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Follow Your Bliss - A Yoga Retreat to the Happiest Place on Earth - Bhutan


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Retreat Overview - 7 nights / 8 days

Sept 30th DAY 1: ARRIVE PARO (2280m)  DRIVE TO THIMPHU

Oct 1st DAY 2: THIMPHU

Oct 2nd DAY 3: PUNAKHA (1300m)

Oct 3rd DAY 4: PUNAKHA (1310M) 

Oct 4th DAY 5: PARO (2250 m)

Oct 5th DAY 6: PARO (2250 m)

Oct 6th DAY 7: PARO (2250m)

Oct 7th DAY 8: Departure Paro International Airport

DAY 1: ARRIVE PARO (2280m) DRIVE TO THIMPHU: 65KM/APPROX 1HR

Flying into Paro is one of the most spectacular flights one can experience. While descending into Paro valley, on a clear day sky you will be greeted by the world’s highest peaks, including Everest. The flight during autumn is absolutely beautiful. As the flight gets closer to the only international airport in Bhutan, you will see the Paro Dzong(fortress) on the hillside overlooking Paro valley, with Ta Dzong, which now is the National Museum. Upon your arrival, we will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

The first stop will allow you to view the magnificent Tacho Lhakhang, The hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder. After the visit we drive further to reach Chuzom, the confluence of Paro Chu (River) and Wang Chu (Thimphu Chu) after crossing Chuzom we enter Thimphu valley and drive up to Kuenselphodrang (Giant Bronze Buddha Statue). Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue under construction in the mountains of Bhutan. The statue will house over one lakh (one hundred thousand) smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, will be made of bronze and gilded in gold. The Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu.

We will head to the hotel for a grounding, post-travel Yoga practice with chakra healing sound bowls and chakra meditation. 

After dinner, choose to either rest or stroll the night market.

DAY 2: THIMPHU

6.30 - 9.00am - Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga (Chanting) and Meditation 

After breakfast , visit Pangri Zampa, dyllically located in the middle of a meadow, not far from the river, a 20-minute drive from the lodge on the way to Tango and Cheri monasteries. The temple appeared in Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s vision which directed him from Tibet to Bhutan. The temple was built by Ngawang Choegyel, the great-grandfather of the Zhabdrung, and was the Zhabdrung’s residence when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616. Today, the temple is used as an astrologer's centre of the state clergy, and is the home to around 100 monks studying astrology. During a visit Pangri Zampa you can learn more about astrology, and also have your personal reading done.

Tango Hike - Tango is a beautiful temple, which is easy to reach. The hike all the way up to Tango Dzongkha, a meditation retreat, is more challenging but will reward you with great views over Thimphu and Punakha valleys on clear days.  

Cheri Hike - Cheri Monastery is located 15 km drive north of Thimphu Valley. From a point you need to hike uphill of nearly 30-45 minutes.  You need to cross an old traditional bridge made of wood and stones. Cheri Monastery was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal(The founder of Bhutan). The monastery is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu sect. The Monastery serves as the monastic school for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and many other Buddhist studies.                                                                                                                     

Head back to the hotel for evening Yin and Restorative Yoga followed by dinner. 

Optional after dinner Satsang - Daily reflection, mantra Yoga (chanting), meditation and aarti - sacred light offering.

DAY 3: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1300m): 77KM/APPROX 2 ½HR

6.30 - 9.00am - Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga (Chanting) and Meditation            

After breakfast, our journey continues as we head towards Punakha at 1300 m and a warmer region. Punakha is one of the richest agricultural lands and is blessed with one of the biggest rivers in the country. En-route we will cross over Dochula pass at 3050 meters, and view the most dramatic panoramic view of the greater Himalayas. The Dochula landmark is the Wangyel Chortens – 108 stupas built on the mountaintop in a Mandala pattern, further enhances the beauty and tranquility of the pass. From this cooler mountain pass we will descend into a warmer region of Punakha. While we enter Punakha valley, we will stop for a visit at Chimmi Lhakhang the auspicious fertility temple, dedicated to the Tantric Buddhist Master Drukpa Kinley (Divine Madman). Depending on the season, one gets a glimpse of rural farming life and the rural architecture, decorated with beautifully painted motifs and patterns. 

Head back to the hotel for evening Yin and Restorative Yoga followed by dinner. 

Optional after dinner Satsang - Daily reflection, mantra Yoga (chanting), meditation and aarti - sacred light offering.

DAY 4: PUNAKHA 

6.30-9.00am - Morning Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga, Meditation 

After breakfast, we will travel up the valley north and cross the Mo Chu to hike up and pay respects to the grand Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, The Chorten is 30 meters (100 feet) tall and can be seen in the distance when driving.The three-levelled chorten took eight and a half years to build and was consecrated in 1999. Dedicated to the Fifth King, it was built to remove negative forces and to provide peace, stability, and harmony in an ever- changing world. It is therefore filled with every form of colorful protector imaginable. After the hike we will have a picnic lunch followed by a visit to the Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Lhakhang Nunnery and explore the beautiful statues of Avalokiteshvara, Gautama Buddha – the nunnery also acts as a centre of meditation.

Head back to the hotel for evening Yin/Restorative Yoga with healing sound bowls and Aarti followed by dinner. No evening satsang today.

DAY 5: PUNAKHA (1310M) – PARO (2250 m) Approx 4hr drive 142 KM

6.30-9.00am - Morning Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga, Meditation

After breakfast, the journey west takes us back to Paro valley following through Wang Chhu and Pa Chhu rivers. After a brief orientation tour of Paro’s main features, we enjoy a late lunch at a local Paro restaurant before checking in at the Hotel. Great day to check out the hotel's facilities and spa offerings.

Evening Gentle Flow and Yin Yoga

After dinner Satsang - Daily reflection, mantra Yoga (chanting), meditation and aarti - sacred light offering.

DAY 5: PARO (2250 m)

6.30-9.00am - Morning Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga, Meditation     

PARO EXPERIENCES

Paro Cultural Tour should always start with a casual browse through the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) of the Rinpung Dzong. In the Museum the intriguing collection of artifact serves as a great introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. The National Museum boasts a rich variety of exhibits collected from all over the country and belonging to different eras, some as early as 2000 B.C. A visit through the galleries shows the country’s transition from the later Stone Age to a modern Mahayana Buddhist kingdom. We will then stroll down to the Paro Dzong and take in the amazing architecture of this 17th century monument, a premier example of Bhutan's architecture. This fine example of Bhutanese architecture now serves as a central monastic and administrative seat of the Paro district. From the Dzong, a leisurely walk back into Paro town crosses the scenic Nyamai zampa, a unique model of Bhutan's traditional cantilever bridge.

Restorative Yoga with chakra healing sound bowls followed by dinner. No evening satsang today.                                                                        

DAY 6: PARO

6.30-9.00am - Morning Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga, Meditation   

After breakfast you will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which is built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. After this experience, we take a leisurely stroll in the town, visiting shops for some retail therapy.     

Head back to the hotel for an Evening Gentle Flow and Yin Yoga

After dinner Satsang - Kirtan (devotional chanting) and aarti - sacred light offering.

DAY 7: PARO

6.30-9.00am - Morning Pranayama, Yoga Asana, Mantra Yoga, Meditation  

We save the best for last! After breakfast, we continue to explore Paro valley with a hike to Taktsang - Tigers Nest monastery (4-5hrs hike). Tigers Nest or Taktshang Goempa is one of Bhutan's most revered monuments. It literally hangs off the face of a cliff 900 meters (2952 feet) above the valley floor. The legend states that Guru Rinpoche flew into Bhutan on a mythical tigress and meditated in a cave before bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The four-hour round trip hike offers spectacular views of the Goempa and the valley below. We end our Bhutan journey with a beautiful guided meditation at Tigers Nest Monastery.                                                                              

We return to the hotel for an evening of Restorative Yoga with chakra healing sound bowls followed by dinner. 

After dinner Satsang - Daily reflection, mantra Yoga (chanting), meditation and aarti - sacred light offering.

DAY 8: Departure Paro International Airport

After breakfast, an early morning transfer to Paro Airport for your onward flight.

Cost

Price includes:

All yoga, meditation and sound healing practices - 18 sessions 

All internal Taxes (10%) and service charges (10%).

Government royalty $ 65 per day per person.

All Bhutan accommodation in tourist 4* grade Hotel approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

All meals - 3 meals a day.

Service of professional and a licensed English speaking guide.

All internal transport airport transfers (Toyota Coaster bus)

Complimentary mineral or bottled drinking water throughout the trip.

All permits and museum entry fees throughout the trip.

Complimentary Culture Show at the farewell dinner.

Does not include:

All flights (*please see below for flight details)

Accommodation in Bangkok or New Delhi if necessary.

Bar bills

Laundry

Travel insurance

Other personal expenses

YOGIS ARE ADVISED TO BRING THEIR PERSONAL MAGIC MATS. THERE WILL BE SOME PROPS AT THE YOGA SHALAS AT THE HOTELS.

Early bird before May 1st 2018 (there are many logistical matters that need to be confirmed ASAP. Your early confirmation is very much appreciated)

Single occupancy - USD 3360

Double occupancy (twin sharing rooms) - USD 2990

After May 1st 2018

Single occupancy - USD 3860

Double occupancy - USD 3490

* All inbound flights to Paro on Druk Air. Please provide your full name so I may reserve your inbound flights to Paro either from Bangkok or New Delhi ASAP as October is considered peak tourist season. Payment of Paro inbound flight will be advised accordingly. All yogis are responsible for their inbound flights either to Bangkok or New Delhi. Please note the departure times for the Paro inbound flights below and ensure that you give yourself sufficient time for your flight. 

Sunday September 30th

Bangkok - Paro / 13:00 - 15:00 (est. USD398)

Sunday October 7th

Paro - Bangkok / 08:00 - 12:00 (est. USD388)


Sunday September 30th

New Delhi - Paro / 12:20 - 15:10 (est. USD306)

Sunday October 7th

Paro - New Delhi / 9:30 - 11:20 (est. USD337)

FOLLOW YOUR BLISS!!!