from Thimphu to Haa, the festival site. The Haa Summer Festival is a lively and uplifting celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It gives the chance to witness the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. Tourists can play local sports, drink local liquor, taste home-cooked cuisine and enjoy traditional songs and dances.  Overnight Haa
In the morning, we will continue to enjoy the festival. In the afternoon, we will take a short trek to the 8th century temples such as Juneydrag, Katsho Goempa and Haa Goempa. Overnight Haa
Today we will head back to Paro from Haa. On the way you will pass through Chelela Pass (3,988m), the highest Pass in Bhutan. We will stop here to take photos of amazing view. Overnight Paro
July 17, 2020 - departure