Bhutan is the only country in the world following Mahayana Buddhism in the form of Vajrayana, a kind of tantric Buddhism. The Buddhism practiced in the country today is a vibrant religion, rich with mystical customs and practices, is a stronghold of Bhutan’s culture, permeating every facet of the Bhutanese way of life. Travel to Bhutan to experience and absorb the influence of Buddhism and immerse in spiritual encounters and religious customs through experiential moments that will enlighten and enrich your life.
This unique travel selection is a tour of Bhutan’s most sacred temples and Buddhist sites that are revered by locals and enjoyed by tourists. Travelers will be guided to a selection of sacred sites in the districts of Paro, Punakha, Bumthang, and Thimphu. We have selected these sacred sites because of their religious and cultural significance, the accessibility of the locations, and their popularity with tourists. At each location, you will be informed of the history of the site as well as ancient tales and folklore associated with the site by your guide and the site’s caretaker. In the occasion of visitations to temples and monasteries, you will have the opportunity to observe and participate in prayer and offering ceremonies that are usually conducted by the resident monks or nuns. We wish to engage you in simple rituals that entail paying respects to the guardian deities and offering one’s humble prayers for the benefit of all sentient beings as a way to evoke compassion and self-reflection.
In Paro, you will visit the Kyichu temple, Dumtse temple, Drugyel Dzong, and Taktsang (Tiger’s nest). Located on a cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley, Taktsang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. Legend states that Guru Rinpoche, the 8th-century Indian Buddhist master who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan, flew to the site on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it.
In Punakha, you will visit the Talo Nubgang Nunnery, and Chimi temple. Chimi temple is known widely as the temple of fertility as many childless women have been able to conceive after receiving the blessings from an artifact that belonged to the founding saint of the temple, Lam Drukpa Kinley, who is also known as the divine madman.
In Bumthang, you will visit the Jambay temple, Kurjey temple, Tsamshing temple, Thangbi monastery, and Mebar Tsho (The burning lake). Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it is related to the renowned religious treasure revealer (terton) Terton Pema Lingpa.
In Thimphu, you will visit the Simtokha fortress, Buddha Dordenma statue, and Changangkha temple. The Buddha Dordenma statue is a massive statue of Buddha Shakyamuni that measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world.
Your itinerary will also enable you to have some time to explore the main towns to enjoy local cuisine and handicraft shopping.