The Textile Art of Bhutan, A Complete Bhutan Immersion
FRI 22 NOV – TUE 10 DEC, 2019
5 Reasons You Should Join This Tour.
- With Bhutan’s leading textiles expert – Patrizia Franceschinis.
- Dates are optimized for best weather & touring conditions.
- Features two unique Bhutanese festivals.
- Exclusive inclusions: one full & two 1/2 day weaving workshops.
- Tour operated by Bhutan Tourism Corporation Ltd, (BTCL) – Bhutan’s premier tour operator providing an expert Bhutanese tour guide, in conj with Bhutan & Beyond.
Here is the best that Bhutan can offer: an adventure through one of the greenest places on Earth for textile enthusiasts & their family and friends who wish to experience the magical Himalayan Kingdom through its beautiful and fascinating textiles. Bhutan’s biodiversity, that encompasses sub-tropical to alpine species, will be experienced in all its glory, on each day of travel. The diversity and richness of birds, plants and other biodiversity – imperiled across much of the Himalayas because of burgeoning human populations – are protected in Bhutan by the Constitution that mandates a minimum of 60% of land mass under forest cover for eternity. There will be opportunities to hike, enjoy shopping & photography. Rough roads and elevations require fitness and adaptation. Accommodation may be a simple guest house; food could be an adventure in itself.
The Textile Art of Bhutan Tour Operated By:
Bhutan Tourism Corp Ltd in conjunction with Bhutan & Beyond
and Patrizia Franceschinis Tshering.
Bhutan Land Tour Costs:
- Textile Art of Bhutan 18 nt land arrangements: @US$4689.00 pp twin share
- Single room supplement throughout – please add: @ US$720.00
- We welcome payments by credit card however a 1.01‐1.55% surcharge applies. Airfares to/from Bhutan are additional,
Your Bhutan Land Tour Includes:
- Patrizia Franceschinis, your travel consultant & textiles expert.
- Professional English speaking guide, driver & private coach.
- Private transfer from Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati Airport
- Witness the spectacle of the Mongar & Trashigang Tshechu’s (festivals)
- All touring & transfers throughout your journey.
- Bhutanese 3-star Style hotel accommodation with private bathrooms.
- All meals & bottled water daily
- Half day weaving workshop at Chume Valley.
- Half day weaving workshop at Khoma.
- Full day weaving and dyeing workshop at Ranjung (Trashigang)
- Visit to the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu
- All entrance fees and sightseeing
- Bhutan visa fees, Bhutan government royalties & local taxes
Land Tour Exclusions:
- All International flights to Paro Bhutan & ex-Guwahati India.
- Bangkok, Delhi or Kolkata stopover accommodation if required enroute to/from Bhutan
- Items of a personal nature, phone calls, laundry, drinks etc
- Tipping for guide & driver.
- Travel Insurance – mandatory to enter Bhutan
Booking & Enquiry Form:
For all enquiries & to make your formal booking request please complete the online form located at the bottom of this web page or call us toll free on 1300 367875 (then press 1).
THE TEXTILE ART OF BHUTAN ITINERARY – OVERVIEW:
A fully detailed day to day itinerary will be provided in late 2018.
|Nov 22 2019:||Arrive Bhutan at Paro||2 nights|
|Nov 24:||Thimphu||2 nights|
|Nov 26:||Punakha||2 nights|
|Nov 28:||Phobjikha||1 night|
|Nov 29:||Bumthang, Chume||1 night|
|Nov 30:||Bumthang, Jakar||2 nights|
|Dec 2:||Autsho||2 nights|
|Dec 4:||Mongar||2 nights (Tshechu: 4 -7 Dec)|
|Dec 6:||Trashigang||3 nights (Tshechu: 5-7 Dec)|
|Dec 9:||Samdrup Jongkhar||1 night|
|Dec 10:||Depart Bhutan to Guwahati|
Photos and Map by Patrizia Franceschinis
In Western Bhutan, visit the impressive dzongs, monasteries perched on rocks or tucked away in remote side valleys, religious sites in valleys famously associated with Shabdrung, Guru, Buddha. We have included a program of hikes, some a little demanding. You will be introduced to the Textile art of Bhutan, visit the Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu; a half day private lecture on Bhutanese textiles, weaving demonstration, and textiles shops. On day 7, travel to Phobjikha, with hiking options for the many nature trails of this beautiful broad valley. At this time of the year, Phobjikha is host to the black neck cranes that migrate here for the winter from Tibet. Gangtey Gompa, the expansive monastery and monastic institution that is the seat of the reincarnation of Pema Lingpa – another historically important figure in Bhutan who discovered Ters or hidden treasures and is also knows as a Terton – is strategically placed in the middle of Phobjikha. Most Bhutanese aristocracy descends from Pema Lingpa and these families are called Peling. Once we reach Bumthang, textiles will take priority. In Chume Valley, try your hands at yathra wool weaving and a Bhutanese meal in the village.
On Day 11, travel over the highest road point of the journey, Thrumshingla Pass at 4000 m. into Eastern Bhutan. On a clear day, the endless rolls of hills down to the Indian plains is breathtaking. From here onward it is textile land: Two nights at Autsho to visit Khoma for another day of weaving instruction, an excursion to Takila. On Day 13, travel 2 hours to Mongar for the annual Tshechu festival. This is the peak season of religious festivals and you will participate in several of the Tshechu’s many sacred dances. Tshechu’s showcase the best of Bhutanese textiles as all Bhutanese will wear their finest for the occasion. Photo above: Wild indigo, plant and flower.
On day 15: travel a few hours to Tashigang where we may catch the last day of the Tashigang Tsechu; 3 nights here, with excursions to (1) Tashi Yangtze, (2) Ranjung, where a master weaver will instruct on the art of weaving Aikapur and natural dyes. At the end of the journey, enroute to Samdrup Jonkhar (night halt on day 18) stop at the Khaling weaving centre. On day 19 leave early for flights out of Gawahati, India, with a 3-hours drive to airport. Roads are one of the least favorite aspects of Bhutan; all roads are being widened to allow for 2 lane traffic, so considerable time will be spent on traveling between destinations. To obviate to the inconvenience, shorter distances are planned and more cultural stops are included.
Photo above: Tashigang Dzong under reconstruction (2018) – By Patrizia Franceschinis, your travel consultant.
In 1616 AD, Ngawang Namgyal arrived Bhutan from Tibet on the invitation of a local leader who wanted to strengthen the Drukpa Kagyu sect of Mahayana Buddhism locally. Ngawang Namgyal was 23 years old and the abbot of the monastery of Ralung, in Eastern Tibet, the seat of the founder of the Drukpa Kagyu sect. His ancestors had been Bhutanese and Tibetan. Ngawang Namgyal in the span of 34 years integrated small warring fiefdoms, under a body of laws and government founding the nation of Bhutan with a distinct culture, identity and traditions. He is known as “Shabdrung” at whose feet one will bow. Shabdrung is the
most important political figure in Bhutanese iconography and history. Prior to Shabdrung, Bhutan’s history is legendary and associated with religious personalities, like Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava the “lotus born” Buddhist master that brought Mahayana Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8 th century AD. From the Kingdom of Oddiyana in ancient India, Guru Rinpoche is legendary in both Tibet and Bhutan. He is famously associated with Taksang: the “Tiger’s Nest” monastery on a sheer cliff wall 500m above the floor of Paro valley, that you will visit at the beginning of your Bhutan tour. His deeds are narrated at the Festivals called Tshechu, with its centre piece the sacred dance of Guru Tsen Gye (=Guru’s 8 manifestations). You will see this dance at Mongar Tshechu.
Guru Rinpoche is believed by Mahayana Buddhists to have been the reincarnation of Buddha. Buddha returned o this world in the form of Guru to propagate the Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism (“thunderbolt”,” diamond vehicle”) and is thus often called “the Vajra Guru” or the “second Buddha”. Buddha lived (circa 563-480 BC) in central north India and established the Buddhist religion, or philosophy as many prefer it to be considered. In Bhutan, Buddha is represented in different forms. That is because in Vajirayana the pantheon includes supernatural bodhisattvas like Amitabha Buddha = the Buddha of infinite light; Avalokiteshvara = the embodiment of compassion (known in Bhutan as Chenrezi); Tara, also called Jetsun Dölma who is the. female expression of Chenrezi.
Weaving in Bhutan dates back millennia, but the first historical documentation of textiles is from the 8th century AD.
The Dzongkha word for textile “ZON” is similar to “Tzon”= TRADE. So it is believed that weaving dates back at least to the time of Guru when trade relationships started with Tibet. The man’s national costume was introduced in the XVII century by Shabdrung as a variation of the Tibetan’s chuba. The Kira was already the dress of women at the time of Shabdrung and it probably precedes by several centuries. Bhutanese weaving on the back-strap loom uses techniques and patterns similar to textiles of South Asia and South East Asia where weaving is known to have been adopted for over 2500 years. The codification of weaving as 1 of 13 traditional arts of Bhutan is attributed to the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye who governed Bhutan from 1680 to 1694. He is also famous for expanding and upgrading Tango Monastery and Punakha Dzong to impressive size, and for founding Taksang monastery on the site of the sacred cave where Guru had meditated in the VIII century. The 13 traditional arts – or zorig chusum – are: shingzo (woodwork); dozo (stone work); parzo (carving work); lhazo (casting); shagzo (wood turning: bowls); garzo (blacksmithy for swords and utensils); troko (silversmithy); tshazo (work with bamboo and cane, like Banchungs); dezo (papermaking); tshemzo (embroidery and stitching); thagzo (weaving). Below right: An exquisite silk textile, all silk yarns, all natural dyes: lac, walnut, madder.
Bhutanese textiles are supremely beautiful, and attract worldwide attention because of the most intricate supplementary patterning of the unique timah technique, the supplementary warp (kishu), and the supplementary weft (hor). Textiles possess great significance with so many Buddhist symbols of ancient believes and traditions. Even today, hand weaves make the best gift for all occasions and are treasured heirlooms. There are several different styles of textiles, but the most complex and highly regarded in Bhutan are the Aikapur and the Kishutara. Above are, two exquisite examples of Aikapur Shinglo Chem. The one below is from the 1940s.
The yathra is a weave from Bumthang, in Central Bhutan. Yathra literally means weave from up/the upper region. The yathra is mostly made of sheep’s wool, generally from horizontal frame looms. It is a patterned woollen cloth, woven in long panels normally 350cm long and 50cm wide. The textile is then sewn into rain capes, rugs, blankets, and different type of clothing. It is not unusual to see yathra material as covers for seats of expensive cars. Traditional yathras have horizontal rows of geometrical, animal and flower motifs (butterflies, lotus flowers, lucky knots, coins, etc.) with in the centre of each panel a large diamond made of little triangles. Variations and more modern designs include all geometrical motifs, flowers on plain color background, and weaves that recall the thengkhep (altar patchwork cloth) or the denkheb (floor rug). The patterns resemble a Tibetan pile rug with the flowers framed in a “janachari” or Chinese wall design. High quality collection yathras from the early 1980s, made of Australian lambswool, and yathras of yak wool colored with natural/vegetable dyes are difficult to find.
About Your Textile and Travel Consultant
* Patrizia Franceschinis TSHERING
* Born: Italy Living in Bhutan
* Married, 2 children
* Management, Legal Adviser
* HRD, Development Policies
* Environment, Conservation
* Women’s Health
* Textile Art, Traditional Textiles
- University of Padua, Italy -‐ Doctorate in Constitutional Law
- Post Graduate Studies in International Relations and Organizations
- Post Graduate Studies in Human Resources Development and Women’s Health
- Certificate: Mountaineering and Trekking Guide
- Weaving and textiles: Design traditional Bhutanese textiles, working with master weavers in Bhutan; lecturing, researching and documenting the art of weaving
Trekking and mountaineering guide, own specialized travel agency in Bhutan and have widely traveled and hiked all over Bhutan for 34 years.
- 1982-2003: United Nations in Bhutan, New York and Laos
- 2003 – to date (ongoing): Small business to design, produce and sell high quality hand woven textiles with the aim to preserve Bhutan’s rich textile art and culture
- 2005‐ to date (ongoing): Company specializing in trekking in the Bhutan Himalayas for conservation enthusiasts.
- 2003-‐2005:Ministry of Labor of Bhutan to develop the first Labor Law of Bhutan
- 2003-‐ongoing: Member of the Executive Committee of Bhutan Tennis Federation
- 2003-‐ongoing: Contributed reports, speeches on democracy, social mobilization, conservation, textiles.
- Complete fluency of English, French, Italian (trilingual)
- Knowledge of Dzongkha (Bhutanese Language), Farsi (classical Persian), and Spanish
Living in Bhutan since 1982, married to a Bhutanese, Patrizia is an enthusiastic collector of textile art and handwoven textiles from South-‐South East Asia. Patrizia applies 21 years’ work in women’s development with international and non-‐governmental organizations with a life-‐long interest in textile design and hand weaving. Working with Bhutanese master weavers and artists for decades, Patrizia uses high quality raw materials and natural dyes to create fabrics that celebrate Bhutanese traditions and heritage
Bhutan Textile Art & Tradition Tour Operated By:
Bhutan Tourism Corp Ltd in conjunction with Bhutan & Beyond
and Patrizia Franceschinis Tshering.
Booking & Enquiry Form:
For all enquiries & to make your formal booking request please complete the online form located below.