Jumolhari Mountain Festival
13Days | 12Nights
26 Feb - 10 March
2 - 4 March, 2020
A Highlanders' Life Style Mesmerization
Jumolhari Mountain Festival, held in October, is an exquisite event that unfolds at the base of Mt. Jumolhari which is close to the Northern Tibet border. The objective of the festival is to celebrate the snow leopard and raise awareness on the importance of its conservation. This region is assigned as one of the main habitats for this endangered cat in Bhutan.
It is a joyous event where highlanders from four different communities, Soe, Yaksa, Nubri and Lingshi, gather to commemorate their rich culture, tradition and unique livelihood by means of cultural performances, traditional activities such as dart and horse riding and also sampling of their delicacies.
Revere this unique culture with the locals with a magnificent backdrop of Mt. Jumolhari.
Day 1 – Feb 26, Wednesday: Arrive Paro
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peak in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our guide. Visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the traditional wooden bridge. In the evening, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Walking around the market and meeting with the people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 2 – Feb 27, Thursday: Paro Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, Bhutan’s most famous monastery, which stands at 3180m. The hike helps you acclimatize for the next day’s trek. The 8th century Spiritual Master, Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. Explore the Monastery hike back to Paro. In the evening you can explore Paro Town. Overnight hotel in Paro
Day 3 – Feb 28, Friday: Paro to Shana
The trek starts from Drugyal Dzong at 2300m with a downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail climbs gently traversing through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. The route later enters an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m. This is the last stop before Tibet. At 2,850m, just beyond Shana Zampa, there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees. Camp at an altitude of 2850m.
Day 4 – Feb 29, Saturday: Shana to Thangthangkha
The trail again follows Pa Chhu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch, follow the river climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, reaching to the campsite at the altitude of 3750m.
Day 5 – March 1, Sunday: Thangthangkha to Jangothang
The path ascends for a while until you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning view of surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp. A short walk into the valley will take you to the camp at Jangothang at an altitude of 4,100m. From here, the view of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Day 6 and 7 – March 2 – 4, Mon & Wed: Jomolhari Mountain Festival
You will witness the Mountain Festival for two days. The celebration commences with a welcome dance and local song by the Soe community. The stalls will then be opened allowing you to walk around and witness the exhibition made by the local communities. This will then be followed by a yak and horse show. Yak riding, horse riding, Khuru and shotput contests will begin after lunch. A play about the conservation of Snow leopards and a snow leopard dance will also be performed. You will then hike back to the Jangothang base camp in the evening.
On the 2nd day, you will partake in a trek in Soe guided by the locals. After lunch, you can watch the various folk performances and experience the traditional handicrafts showcase of these local communities. Hike back to Jangothang base camp after dinner.
Day 8 – March 5, Thursday: Jangothang to Lingshi
The trail follows the stream or half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang. Then Walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4830m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Camp at an altitude of 4010m.
Day 9 – March 6, Friday: Lingshi to Shodu
The Laya Gasa route leaves the Jumolhari trek here. The trek route climbs towards a small white Chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chhu valley. The trail stays on the west side of the largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above Mo Chhu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli La pass (4,820m). From the pass, on a clear day, you can see Jumolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tshering Gang and Masang Gang. Descend alongside a stream to a shelter, and then further downstream to a camp at Shodu (4,100m), a meadow with a Chorten.
Day 10 – March 7, Saturday: Shodu to Barshong to Domshisa
Today you will come back to tree line. The path follows Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. You will be able to see stunning views of rocky cliffs and waterfalls. You can rest by the riverside and enjoy a hot meal. After lunch you will gradually ascend to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Continue to your campsite near a river, Domshisa which is at 3,400m.
Day 11 – March 8, Sunday: Domshisa to Dodena to Thimphu
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, and then ascends till you meet the dirt road. Walk along the dirt road for a while and then descend keeping Thimchu River on the left. You will be picked up by a car for transfer to Thimphu for a night halt. Enjoy a nice warm shower and relax in hotel.
Day 12 – March 9, Monday: Thimphu
Morning, you will visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Folk Heritage Museum and the world’s tallest Buddha statue at Kuenselphodrang made of bronze measuring 169 ft. Afternoon, you will visit Trashichhodzong and eveving is a free time to relax in the hotel or to stroll in Thimphu City. You can spend time visiting handicraft stores for souvenir shopping. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 13 – March 10, Tuesday: Thimphu to Paro departure
Morning, drive to the Paro airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.