Morning – Uphill for a spiritual experience
Perhaps it’s the clean air and the pristine beauty of the mountains that made us super active – we decided to start Day 3 with a somewhat strenuous climb on the upper reaches of Thimphu. Our destination was the Changangkha temple, a Buddhist temple established in the 12th century. Huffing and puffing our way up the final flight of steps, we were rewarded with a beautiful sight: crisscrossed strings of Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the nippy breeze, clouds wafting in and out of the valley below, arrays of prayer wheels whirling together in sync. We were not allowed to take the camera inside the sanctum sanctorum (the general rule in Bhutan is that if you are asked to take off your shoes before entering a temple, photography won’t be allowed either). But we did get back with us memories of that surreal and moving experience – the christening of a newborn baby amidst the deep-throated chants of the monks. The idol of the Buddha at this temple is exquisitely crafted.
Walking back to the Thimphu valley, a game of archery at the Changlimithang Archery Ground caught our attention. A group of spectators were cheering on two teams engaged in a duel. Each bull’s eye was followed by a celebration – the team of four matching their dance steps in perfect unison.