The Buddhist reverence for all forms of life and Bhutan's dedication to nature preservation unite at Gangtey Monastery's Black-necked Crane Festival in Central Bhutan. The Monastery sits high above a broad valley overlooking the Phobjhika Nature Reserve, which hosts hundreds of wintering Black-necked Cranes. Monks pray for the safe return of the birds, as they are considered Boddhisatvas or “agents of God." According to legend, the cranes circle the monastery clockwise three times as a sign of their devotion before landing in the marshy valley. After the cranes' long journey south from Tibet, local villagers gather at the Monastery for a colorful festival celebrating their safe arrival. School children present pageants about the cranes and local nature conservation, the Gangtey monks adapt their traditional temple dances to themes related to the cranes, and more celebrations and gift-giving ceremonies abound amidst the country fair atmosphere. Whether it's the dramatically beautiful cranes, the fascinating Bhutanese culture, or the many opportunities for day hiking, this festival trip has something for travelers from all walks of life. This trip includes other not-to-be-missed sights such as Taktsang Monastery, several of the greatest Dzongs, the great museums and palaces of Punakha, Paro and Thimphu.
- Plus Druk Air fares to/from Paro add $550-950 (estimate)
- Private departures or group sizes 2-3 add $300
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