Bhutan - The Mystic Land of Happiness

Tripoto
30th Jan 2014
Photo of Bhutan - The Mystic Land of Happiness by Sinjana Ghosh

A place where every building has a story to tell through the exquisite paintings on its walls, where serenity prevails even in the busiest traffic,where strangers greet like they've known each other for ages and man lives in complete harmony with nature despite the progress in technology - that in a nutshell is Bhutan for you. This is a short version of our full Bhutan ititnerary which you can read here - https://www.backpacknxplore.com/2018/06/bhutantourism.html

It was a surprisingly warm day when we reached Hasimara at 1p.m. After immigration formalities and lunch at Jaigaon we set off for our 8 hour long journey to Paro, a beautiful town in the lap of the Paro valley that is home to hundreds of legends from the Bhutanese and Buddhist history.

Bit of snow on the way to Chele La Pass

Photo of Hasimara, West Bengal, India by Sinjana Ghosh

We were late by an hour on our first day of sightseeing and we set off for Chele la Pass, which at 3988m elevation is the highest point on the famous Dantak road. It was a 2 hour uphill drive to this point, a path speckled with scenic beauty of the densely covered forests and view of the snow covered mountain peaks of the Himalayas. The point is marked with colorful flags fluttering in the wind, which are believed to keep demons away and colorful rhododendrons that shine under the bright sun.

Leaving Chele La Pass

Photo of Bhutan - The Mystic Land of Happiness by Sinjana Ghosh

Our next destination was the Rinpung Dzong - the ancient court of justice and administrative building of Bhutan.

Punakha Dzong

Photo of Bhutan - The Mystic Land of Happiness by Sinjana Ghosh
Day 2

Built in the early 17th century on the foundations of an ancient monastery of the 10th century, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual ruler of Bhutan, the Rinpung Dzong consists of the office of the Dzongda ( the district administrative head) and the court of justice of the Paro district.

We then visited Ta Dzong- the national museum of Bhutan situated on the hill above the Rinpung Dzong, which was built as a watchtower during the wars of the 17th century to defend the Rinpung Dzong.

Our last destination for the day was the Kyichu Lhakhang monastery, one of the oldest shrines of Bhutan built in the 7th century. It is considered sacred by the Buddhists and is famous for a pair of evergreen orange trees that bear fruits throughout the year.

Here comes the day that we were most excited about- a 3 hour hike to the famous Taktshang Lhakhang- more commonly known as the tiger's nest. 

Little milestones celebrated on our way to the Tiger's Nest

Photo of Tiger's Nest Hiking Trail, Paro, Bhutan by Sinjana Ghosh

Tiger's Nest, perchep atop the mountain

Photo of Tiger's Nest Hiking Trail, Paro, Bhutan by Sinjana Ghosh

The monastery comprised of eight temples each of which housed hundreds of mystical stories. 

Punakha, the former capital and still the winter capital of Bhutan is endowed with warm temporal climate and the Punakha valey is the abode of the richest soil in Bhutan owing to the natural drainage provided by the two main rivers, Pho-chu(father river) and Mo-chu (mother river).

Day 4

We started off early in the morning at 7a.m from Paro to the capital city Thimphu, where we needed to get the permits. While our driver went off to take the permits, we went to the textile museum on the other side of the road. The museum was built in 2001 by the Mother Queen Ashi Choden Wangchuk, with the objective of sustaining Bhutan's traditional textile art and showcasing the cultural diversity of Bhutan on an international platform.

We then drove our way to the enthralling Dochula Pass, the famous pass between Thimpu and Punakkha that gives a 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan Range.

The Dochula Pass

Photo of Tiger's Nest Hiking Trail, Paro, Bhutan by Sinjana Ghosh

Our next stop was the Punakkha Dzong, the second largest and second oldest Dzong of Bhutan built at the confluence of Pho-chu and Mo-chu rivers on the Punakhha- Wangdue Valley. This is the Dzong where the royal wedding of the present King of Bhutan took place in 2011.

Our last destination for the day was Chimi Lhakhang- the fertility temple located on a hill top in the farmlands of Punakkha.

Our last day at Bhutan was dedicated to the capital, Thimphu that exhibits an unique juxtaposition of modern developments with the ancient traditions.

To know what to do in Thimphu and for more details and travel tips for each place covered in our Bhutan itinerary, do not forget to check out our full article on Backpack & Explore - Bhutan Tour Itinerary

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