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Black necked crane festival tour in Bhutan

Situated in the western Bhutan, a few kilometres beyond the Gangtey Monastery & perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain's and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery.

Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grand son of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley establishes the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong. Phobjikha is place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter winter in milder and lower climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park.

The Black -neck Cranes, commonly known as "thrung thrung karm" has a sacred identity in the Bhutanese culture. It is often cited in the folklore, dances and other historical texts. The crane festival is annually organized by the local communities in phobjikha which reinforces the importance of these birds in the lives of the local people.

The mission towards conserving & protecting the endangered Black Necked Cranes and their habitat can be obtained only if people see economic benefits resulting from conservation activities. Therefore effort must be made to establish clear link conservation and the material well being of the people. The first Crane Festival in 1998 was entirely financed by RSPN. However, RSPN is a non-profit organization and its own budget constraints means that it cannot continue to finance the festival. The 1999 festival will be organized by the Phobjikha community with assistance from RSPN. In 1998 Festival was a huge success with over 70 International guests in attendance. The local people are optimistic that this year's festival will also be well attended and therefore contribute substantially to their economy, thus convincing them of the economic opportunities of Black Necked Crane conservation. Bhutan ranks among the top ten hot spots in the world for bio-diversity.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival at Paro & sightsee.

Day 2: Drive from Paro to Thimphu and sightseeing.

Day 3: Drive from Thimphu to Punakha and sighseeing

Day 4: Drive from Punakha via Wangdue to Phobjikha valley

Day 5: Visit to Black necked crane festival and sightseeing

Day 6: Drive from Phobjikha valley to Bumthang via Trongsa and sight seeing.

Day 7: Bumthang sightseeing.

Day 8: Drive from Bumthang to wangdue

Day 9: Drive from Wangdue to Paro

Day 10: Hike towards Taktshang(Tiger Nest Monastery)

Day 11: Departure from Paro international airport.

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