12 Days
Duration
Walking Tours
Level
May 9 – 20, 2022
Dates

Snowpeaks, Yaks and Alpine flowers!   Spring is a gloriously lovely season in the Himalayas, when the earth renews its exuberant life and flowers bloom everywhere.   This is the moment you’ve all been waiting all winter for!  Spring is finally here!  Even the winter of pandemics is gone. And it is time to re-live and to enjoy the warmth of life.  This is the time when Nature recoups and rejuvenates and is one of the best times to visit the kingdom.  A bouquet of fragrance and visual delight, spring is a rainbow of colours and a sweetness of smells, where flowers bloom, skies are blue, birds return, and animals come out from their winter hibernation with newborns in tow.

And it’s time to bless the Yaks.  The Ura Yakchoe is an annual festival observed by the Ura Dozhi or Makrong village. A local village affair, it is said to have started as a commemoration of Guru Rinpoche’s arrival in the village to help residents overcome an epidemic. The main part of the festival is comprised of few  days of public performances.  Sacred mask dances, folk dances, a thongdrol display, and a religious ceremony that forms the core part of the festival, as well as a tradition of making rounds to local homes for alcohol and food. Oral accounts relay the festival’s historical origins and evolution, spiritual and religious significance, cultural traditions, and a distinctive socio-economic system of organisation and management. As a community cultural practice, Ura Yakchoe is a special event employed in the transmission of cultural ideas, values, knowledge, skills and stories from one generation to the other.

Your Yakchoe festival trip will begin with an exploration of the balmy and peaceful Punakha Valley the ancient capital.  From there on you will travel through the Black Mountains into the beautiful valleys of Bumthang and then on to the remote valley of  Ura where the annual festival and blessing of the Yaks take place.   After spending a few days at the valley and the festival, you will then head back and stop at the high alpine valley of the Phobjhika valley— the only glacial valley in the kingdom… then proceed to discover the mountain-rimmed capital of Thimphu before heading back to the charming beautiful valley of Paro.  Once here continue your exploration as you go on a hiking exploration of the Chelela Ridge with its spectacular mountain views and spring flowers, and finally a pilgrimage hike to the Tiger’s Nest, one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan Buddhist universe.

Bhutan is one of the last remaining pristine ecosystems left on earth. The producer and director of The Living Edens said “If there is any country on earth that qualifies as an Eden – not just in part but in its entirety – I believe it is Bhutan.”