Textiles (“Thag-Zo”) and Cultural Highlights
Weaving • monasteries • festival
This special interest tour is a treat for textile aficionados. You will travel all the way from the buzzing West as far as Bumthang, the spiritual heartland. The various textile traditions in different parts of the country will run like a “read thread” through your journey.
Duration: 15 nights/ 16 days in Bhutan
Date: 23rd April – 8th May 2020 (in Bhutan)
Group size: up to 6 PAX
Karin Altmann’s Fabric of Life – Textile Art in Bhutan provides in-depth information on the role of textiles in Bhutanese life
This special interest tour is a treat for everyone who loves textiles. You will thoroughly explore textiles of the West as far as Bumthang valley. The various textile traditions will run like a “read thread” through your journey.
Cultural highlights and homestays
Despite the focus on textiles you will not be deprived of the most important highlights, Taktsang being one of them. Delve into the world of fabrics, threads and colors in various contexts of Bhutanese society: everyday village life, festivals and religious ceremonies. You will also visit the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu where the kingdom‘s textile traditions are mapped out. Precious garments and jewelry of the Royal collection are also on display here. Visit weaving studios, shops and art schools where textiles and fabrics are used for various purposes such as thangka stitching, embroidery and boot making. Finally, enjoy the heartfelt hospitality and delicious food during your homestay nights.
Begin your adventure with a visit to some of the cultural highlights and textile-related institutions in the capital Thimphu. Continue your journey to Punakha and participate in a dyeing-workshop with natural ingredients. In Trongsa take a detour to Langthel to visit the nettle weavers there, revived by the NGO Tarayana. In Bumthang finally, you will learn about the changing practice of sheep wool production, the important raw material for the well-known Bumthang yathra. Here a one-day weaving workshop with our textile expert Rinzin Wangmo awaits you. Finally, conclude your journey with a hike to Taktsang, the famous pilgrimage site in Paro.
Participate in a dyeing workshop at Gatshotang, Punakha with Aum Karma. You will gain insights into a variety of plants, roots and other materials that were used to color the beautiful Bhutanese textiles. Aum Karma was a famous weaver who also designed the wedding go of the 5th king.
Your tour package includes a day-long weaving workshop in Bumthang under the guidance of textile specialist Rinzin Wangmo. Each participant will work one-on-one with a weaver from the surrounding villages. Learn about material, patterns and weaving techniques.
Tshechu Festival (tentative)
Enjoy a visit to a tshechu, an annual religious festival where the locals wear their best garments decorated with beautiful jewelry. Witness the sacred dances, ʼcham, and marvel over the colorful costumes and masks of the performing monks.
DAY 1: Arrival at Paro
Activities depend on time of arrival, meet with Rinzin Wangmo over dinner, introduction
DAY 2: Paro Taktsang & to Thimphu
Thimphu sightseeing e.g. textile museum, boot house, fashion institute of technology, etc.
DAY 3: Thimphu
Choki art school, lunch at a weaver’s house, visit tailors and textile shops, thangkha painting
DAY 4: Thimphu
Kuenselphodrang Buddha statue, a visit at a fashion designer’s shop to see modern blending with traditional, more cultural sightseeing or shopping
DAY 5: Thimphu to Punakha
Early drive via Dochula (108 Chorten), hike to Lungchhutse and hoist prayer flags
DAY 6: Punakha (dyeing workshop)
Today visit Punakha Dzong and later walk to an idyllic cottage for a dyeing workshop with natural dye.
DAY 7: Punakha to Trongsa
Drive to Trongsa via Pele la and Chendibji Chorten
DAY 8: Trongsa
Excursion to Langthel and the nettle weavers
DAY 9: Trongsa to Chumey
Visit Trongsa Dzong and Trongsa Tadzong and drive to Chumey valley via Yotong la.
DAY 10: Chumey to Jakar
In the morning visit yathra weavers of Chumey and drive to Jakar for a pleasant valley hike with Jampe, Kurjey and Tamshing lhhakhangs on the way. Visit at a weaving center if open.
DAY 11: Jakar (weaving workshop)
Full day weaving workshop at Leki lodge with specialist guide Rinzin Wangmo.
DAY 12: Visit Domkhar festival (tentative!)
Visit Domkhar tshechu festival
DAY 13: Excursion to Tang or Ura valley
Hike/drive to Tang valley and visit Orgyen Choling palace & museum (old garments). Or visit Ura village (if festival is scheduled).
DAY 14: Flight to Paro
Return to Paro by flight and activities depend on actual time of arrival, Kyichu lhakhang
DAY 15: Taktsang
Hike to Tigernest monastery, later stroll through town for last minute shopping
DAY 16: Departure