Shigatse, at an altitude of 3900 metres, is Tibets second largest city, with a population of over 50 000. It is the administrative centre of a vast area which includes most of west-central Tibet.
Shigatse stands near the confluence of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu rivers. The flows build a broad and beautiful valley 100 kilometers long.Shigatse, also called Xigatse which means "fertile land" is one of Tibet's richest farming areas. Barley, rape, wheat, beans and many varieties of vegetables color the valley with all shades of green in summer, and with bright yellow patches in June and July, when the rape flower is in bloom.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF SHIGATSE:
The Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of Lord Buddha. Items of interest inside this monastery are: the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya and a incredible collection of thangkas, frescoes and statues. In the second week of the 5th lunar month (around June/July), Tashilhunpo Monastery is the scene of a 3 days festival and a huge thangka is displayed.
The imposing castle, Samdrubtse Dzong or "Shigatse Dzong", was built in the 15th century. It was totally dismantled, rock by rock, by hundreds of Tibetans at the instigation of the Chinese in 1961. It was previously the seat of the kings of Ü-Tsang and the capital of the province of Ü-Tsang Tsang. The dzong was clearly taken as example when the Potala Palace was constructed in Lhasa.
Day 01: Arrive Paro
After being welcomed in the Paro International Airport, you are taken to Thimphu and transferred to your hotel for refreshing and resting.
Night in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu.
During all the day, you visit the highlights of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Your guide will bring you to the Traditional Painting School, the National Library and the Memorial Chorten. Today you also discover the Takin, the Bhutan national animal: a body of cow with a head of goat. At the end of the day, you enter into Tashichho Dzong.
Night in Thimphu.
Day 03: Wangdue Phodrang-Punakha
After three hours driving, you arrive in Wangdue Phodrang and its Dzong located at the top of a hill.
After Wangdue you are taken to the Dzong of Punakha, on the banks of a river. This fortress is said to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan.
Night in Punakha.
Day 04: Paro
Today, five hours driving bring you back to Paro. This city is the home of the only airport of the country. The rest of the day is used to visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum.
Night in Paro.
Day 05: Taktsang
Today is an excursion day to Taktsang also called Tiger's Nest. This hike leads to a monastery hanged to the rock of a hill. It is one of the main highlights of Bhutan.
Night in Paro
Day 06: Departure
You are transferred to the airport for your final departure.
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