On arrival in Delhi, you will be Greeted and Escorted by our representative.
On arrival at hotel check in. (Room will be available from 1200 Hrs). In its 3000 years of existence; seven cities have risen where the present capital of India stands. Here you'll encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars exist beside a modern metropolis. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored.
Proceed to Old Delhi to visit the 17th century Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1650 and 1656, it can accommodate ten thousand pax at one time. Hop on a cycle rickshaw and traverse through the lanes of Chandni Chowk, the shopping center of old Delhi. Later drive past the Red Fort for a photo shot and visit Raj Ghat where Gandhi Ji was cremated. Afternoon proceed to New Delhi, built in a typically British colonial style with tree-lined avenues and colonial bungalows. See India Gate, the 42 m high War Memorial Arch. Drive past the Parliament House, the Secretariat buildings and the Vice Regal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India. You will also visit Qutab Minar – what was intended to be the most glorious tower of victory in the world and was to be the prototype of all minars in India. It was built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi in 1200 AD
After breakfast drive to Agra. Agra stands on the right bank of the river Yamuna, was once the seat of the Mughal rulers, the zenith of art and an en-shrined romance. A town famous for its beautiful medieval monuments. The passion of the Mughals for building endowed it with some of the loveliest buildings in the world. Agra Fort, situated on the west bank of the river Jamuna, made by the Mughal King Akbar in the 16th century and completed by his grandson Shah Jahan, who was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb for 8 years in this fort, before his death.
at the sunrise, visit the world famous monument of India the Taj Mahal* (1631-1653), a poem in white marble, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14 child. It employed 20,000 workers from the Central Asia and Europe for 22 years to construct this extravagant monument of love, inlaying the white marble edifice with precious and semi precious stones. (*Taj Mahal remains closed on Fridays.)
Later drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel.
Optional: Visit Fatehpur Sikri, the beautiful and deserted medieval city built by Akbar the Great in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire. The complex consists of religious, residential and administrative buildings. The Mosque is considered a copy for the Mosque at Mecca and is extremely elegant, containing elements of Hindu and Persian design. Housed here is the Shrine of Sheikh Salim Chisti one of the greatest of Sufi saints of the Muslim world.
After breakfast, enjoy the full day visit of Jaipur City including the following:
Amber Fort: The Amber Fort was built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. It gives extensive views over a deep narrow valley and the wider plains beyond. The Fort was completed in the early18th century, it was was once, the capital of the Mina tribes, believed to be the original inhabitants of this region. Drive past the palace of wind (Hawa Mahal) with 953 windows and niches which were made so that ladies of royal family could see the procession and events in the city without being visible to the people. In the evening enjoy Aarti Ceremony in Birla Mandir. “Aarti” is a very auspicious Hindu ritual in which we offer our prayers (traditional hindi song) to God.
Optional visit City Palace & Jantar Mantar: City Palace occupies the center of Jaipur. It now houses the Royal residence and museums with collections of textiles and costumes, armoury, manuscripts, paintings etc. Jantar Mantar (Royal Observatory): It was built (1728-34) by king astrologer Jai Singh II. The instruments are built of stone with marble facing on the important plains for measuring the harmony of the heavens. Each instrument serves a particular function and each gives an accurate reading.
After breakfast drive to Delhi. On arrival check in at your hotel. Day at leisure.
Optional: Kingdom of dream show: The ultimate entertainment and leisure destination, sprawling across acres of land, is the magnificent Kingdom of Dreams. Here, the carnival that is India is distilled into one iconic destination. This fabulous Kingdom brings to life a blend of India's art, culture, heritage, craft, cuisine and performing art...all with the technological wizardry of today. Nautanki Mahal: showcasing an extravagant cinematic and theatrical musical. Culture Gully: an elaborate culture, arts, crafts and food boulevard.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Kathmandu airport to board flight for Paro. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. On arrival in Paro, drive to Thimpu. Thimphu (at 2300m) is Bhutan's capital city and center of government, religion and commerce. About two hours drive east from Paro is this a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions.
Tashichho Dzong: This fortress serves as the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations. It also is the headquarters for central monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan's spiritual leader Je-Khenpo and the monks of both Thimphu and Punakha reside here during summer. It is also the venue for Thimphu Festival in the fall season. Memorial Chorten: This white and tall landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country . Paper Factory: Traditional papers were made from the daphne plant, using simple methods. Like rice papers, these papers are said to last longer. Sangaygang View Point (Telecom Tower): There's a wonderful view of Thimphu valley from the hillside below the telecommunications tower (elevation 2685m), high above the town at the end of a road that branches off from the approach to the youth centre.
After breakfast, we will drive towards northern end of the valley for about 20 minutes to get started for an exciting walk to Cheri Gompa (monastery). This is a pleasant rural walk, gently up a valley through paddy fields and woodland via a Tibetan village. The walk commences at the junction just before the village of Dechencholing. Walk through the village along the track to Pangri Zampa gompa, by the river. The route passes Tibetan village, through paddy fields, past chortens and the village of Choku to Begana (also known as Dodena). From Dodena, after crossing the cantilevered bridge, it is another 30-45 minutes steep climb up hill. Cheri Dorji Dhen was first built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan, who also established the first order of monks here. It is usually possible to enter Cheri courtyard, but may not be allowed to visit the shrines inside. Descend to the bottom of the hill, where your transport arrives to take you back to Thimphu.
In the morning you drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at Dochu La Pass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied –ever changing forest, finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley.
Afternoon visit one of the most impressive Punakha Dzong and later hike to the Chimi lhakhang – the temple of Divine Madman. Punakha: (sometimes Wangdue) are two separate districts, but they are located in one valley (20km - 1½ hr drive apart). The accommodations may be in either one of these two towns but sightseeing generally include visit to both places. Punakha and Wangdue are located at a lower elevation (approx. 1,250m above sea level) and they have pleasant winters.
Chimi Lhakhang: was built by lama Drukpa Kunley in 1499. He subdued the demoness of the Dochu la with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom.’ A wooden effigy of the Lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the Lhakhang, and childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint.
After breakfast drive west via dochula pass 3080 m, weather permitting enjoy the Bhutan Himalaya peaks above 7000 mts. Continue driving to Paro for another 1 hour.
Kichu Lhakhang: Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across Tibet and the Himalayas, which was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples in a single day to pin the ogress to the earth forever in 659AD. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans at key points.
Paro Rinpung Dzong: Rinphung Dzong was consecrated in 1645 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal on the site of smaller fort. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries it served as a bastion against invasion from the north. It is regarded as one of the finest Bhutanese architecture - with intricate wood work, large beams slotted into each other and held together without nails. In it houses the giant 30m X 45m Thangka (Thongdrol), commissioned in mid 18th century, displayed on the last day of Paro Tsechu festival.
In the morning hike to the Tiger’s nest. You can also take a pony ride to halfway to the most highlighted Buddhist temple in entire Himalayas. Taktshang - Tiger's Nest: Tiger's Lair or Tiger's Nest as it often referred to for Taktshang Pelphung monastery, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 900m cliff above the floor of Paro valley. It is an impressive and un-miss-able sight but accessible only by walk or to ride mules/pony. If you need the riding horse, you must ask your local guide to arrange it on the previous day. From the trail head (2600m), the walk till the Cafeteria is a steep one hour uphill (about 350m ascent).
For those who wish to proceed further from here, one must be able to walk. Usually Ponies/horses will not take people beyond this point and neither will they take you downhill. From the cafeteria, trail continues uphill for another 45 minutes to a high observation point (3140m) where there is a Chorten (stupa).
Drukgyel Dzong: A Drukgyal Dzong ruin is located 14kms north of Paro town, near the end of the paved road. Drukgyal Dzong (victories fortress) was built around 1644-49 to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan-Mongol forces. It was later burnt in fire accident in 1951. On a clear day, Mt. Jumolhari, Bhutan's holy peak is seen against its backdrop. Overnight in Hotel, Paro
DAY 12 : END OF ITINERARY
After breakfast you will be transferred to Paro airport to board flight for onward journey.