How to prepare Road Trip from India To Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan is the happiest and greenest country in the world. It is the world’s first carbon negative country because of its extensive forests covers which is about 70% of the land. They act as a natural carbon sink that means the Kingdom absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces.

Bhutan is a landlocked country in the eastern Himalayas of South Asia. It shares borders with India in the south, east, and west while with China in the north.

Why to plan a road trip for Bhutan?

Pristine environment, natural biodiversity, colourful culture, traditional folks and amazing beauty of the Kingdom of Bhutan calling you for a road journey:

  • To explore numerous enroute destinations in India and as well as in Bhutan.
  • To enjoy local cuisine, traditional foods, culture and cultural festivals.
  • To go on famous treks such as Snowman Trek, Jumolhari, Laya Gasa Trek, Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek, Druk Path Trek, Owl Trek etc.
  • To do Mountaineering, Rafting and Mountain Biking are the best way to fulfill your desire for which you stepped out.
  • To Bird watching as nearly 700 bird species found in Bhutan, so its an ideal place it.

Tourism in Bhutan:

In 1974, the Government of Bhutan started the tourism in their country as an effort to raise revenue and also to promote Bhutanese unique culture and traditions to the outside world.

The Bhutan Government is aware of this environmental impact on their unique unspoiled landscape and culture. So, they have restricted the tourist activities and preferred higher quality tourism only by adopting a policy of “high value, low volume” tourism. It means, only a wealthy person can travel to Bhutan. For this, they have imposed a fee of US$ 200 per person per day as Sustainable Development Fee but Indians have to pay only 1200 (INR) per person per day.

Most Beautiful Places in Bhutan:

The major attractions for tourism are its capital, Thimphu, its western city Paro and Taktshang, a cliff-side monastery, called “Tiger’s Nest”, overlooking the Paro Valley. Bumthang Valley, Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley, Haa Valley, Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang are other beautiful places of Bhutan.

Some Facts/Questions about Indo-Bhutan Road Trip:

Best time to visit Bhutan:

The best time to visit Bhutan is from March to May. The valleys come alive with flowers in bloom, festivals are celebrated, clear skies, glimpses of Himalayan peaks and simply beautiful snowfall.

However, you can visit Bhutan, at any time, but if you want to avoid peak season crowd, then visit south Bhutan in winter and north Bhutan in summer.

The rainy season i.e., from June to August is off-season in Bhutan whichcan be considered as more affordable time to travel to this country.

How many days are enough for Bhutan?

Ideally, 7 to 10 days may be sufficient to explore the best of the country’s natural wonders / natural beauty and distinctly preserved unique culture.

Can I drive to Bhutan from India?

Yes, you can.

How to reach Bhutan from Delhi, India?

By Road:

Thimphu, Bhutan is over 1790 kilometers from Delhi, India which can be covered by continuous driving of 32 hours (appx). So, it’s not advisable to do so in one go, so, break your journey and visit en route places. The fastest and easiest route is through Agra, Lucknow, Muzaffarpur, Siliguri and finally to Phuentsholing, a border town best known for entry from India to Bhutan. But, I will give you a different perspective to your planning so that you can enjoy the route and en-route destinations.

Gelephu or Samdrup, Bhutan are other two border crossing points from India. Here, you can enter from the Bongaigaon or Darangamela, Assam, India.

By Air

Paro is the only international airport to enter Bhutan by air. Bhutan Airlines and Drukair operate flights from Delhi, Gaya, Bagdogra, Kolkata and Guwahati to Paro International Airport.

By Train

Though there is no direct train route to Bhutan from India but it can be reached by train, cheaply. The best options to reach Phuentsholing, Bhutan from India are New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (144 KM), New Alipurduar Railway Station (60 KM) and Hasimara Railway Station (20 KM).

Tourist Visa to Bhutan

As per Bhutan’s tourism policy, June 2022, every visitor has to pay US$200 as in Sustainable Development Fee per night to avail a visa to Bhutan, while Indian nationals have to pay ₹1,200 (INR) to avail a permit.

Children aged 5 years and below are exempted of SDF and children between the age of 6-12 years are given 50 % concession on SDF.

An online pre-registration system has been developed to pass through the pedestrian terminal at website https://bms.doi.gov.bt.

    • On successful registration, a QR code will be generated.
    • The registered person is required to present the QR code at the immigration counter along with the required identity document.
    • Pre-registration is one time and there is no need to register again.

Indian nationals do not require visa for visiting Bhutan but they require an ‘entry permit’. Department of Immigration in the Pedestrian Terminal at Phuentsholing issue entry permit on the basis of a valid Travel Document.

Tourists/visitors from India are required to carry the following Travel Documents:

Original Indian Passport (with minimum six months validity) or Original Voter ID card;
‘Aadhaar Card’, ‘PAN Card’, ‘Driving License’, ‘Ration Card’ etc are not accepted by the Immigration Authorities of Bhutan for this purpose.
• For children below 18 years, Original birth certificate (in English language) or passport, and must be accompanied by a legal guardian;
• 02 passport size photographs are required.
• Tourists should have travel insurance for the duration of the trip.

(Domestic travel insurance can be purchased from Bhutanese insurance providers at the Pedestrian Terminal at Phuentsholing. Details are available on Bhutan Insurance Limited website:
https://www.bhutaninsurance.com.bt/index.php?Page_id=112

For more information, visitors can visit the website of Department of Immigration: https://www.doi.gov.bt/?lang=en and Department of Tourism website: https://www.tourism.gov.bt/.

Additional Information for tourists:

To encourage long journeys in the mountainous terrain of Bhutan, they have offered free nights to US Dollar SDF- paying guests as incentives to explore / discover diverse kingdom. This scheme is applicable for the booking made from June 01, 2023 onwards, and are valid for stays in Bhutan between June 01, 2023 until December 31, 2024. Visitors can choose any of the following options, as per their planned itinerary, with effect from June 01, 2023:
A. 4 + 4: Pay the SDF of USD 200 per night, per person, for four nights, and receive up to four additional nights without the daily levy.
B. 7 + 7: Pay the SDF of USD 200 per night, per person, for seven nights, and receive up to seven additional nights without the daily levy.

C. 12 + 18: Pay the SDF USD 200 per night per person, for twelve nights, and receive up to eighteen additional nights without the daily levy.

Guidance on Indian-registered vehicles:

Indian tourists wanting to enter Bhutan via Phuntsholing, in their own vehicles and thereafter travel inside Bhutan in those vehicles after having obtained the ‘Entry Permit’ from Phuentsholing Immigration Office must visit the ‘Road Safety and Transport Authority’ (RSTA) office in Phuentsholing for processing of the ‘Vehicle Permit’. Following documents would be mandatorily required by RSTA for considering grant of the ‘Vehicle permit’:-
• Valid Indian driving license (in original)
• Insurance policy of Car/Vehicle (Original / duly attested).
• Valid Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate
• Vehicle must have Indian registration number with original RC
• Owner of the vehicle and person driving the vehicle into Bhutan must be the same person. If the owner and the driver are not the same, then there should be a written authorization; from the owner, for the driver, to that effect.
Indian-registered vehicles are allowed till Rinchending Check Post in Phuentsholing, they will be required to pay Nu 4,500 per day as Green Tax. They further need to register on Check Post Management System (CPMS) [https://1010.bt/epass/apply/] to cross the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) check points.
• The ‘Vehicle Permit’ is valid only for the travel up to Thimphu. If you want to drive it beyond Thimphu, you would need to ‘Vehicle Permit’ again from the RSTA office at Thimphu.

Festivals of Bhutan:

Attending festivals of a country is the best way to understand the country’s culture and history, so plan your journey, accordingly. Following festivals are the best:

  • The Paro Tshechu Festival: In April, it is one of the most prominent festivals of Bhutan. In this festival, monks wear masks represent the deities, re-enact and replay legendary tales and historical narratives.
  • The Haa Summer Festival: In July, a glimpse of Bhutanese culture can be experienced through its songs, folk dances, artefacts, religious performances, unique local cuisine and traditional sports.
  • The Matsutake Festival: In August, it is one of the famous harvest festivals of Bhutan which is celebrated by locals of Ura Valley during mushroom harvesting season.
  • The Sakteng Festival: In June, it serves as an occasion for merry-making and social gathering. This festival allows you to get close to unspoiled nature. The rare Yak dance is the highlight of this festival. 

UNESCO’s Tentative List of Bhutan:

  • Ancient Ruin of Drukgyel Dzong
  • Dzongs: the centre of temporal and religious authorities (Punakha DzongWangdue Phodrang DzongParo DzongTrongsa Dzong and Dagana Dzong)
  • Sacred Sites associated with Phajo Drugom Zhigpo and his descendants
  • Tamzhing Monastery
  • Royal Manas National Park (RMNP)
  • Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP)
  • Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS)

Bhutan Road Trip Itinerary from Delhi, India

Day-1: Delhi to Lucknow via Agra:

1st stop at Agra:

The distance of 220 KM from Delhi to Agra can be covered in 3- 4 hours.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, an icon of love, built by ShahJahan in the memory of his beloved wife Arjumand Banu or Mumtaz Mahal. It is personified as a symbol of undying love. English poet Sir Edwin Arnold describes it as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passion of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.” 

Completed after 22 years of construction, in 1653, the Taj Mahal is one of the India’s many beautiful monuments and is set amidst landscaped gardens. Ustad Isa was its Persian architect. It was built on a marble platform that stands above a sandstone one. The most elegant dome of the Taj Mahal has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m) and rises to a height of 80 feet (24 m); directly under this dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan’s tomb was erected next to hers by his son Aurangzeb. The interiors are decorated with fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.

Viewing of the Taj Mahal is usually from sunrise to sunset (6 a.m.–7 p.m.) except Fridays. Night viewing of the Taj Mahal is only allowed on five nights of the month: the night of the full moon and two days before and after.

Taj Nature Walk

The Taj Nature walk or Mughal Heritage Walk is located just 500 meters away from the eastern gate of Taj Mahal. It is a one-kilometer loop where you can walk around and view of the Taj from various angles, especially four main points from where you can see the Taj in the background. It connects the agricultural fields with the Rajasthani culture, river bank connected with the ancient village of Kuchhpura etc. It opens from 6 a.m.to 7 p.m.

Agra Fort

The Agra Fort or Red Fort stands on an ancient site which was traditionally known as Badalgarh. It was captured by Ghaznavi for some time but in the 15th century, the Chauhan Rajputs occupied it. The Sikandar Lodi (1487–1517) shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed a few buildings in the pre-existing Fort at Agra. Mughals captured the fort after the first battle of Panipat (1526). In 1530, Humayun was crowned in it. The Akbar renovated the Fort and commissioned it in 1565. It is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

ShahJahan again demolished some parts and converted this part into a palace and reworked extensively with marble and pietradura inlay. This red sandstone and marble architecture exude power and grandiosity. 

Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Moti Masjid, the Diwan-e-Am and Diwan-e-Khas (halls of public and private audience)Jahangir’s Khas Mahal and Shish Mahal (mirrored palace).

The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise. The fort is crescent-shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A moat 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 10 metres (33 ft) deep surround the outer wall.

The Amar Singh gate or Lahore Gate, which was originally built to confuse attackers with its dogleg design, is now the sole point of entry into the fort. It is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fatehpur Sikri

The Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Akbar at a distance of 35 km (22 mi) from Agra and moved his capital there. This place was later abandoned but the site displays a number of buildings of significant historical importance. It is a World Heritage Site and often visited by tourists.

In 1601, the Mughal Emperor Akbar built a Buland Darwaza or ‘the lofty gateway’ at Fatehpur Sikri to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is approached by 52 steps. It is 53.63 metres (175.95 feet) high and 35 metres (115 feet) wide. It is made of red and buff sandstone, decorated by carving and black and white marble inlays.

2nd stop at Lucknow:

The distance of 332 KM from Agra to Lucknow can be covered in 4 hours.

Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh which is located at the bank of River Gomti, a tributary of Holy river Ganga. Lucknow is known as the City of Manners, Food and of course Nawabs. The culture of city is ‘Hum’ (We) than ‘Main’ (Me) and they offer anything to you before themselves as “first you or Pahle aap”. There are a lot of places to see but you can select a few ones viz. Bara Imambara (Bhool Bhulaiya), Rumi Darwaza, The Residency, Ambedkar Memorial Park, Gomti Riverfront Park, Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre, Lucknow Zoo etc.

Bara Imambara (Bhool Bhulaiya) & Rumi Darwaza:

Bara Imambara was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. It is often referred as Bhul-bhulaiya (the labyrinth) because of its interconnecting passages with each other through 489 identical doorways. Approximately, there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only two to come back to ground.

Rumi Darwaza or Turkish gate, a sixty-foot-tall structure built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 in Awadhi Architecture. It is an example of. It is now adopted as a symbol of the city of Lucknow.

The Residency:

The Residency or British Residency was a group of several buildings which served as the residence for the British Resident General who was a representative in the court of the Nawabs of Awadh. This complex was destroyed during the mutiny in 1857 and now exists as ruins. Each evening, a light and sound show displays the history of the Residency.

Ambedkar Memorial Park:

A public park and memorial is dedicated to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the architecture of Indian Constitution and first Law minister of India. The park has 124 monumental elephants.

Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre:

Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre is established in Kukrail Reserve Forest which is an urban forest created in 1950s. It housed a captive breeding and conservation centre for the freshwater gharials (gavialis gangeticus), one of the 3 native species of crocodiles in India.

Barabanki:

The distance of 72 KM from Lucknow to Barabanki can be covered in 1-2 hours.

District has the privilege of being the penance ground to numerous saints and ascetics. There are several ancient sayings to the naming of this district.  The most popular among them is that, due to the reincarnation of ‘Bhagwan VAARAH’ on this poise land. This area was the part of the ancient Kings of Ayodhya and later it was the part of Kurukshetra. Pandav along with their mother Kunti had spent some time on the banks of river Ghaghra during their exile.

Parijaat’ world’s unique tree, Kunteshwar Mahadev temple and the famous Lodheshwar Mahadeva’s Shivling etc. are the proofs that this region had an important place even five thousand years ago during the Mahabharata period.

Parijaat Tree

About 38 Kms from the District headquarter of Barabanki, Parijaat Tree is found near Kintur Village. Popular acceptance among a number of sayings about this tree, is that this tree was brought by Arjun from heavens for his mother Kunti who used to offer and crown Shivji with its flowers. The other saying is that the Lord Krishna brought this tree for his beloved queen Satyabhama.

According to Harivansh Puran (Part of Mahabharat Kavya), Parijaat is a type of Kalpvraksh, it is said to be found only in the heavens and, whosoever makes a wish under this tree, gets fulfilled. There are a number of references about Kalpavraksh found in the religious and ancient literature but no description, whatsoever of its existence, can be found anywhere in the world, except for only in Kintur (Barabanki ). Botanically, Parijat is known as Adansonia digitata and is a unisex male tree. It does not produce its fruit or its seeds, neither can its branch cuttings can be grown to produce a second Parijaat tree. So, according to the botanist’s, there is no such tree found anywhere else in the world.

Mahadeva

Lodheshwar Mahadev Shivling is being one of the exotic and rarest of the 52 shivlings on the surface of earth. This ancient Shiv temple is situated, on the banks of Ghaghra River, in a village Mahadeva in tehsil Ram Nagar of district Barabanki. Devotees coming in groups with Kanwar on their shoulders from the areas of Chitrakoot, Bithoor, Kanpur and Lucknow in the month of Phalgun every year i.e. on the occasion of Mahashivratri to worship and offer water to the famous shivling dated back to Mahabharata Period.

3rd stop at Ayodhya:

The distance of 92 KM from Parijaat Tree, Barabanki to Ayodhya can be covered in 2H – 2H 30 Min.

Ram Janam Bhoomi:

Ram Janam bhoomi (the ‘Birthplace of Lord Rama’) is the birthplace of Rama who is believed to be the seventh avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The Ramayana states that the location of Rama’s birthplace is on the banks of the Sarayu river in a city called “Ayodhya”. The construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya is progressing. The entire temple is expected to be completed by 2025. The temple is 380 feet long, 250 feet wide, and 161 feet high. Temple timings are from 07:00 AM to 11 AM and 02:00 PM to 07:00 PM (Note: Please check latest timings before proceeding to the temple).

Hanuman Garhi

Hanuman Garhi temple was constructed by King Vikramaditya but in digital media you may also find that it was constructed by the Nawabs of Lucknow.  This temple is devoted to Lord Hanuman. The temple houses Hanuman’s mother, Anjani, with a young Hanuman sitting on her lap.

Temple timings are from 05:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Photography is prohibited in the Temple.

Saryu River:

It is one of the important river of Uttar Pradesh, India which means ‘that which is streaming’. We find its mention in Vedas and Ramayana. Ram ki Pairi is the Saryu riverfront with a large stretch of ghats, gardens and row of temples. On various religious occasions, hundreds of devotees come here to take a holy dip throughout the year.

4th stop at Varanasi:

Varanasi is 220 KM away from Ayodhya which can be covered in 4H 30 Min.

Varanasi

Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities which is situated on the banks of holy Ganga river. Kashi is its ancient name and is expected to be more than 2,500 years old. In the 5th century BCE, Lord Buddha given its first sermon at Sarnath, a nearby place.  It has been an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage, mysticism and poetry contributing to its cultural importance. Tulsidas wrote the epic Ramcharitmanas in Awadhi language in Varanasi.

The place is also known for its silk weaving, carpets, crafts and ghats. The famous ghats are Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat, and the Harishchandra Ghat. Notable temples in Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and the Durga Temple.

Several activities can be undertaken here like boat ride in Ganga river, sunset, evening Ganga aarti, heritage walk around temples, explore ghats etc. and local food can also be enjoyed.

Sarnath:

Sarnath is a place where, Gautama Buddha taught his first sermon, in 5th Century BCE, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The Buddhist sangha first came into existence as a result of the enlightenment of his first five disciples. According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta,  Sarnath is one of the four places of Buddha pilgrimages and other 3 sites are Lumbini (the birthplace of the Buddha), Bodh Gaya (where the Buddha achieved enlightenment), and Kushinagar (where the Buddha attained parinirvana).

5th stop at Bodh Gaya:

The distance of Bodh Gaya from Varanasi is 255 KM which can be covered in 5 H 30 min.

Bodh Gaya:

Bodh Gaya is a famous place where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Enlightenment is a state of being completely free from lust (raga), hatred (dvesha) and delusion (moha). It is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya, Bihar.

For Buddhists, it is one of the most important of main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. The other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2002.

6th Stop at Siliguri:

518 KM is the distance of Siliguri from Bodh Gaya and it may take around 12 H30 Min to reach there.

Siliguri is located in the foothills of Himalayas on the banks of the Mahananda river and Teesta river. It is surrounded by Tea Gardens and mostly famous for Tea, Tourism, and Timber. It is also known as the ‘gateway of Northeast India’. The beautiful hill station Darjeeling is about 60 KM from Siliguri. Bagdogra is the nearest Airport and anyone can reach in around 3 hours from Delhi.

Famous tourist attractions are Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, a must visit for its range of wild animals and peacocks, the Kalchakra Monastery which was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1996, Nearby Tea gardens, the Science City and Dudhia, a famous picnic spot on the Mirik-Siliguri highway.

7th Stop Paro, Bhutan:

Paro, Bhutan can be reached from Siliguri, India through Bhutan Gate at Phuentsholing which is approximately 310 KM and can be covered in 8 H 30 Minutes.

However, Phuentsholing is 152 KM away from Siliguri. It is a border town in southern Bhutan where you have to take all your permissions, if required. Bhutan Gate welcome you once entered from Jaigaon, Indian side.

Places to visit in Phuentsholing:

By Amartyabag

1. Torsa River Side:

The Torsa River rises from the Chumbi Valley in Tibet, where it flows down to Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh before joining the Brahmaputra River into the Bay of Bengal. In Bhutan, it is known as Amo Chu. Walking along the bank of Torsa river, enjoying food in riverside Café, restaurant and a view point can add some good memory.

2. Zangto Pelri Lhakhang & Park:

Pay a visit to Zangto Pelri Lhakhang and circumambulate (Pradakshina) the prayer wheels. Visit nearby Zangto Pelri Park, a neat and tidy park, where people from all walks of life often visit with their families, where Monks chant prayers.  

3. Amo Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre:

If you are interested in life cycle of Crocodiles or reptiles, then you should pay a visit to this breeding centre. Here, you can see the endangered gharials, crocodiles (mugger), migratory birds, tortoises and fishes etc.

Paro:

Paro is the marvellous valley town of Bhutan and it has the sole international airport.  It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. Paro is famous for Taktsang Palphug Monastery, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Rinpung Dzong (fort), Kyichu Lhakhang Monastaries. Adventure activities like trekking can be done at Samtengang, biking at Paro Ta Dzong, Rafting and Kayaking in Paro Chhu River. Apart from above Paro Taktsang, Chele La Pass, National Museum, Paro River, are other tourist attractions.

One of the famous place of Paro is Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Some folklore believe that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew on the back of a tigress to this location from Tibet. The trek to Tiger’s Nest monastery takes about three hours one way. A scenic view of the town of Paro can be seen from the Tiger’s Nest. Visiting it is an unforgettable experience because of its unique location and the views of surrounding majestic mountains and emerald green valleys.

8th Stop at Thimpu.

The capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, is just 65 Kms which can be covered in 2 hours from Paro. It is the kingdom’s largest city which is situated in the western central part of Bhutan. Punakha was the ancient capital city of Bhutan, it was replaced by Thimphu in 1961. Thimphu was declared as the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan by the 3rd Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.

Top Attractions in Thimphu are Dochula Pass, Buddha Dordenma, Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong), Thimphu Chorten (Memorial Chorten), Simtokha Dzong. Other outdoor activities places in Thimphu are Jhomolhari, Royal Botanical Garden, Coronation Park, Motithang Takin Preserve, Jigme Dorji National Park.

9th Stop At Punakha.

By A. J. T. Johnsingh, WWF-India and NCF – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The ancient kingdom of Bhutan, Punakha, is 86 Kms from Thimphu which  is famous for its amazing 17th-century fortress which has beautiful architecture. Punakha is situated at the juncture of two beautiful rivers the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers which makes this place look even more majestic.

Places to visit in Punakha are Punakha Dzong, Punakha Suspension Bridge, Mo Chhu (River), Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang

Some other places are in Bhutan which can be covered by spending some more days like:

Bumthang Valley:

By A. J. T. Johnsingh, WWF-India and NCF – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

A historic valley because of its ancient and precious Buddhist sites. The main town of the Buddhist valley is Jakar and is filled with apple and coniferous trees and numerous temples. Bhutan’s only brewery, brewing Red Panda wheat beer, is in Jakar.

Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley:

Both of these are must visit places because these are glacial valleys with a stream flowing through their open grasslands. It is also home to the endangered black-necked crane.

Return Journey started from here.

10th StopMongpong Forest, West Bengal:

Mongpong is a scenically blessed village situated midst lush green forest of Sal and Teak along the banks of Teesta River. It is just 35 Km from Siliguri and 337 from Punakha, Bhutan which takes around 8 hours and 30 minutes to reach here. Mongpong forest is the Dooars (means doors/ passage for entering in Bhutan) situated at the border of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary which is famous for large collection of migratory birds like Pin-tailed Duck, Mallard, Bar-headed goose and Brahmini duck during winter season. The forest has numerous nature trails that are famous for treks.

11th StopKathmandu, Nepal

By Andrewgrandison – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Kathmandu, Nepal is 511 KM from Mongpong Forest, West Bengal, India which will take around 13 hours and 40 minutes depending upon the conditions of the road.

Kathmandu is the capital and most populous city of Nepal located in the Kathmandu valley. It is surrounded by lofty, snow-covered peaks of Himalayan mountains and it 3rd highest most-visited destination. Kathmandu is also blessed with ample natural beauty. It is full of ancient temples, golden pagodas, natural beauty, museums, art galleries and fascinating villages. Nepal’s art and architecture shows amalgamation of two ancient religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.

The city was founded in the 2nd century AD and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. It is the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens built by the Nepali aristocracy. Since 1985, it is the headquarter of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The Seven Monument Zones are the Durbar squares of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur, the Hindu temples of Pashupatinath and Changunarayan, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath. UNESCO, in 2006, declared these seven groups of monuments as a World Heritage Site.

The Pashupatinath Temple is a famous 5th century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu located on the banks of the Bagmati River. The image of the bull and the black four-headed image of Pashupati are at least 300 years old. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kathmandu has white water rafting and kayaking trips which give an ultimate thrilling experience to you. Everest Mountain Flight will take you around the peak of Mount Everest and you can feel the closeness with the Everest.

If you want get a bird’s eye view of the city, take ride of hot-air balloon. An early ride can give you a glimpse of spectacular sunrise. Paragliding can also give you a memorable experience of flight.

12th StopKapilvastu, Nepal:

Kapilvastu is 307 KM from Kathmandu which can be reached via Lumbini in approximately 9 Hours. It is a region with biodiversity, cultural, archaeological and historical monuments are under consideration for listing in the list of World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

More than 138 historical sites related to Buddha have been identified in the Country. The forest of the district stands as a natural park. The land is irrigated by the rivers like Banganga, Koili, Surai, Chirai, Bhutera etc.

13th StopDudhwa National Park & Tiger Reserve, Lakhimpur Kheri, India:

The Dudhwa National Park is located in the Terai belt of marshy grasslands in northern Uttar Pradesh, India on the Indo-Nepal border. It covers an area of 490.3 km2 with a buffer zone of 190 km2. It is part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in the Kheri and Lakhimpur districts.

Dudhwa became a tiger reserve in 1979 and comes under the purview of the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1987. It also comprises Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.

Major attractions of Dudhwa National Park are the tigers having a population 58, as per 2014 data and swamp deer with population over 1,600. Some rare species inhabit the park like Hispid hare, earlier thought to have become extinct, was rediscovered here in 1984.

In March, 1984 Indian rhinoceros was reintroduced into Dudhwa from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam and Nepal. Swamp deer, sambar deer, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, sloth bear, honey badger, jackal, Viverrinae, jungle cat, fishing cat and leopard cat are found in the National park.

Dudhwa National Park is a stronghold of the barasingha. Around half of the world’s barasinghas are present in Dudhwa National Park. Due to their slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yellow cloak, the grasslands acts as the perfect camouflage.

Dudhwa National Park is a birder’s paradise which has a rich bird life with over 350 species, including a range of migratory birds that reside here during the winter. Painted storks, black and white necked storks, sarus cranes, woodpeckers, barbets, kingfishers, minivets, bee-eaters, bulbuls and varied birds of prey are among others. There are also drongos, barbets, cormorants, ducks, geese, hornbills, bulbuls, teal, woodpeckers, heron, bee-eaters, minivets, kingfishers, egrets, orioles, painted storks, owls.

The white-rumped vulture and red-headed vulture, both Critically Endangered vulture species have also been sighted in the park.

You can stay at Sonaripur, Forest Rest House in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

  • You may leave this place for Delhi which is around 400 KM that will take around 7 Hours and 45 minutes.
  • This tour will end here with a lot of good memories and experience which will be forever with you.
  • Share your views / comments.

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