meditation

Meditation in the Sacred Country of Bhutan

Tour Dutation – 11 nights and 12 days

Meditation

Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content or as an end in itself.

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way—for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of that training.

 Buddhism

The Buddhist way of life of peace, loving kindness and wisdom is just as relevant today as it was in the past. Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind, and that all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states of mind. He taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we learn to experience lasting peace and happiness.

Buddhism is the major religion in Bhutan. Vajrayana Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan, and Buddhists comprise two-thirds to three-quarters and Hinduism one-quarter of its population. Although the Buddhism practiced in Bhutan originated in Tibetan Buddhism, it differs significantly in its rituals, liturgy, and monastic organization. The state religion has long been supported financially by the government through annual subsidies to Buddhist monastery, shrines, monks, and nuns. Buddhists constitute the majority of society and are assured an influential voice in public policy.

As one of the last strongholds of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and mediation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries and monastic schools.

(Colorful Bhutan will also arrange private monasteries and spiritual master to discuss and talk about the importance of meditation)

Detailed Itinerary-

Day 01 Paro – Thimphu – After you arrive in Paro international airport, you will be received by our representative from Colorful Bhutan Travels.

The flight into Paro on Druk Air/Bhutan airlines (only international flight) is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of Bhutan. If the weather is clear you can see magnificent views of the peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land on arrival at Paro international airport.

We will be then driving toward Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. After checking into the hotel you can take some time to rest. After lunch we will visit Buddha Point (KuenselPhodrang): Another place from where you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley is from the Buddha point. It is a short drive from the town. You can pay your obeisance and offer to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk and take a glimpse of the valley

Overnight at the hotel at Thimphu

Day 02 – Thimphu – Thimphu

After breakfast we will Visit National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in the memory of our Third king H.M Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wished to build a monument to world peace and prosperity, died before his plan came to fruition. However the Royal family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes. Then we will Visit Folk Heritage Museum: it is a restored three-story traditional rammed mud and timber that resembles the rural household in the Thimphu area during the mid-19th century, domestic tools equipment that were used by rural families of that period and also provides you a glimpse of lifestyle, items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households.

Later after lunch we drive towards north of Thimphu and visit the Takin Perserve. It is a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free. The reason for declaring Takin as a national animal of Bhutan is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lam Drukpa Kinley, famously known as Divine Mad Man. Then will be visiting The National Institute of Zorig Chusum: is the center for Bhutanese Art education. It was set up by the Government of Bhutan with the sole objective of preserving the rich culture and tradition of Bhutan and training students in all the traditional arts forms. The curricula cover a comprehensive course of drawing, painting, wood and slate craving, embroidery, sculptures, weaving and paper making.

Later in the Evening we will visit the Fortress of Glorious Religion (Trashicho Dzong) which houses the office of His Majesty the King and the Chief Abbot.

Overnight at Thimphu

Day 03 & 4– Thimphu – Thimphu

Cheri Monastery- Morning drive 30 minute we will stop at a small town called Dechencholing where we will meet a master who is highly qualified in Buddhism Philosophy and he will preach about the importance of Meditation. Later after lunch (hot lunch will be served at a good picnic spot) we will hike to Tango monastery it was built in 12 century, that hold the Buddhist University in Bhutan and Cheri monastery it was built in 16 century by Zhabdrung. This both hiking is very scenic of the nature. We will also interact with monks who all are studying at Tango Monastery.

 Overnight at meditation house above the Cheri monastery.

Day 5Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue

After breakfast process to Punakha about 3 hours’ drive through beautiful forests of rhododendron and fields of dwarf bamboo breathtaking scenery of the landscape, green meadows, beautiful wildflowers, gushing waterfalls and constantly changing vegetation. About 45 min from Thimphu, lies Dochula pass (3,100m), offering visitors their first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan range. There you will see spectacular view 108 stupa or chorten at the Dochula pass. From the pass have panoramic view of the eastern Himalayan peaks over 6000m to 7554m snow Cap Mountains. We will spend some time at Dochula pass where if you wish to Meditate at the recently constructed meditation house.

After pass descent down to low lying sub-tropical valley, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is home of Chief Abbot in winter months. Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendor. On the way to Punakha hike about 1 hour round trip to (Drupa Kuenly) Divine monastery it was built in 15 century.

Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong.

Overnight at the hotel at Punakha

Day 6 – Punakha – Gangtay

After breakfast we proceed onward to Gangtey valley which is about 3 to 4 hours’ drive. We will be stopping for lunch on the way. Upon reaching Gangtay valley will visit Gangtay monastery. It is an important monastery of Nyingmapa School of Buddhism. The monastery’s history traces to the early 17th century and back to the prophecies made by the well-known Terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa in the late 15th Century. After the monastery we will start our Gangtay Natural Trail Hike. The hike is a pleasurable walk which will give you a nice feel of Phobjikha valley after a long drive. From the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, you head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from there through beautiful forests and into the open valley. The trail ends at the local community school after passing a chorten and Khewang Lhakhang.

Overnight at Gangtay

Day 7 – Gangtay – Thimphu

After breakfast we will visit the crane center. It has information that displays about the endangered Black-necked cranes and the valley environment. You can use the center’s powerful spotting scopes and check what you see against its pamphlet field guide to crane behavior.

Then we will be driving all the way back to Thimphu. The drive today will take about 7 to 8 hours. We will be stopping for lunch on the way. We will stop at Dochula pass for few minutes for pit stop or for a cup of tea/coffee.

Note: cranes are found only in the month of late October till mid-March.

Overnight at Thimphu

Day 8– 9Paro – Paro

After breakfast, hike full day excursion to the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery, drive 20 minute and hike to Taktsang monastery which takes about 3hrs, Follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the site of the famous Tiger’s nest, the Taksang Monastery, t-tragically wrecked in a fire early in 1998, rebuilt, it is perched some 1000m/3,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley. It was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D.

Overnight at Meditation house nearby monastery.

Day 10– Paro – Paro

Morning hike back to paro and check into the hotel. Than have leisure time.

Later in the evening we will arrange a Cultural Show. You will be witnessing our traditional folk dances and also mask dances which are usually performed during the famous festival called Tshechu here in Bhutan. Colorful Bhutan Travels arranges cultural show for their clients to take back home not only the memories of natural beauty of the kingdom of Bhutan but also some memories of our unique culture (songs and Dances) and traditions which you may cherish throughout your life.

We will also try Hot stone Bath tonight before the Cultural Show Program.

Overnight at Paro

.Day 11 Paro – Drakarpo

Morning drive 30 minute from hotel and hike one to Drakarpo visit the temple; there you can see the meditation cave of Guru Rimpoche. You can spend some hour with meditations. Later we will visit Paro National Museum. It was established in 1968, in the renovated ancient Ta-dzong building under the command of His Majesty, the king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. It houses for some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and painting. Suitable galleries were constructed to house the extensive collections. The works of art is elegantly displayed on scientific lines. After the museum we will visit Paro Rinpung Dzong. Under the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal the dzong was built in 1646 and it was established as administrative and monastic centre of the western region and it became known as Rinpung Dzong (meaning Heap of Jewels). The dzong is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.

Overnight at Paro

Day 12 Paro – Outbound Journey

Early breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

Cost Inclusion

  1. All meals – American plan include
  2. English Speaking Guide for the tour
  3. All Entrance Fess of all Places of interest
  4. Internal Transport within Tour Activity: Cultural/Hiking
  5. Accommodations – minimum of 3* hotels or resorts
  6. All Government Taxes

Cost Exclusion

  1. Air fare
  2. Travel Insurance
  3. Laundry Services
  4. Shopping and Telephone services
  5. Tipping for service providers

Tour cancellation & refund policy

Tour Programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  • 45 days or more prior to arrival date in Bhutan– no charges
  • 45-30 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 20% of rate
  • 22– 29 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 30% of rate
  • 15-21 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 50% of rate
  • Less than 15 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – No Refund
  • An Administration fee of USD75 will be applicable for all cancelled tours

In the event of cancelled or shortened trips due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund will be made due to the company already having paid for hotels and other logistics.

No refund will be made for missed connections or no show at the airports.

Tashi Delek!