Nuptials in Bhutan – Connect your souls in Bhutan

Nuptials in Bhutan – Connect your souls in Bhutan.

Marriage is one of the most memorable, sacred and thrilling moments of one’s life. Couples want their marriage dates to be remembered and thus host annual anniversaries.

What about tying the knots in a far flung area, renowned for its mysticism, serenity, tranquility and culture that have stood the test of time? What about marriage in a way, one can see depicted in some movies only; nuptials in the Happiness Kingdom, Bhutan. What about marrying in a 7th century sacred monastery?

This is possible and we have professional experience in this. All the bride and groom need to do is come to Bhutan; we handle the rest, beginning from your wedding dresses to attending guests.

Along with the Bhutanese way, we can sieve in some characteristics of your culture, such as hosting reception.

Tour Highlights

  • Duration: 5 Days
  • Districts: Thimphu, Paro
  • Entry: Paro
  • Exit: Paro
  • Venue: Kichhu Lhakhang, Paro

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok/Delhi/Kathmandu -Paro International Airport

The flight to Bhutan is an experience no one forgets. Immersed in the sights of the giant Himalayan peaks such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Jomolhari (Mountain Goddess), Mt. Jitchu Drake etc, one finds the journey very short. Landing at Paro Airport, one of the smallest airports in the world, is a thrilling experience.

At the airport you will be received in the traditional Bhutanese way and escorted to your hotel.

After lunch, we will visit some of Paro’s historical places, such as the Rimpong Dzong (Castle on a Heap of Jewels) and the National Museum (which was formerly a Watch Tower.) The day will be wrapped up with a visit to a farm house in the evening.

Day 2: Paro – The Great Day

Today will be one of the most important days of your life. Our wedding team will arrive at the hotel to dress you in the traditional Bhutanese dress; gho for men and kira for women.

At the astrologically given time, you will be driven to Kyichu Lhakhang (temple), one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, built in the 7th century by Thrisong Detsen, a Tibetan King, who is believed to have built 108 monasteries in a day. It is said that Kyichu Lhakhang was build on a spot that resembled the left knee of a giant ogress. Many saints, including Guru Rimpoche visited the temple, sanctifying the temple even more.

As we reach Kyichu, you will be received in the traditional chipdrel ceremony and escorted into the temple, where the marriage ceremony will begin. (Details have been provided above.) Lunch will be served in the temple premises and cultural programs will be held throughout the day.

Based on your interest, you can host a reception in a hotel or conduct another ceremony as per your culture. A hot stone bath will be waiting for you, before you call it a day.

Day 3: Paro Taktshang – To the “Tiger’s Lair”

It is believed that the bond between couples are strengthened if they visit temples, churches etc and pray for a fulfilling life ahead.

As such, you will be taken to Paro Taktshang, or the Tiger’s Lair, one of the most sacred and revered religious sites. A visit to Bhutan without a trek to Taktshang is incomplete. Perched on a hillock about 1000meters above the valley and overlooking the other side, Taktshang is both an architectural wonder and a sanctified place.

Trek to Taktshang goes along an old trail, prayer flags and water driven prayer wheels dotting the landscape. It would take about five hours round trip for a trekker.

Taktshang is a site blessed by the great Indian Saint and Buddhist Master of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, himself and several others, including the Guru’s consort, Khandu Yeshey Tshogay and several Buddhist masters. Legend has it that Guru Padma Sambhava came riding on a tigress in a wrathful form to subdue demons who were obstructing the spread of Buddhism. The Guru achieved this by meditating in one of the caves.

At the temple, you can pray for a life filled with bliss. Lunch will be served on the return trek.

As we move back to the hotel, we will visit ruins of the Drugyel Dzong, “Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa,” built by Shabdrung and which served as a bastion of Bhutanese defence while attacked by the Tibetans in the 17th century. It was built to commemorate the victory. On a clear day, one can see Mt Jomolhari (Mountain Goddess) from the dzong.

Night halt at a hotel.

Day 4: Paro – Thimphu

You could call it a honeymoon as we move to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. It is an hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu Chus (rivers).

At Thimphu, we will check into a hotel and then begin the capital’s excursion, starting from the Memorial Chorten, built in dedication to the Third King of Bhutan, Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, known as the Father of Modern Bhutan.

Next we move to Kuenselphodrang, where stands the giant Buddha statue, the biggest of the kind in the region. We will also be visiting the 13th century Changangkha temple, the Takin Zoo, a Nunnery, the local hand-made paper factory, Handicrafts Emporium and the Traditional School of Painting.

The visit to Thimphu’s icon, Tashichhodzong, the seat of governance and Bhutanese polity, which also houses the office of the King and the Throne room will be after lunch. The Dzong (Fortress) is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. It also houses some Ministries and government offices. If time permits we will also visit the Parliament and see a game of archery.

A cultural show will be arranged in the evening during dinner.

Night halt in hotel.

Day 5: Thimphu – Paro (Departure from Bhutan)

Early morning, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your journey out of the country. Our representative will escort you.


Wedding-The Bhutanese Way

Like most weddings, culture and religion play significant roles in Bhutanese marriages. Weddings begin with the recitation of prayers for an everlasting relationship free from miseries. In most cases, religious heads (Lams) and monks conduct the prayers in the homes of both the bride and the groom. Later the two meet in a place of their choice; either in the bride’s or the groom’s house (or a reception hall) where vows to strengthen their ties are exchanged. White scarfs, known as Tashi Khaddar are exchanged, with the Lam offering a scarf, too.

Once this is completed, others can follow suit, beginning from family members and then guests. Gifts are given to the new couple.

Marriages are also hosted in temples, where Bhutanese culture is seen in its entirety. Buddhism dictates the date for the weddings, and people consult the Tsips (astrologers). They spell out the best day and time, such as the most auspicious time to depart from one’s home, tie the nuptials etc.

The couple is escorted in the traditional chipdrel ceremony, a religious and traditional form of reception, where monks, religious music, mask dances and traditional songs envelope the couple.

Prayers are conducted at the temple, where the lama (head monk) and monks recite a special prayer, invoking the guardian deities for a successful wedding ceremony.

Next on the list is the Marchang Ceremony, another tradition where alcoholic beverages are offered to the guardian deities, with special prayers. It is a ceremony conducted at the beginning of all important occasions, after which the Shugdrel Ceremony, one of Bhutan’s core cultural traits. The ceremony begins with the offering of Droem and Diza (Saffron tea and mashed porridge of black dhal), followed by fruits, tea and nuts to the couple and the guests. It is believed that every edible product should be offered if possible. The couple and guests are also offered, suja (salted butter tea) desi (rice with sugar and butter) , and doma pani (arechenut with green leaves.)
An important religious invocation is the recitation of Barche Lam Se, (Clearing the path from all misfortunes).

It is a prayer recited when one is about to start a new venture or a task. As a symbol of unity, the couple shares a drink of Ara (local brewed alcohol) from the same cup. (Milk can be substituted instead of Ara).

At the end of this prayer, the Lama (head of the religious group) offers a white scarf to the couple. This is the enunciation of the spiritual bond. After the Lama, family members and guests can follow suit. All through the ceremony, local song and dances, including mask dances are held to entertain the guests together with the serving of beverages, liquor and food.

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