The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia

Tripoto
Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar
Day 1

There are only 2 cities in India from where you have direct flights to Bhutan, namely Delhi and Kolkata.
Being from Bangalore,my family and I flew down to Kolkata and then to Paro. The Paro airport in itself is a gorgeous site. The landing in this airport is amongst the toughest in the world and only a handful of pilots are trained to do this. The airport is situated in a valley an is absolutely breathtaking.

This is the view right before landing in Paro!

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The quaint little Paro airport

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The airplane that looked like a small toy

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The gorgeous Bhutanese architecture of the airport

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The minute we got into our car one couldn't resist taking a picture every 5 minutes as every house seemed to look straight out of a painting.

A building enroute to our hotel

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

A house enroute to our hotel

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

We then proceeded to freshen up and we headed to Paro town,that had a small street filled with shops full of trinkets and souvenirs.

Souvenir shops

Photo of Paro Town, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Paro Town, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We then headed to a Buddhist temple, Kichu Lakhang.
The colours and the architecture here simply amazed me. The prayer wheels located around the temple are for those who aren't literate and hence cannot recite prayers from the scriptures. It is believed that by turning the prayer wheels one has the same effect as that of chanting prayers out loud.

View of Kichu Lakhang

Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Marvelous Bhutanese Architecture

Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Buddhist prayer wheels

Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We then stopped by a small restaurant opened within a house for a traditional Bhutanese Lunch, after which we went back to the hotel and had fun in Paro Chu, (the river that flows through Paro) for a while.

Photo of Paro Chu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

View of Paro Chu

Photo of Paro Chu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Paro Chu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Day 2

This was the day we did the famous Tiger's nest trek, Paro Taktsang. It took us around 3 hours to climb up and 2 hours to climb down. There is a small break point half way that has a cafe with an indoor as well as outdoor dining area. It serves bread,coffee,tea ,rice along with mashed potatoes and soup.

The small white structure on top of the mountain to the right is the monastery. This is the view from ground level.

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Views along the trek

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

It's getting bigger!

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Almost half done!

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The cafe at half point

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Outdoor Dining

Photo of Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We were then informed by our guide that the next half consisted of a total of 700 steps. 400 descending and 300 ascending. This was a beautiful climb,the junction between the descent and the ascent consisted of a bridge filled with flags. The further we climbed up,the chillier it became.

Flags tied along the way

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The view of the Monastery

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The bridge at the junction!

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

This is the monastery where the monks currently reside,the main monastery doesn't have monks residing in it

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

The monastery consists of around six temples which each worship different forms of Buddha. The best part was the butter lamp room. The monastery has in the past caught fire twice due to butter lamps left unattended,which is when they decided to build a separate butter lamp room for all the lamps. In the midst of the cold,chilly winds, entering this warm, bright room truly feels as though you are entering heaven.

After completing this trek,we visited the Drugyel Dzong,( dzong translates to fort)which was unfortunately under restoration hence we couldn't see it in all it's glory.

View of the Drugyel Dzong

Photo of Drukgyel Dzong, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Snuck in within the ruins of the fort undergoing restoration

Photo of Drukgyel Dzong, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Road leading away from the Dzong

Photo of Drukgyel Dzong, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Day 3

This day began with us visiting Rinpung Dzong. This houses the district monastic body and the administrative offices of Paro. It was so quiet we wondered whether we had come on a holiday,to which our guide laughed and said "no no see its crowded outside the courtroom". We turned around to see exactly 2 people standing outside the court.
Fun fact : Population of Bhutan 8 lakhs
                   Population of Bangalore 1.23 crores.
We got a chance to enter the small monastery within the Dzong during a prayer session which was an experience I will never forget. I never knew chants in a different language that I don't even understand could make one feel so spiritual.
We then took a  walk across the Nyamai Zam, a wooden bridge rebuilt after being washed away by a flood in 1969 that is built across Paro Chu.

We then visited the museum , that was coincidentally celebrating 50 years of friendship between India and Bhutan! There was a strict no camera policy in the museum,but it mainly consisted of displays of the different masks,and how each mask expressed a different vice, that we humans must strive to get rid of.

Spy holes in the fort for soldiers to guard the fort

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Entrance of the Rinpung Dzong

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Interiors of the Dzong

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The Buddhist wheel of Dharma

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Bhutanese architecture at it's best

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Inscriptions on a wall

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The staircase leading down from the back of the fort.

Photo of Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Nyamai Zam

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

After this we drove down from Paro to Thimpu and on the way stopped by the famous iron bridge that is several centuries old. It is said that the flags of different colors represent different elements such as Sun,Water,Earth,Sky etc. The flags tied spread Goodwill of people across all lands through the wind.

Iron bridge

Photo of Tachog Lhakhang Old Bridge, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The multicolored flags

Photo of Tachog Lhakhang Old Bridge, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We reached Thimpu by lunch and had traditional Bhutanese momos for lunch at the Thimpu Clock tower square. We then went to the Thimpu post office that is known for creating stamps with a picture of your choice on it!
We further roamed around the Thimpu trade market  and then headed to the Tashi Cho Dzong- the house of the Secretariat, the king's Throne and other administrative offices.

Thimpu trade market

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Various masks to keep evil at bay

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Eye spy ????

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Interior of the Tashi Cho Dzong

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Tashi Cho Dzong

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Clock tower square at Thimpu

Photo of Clocktower Square, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar
Day 4

This was our last day in Bhutan. We headed out first thing in the morning to visit the Great Buddha Statue.
It stands tall at a whopping 169 ft surrounded by various forms of Tara ( a representation of the various forms of Buddhist values).

Tara

Photo of Buddha Point, Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The Buddha at Buddha point,Thimpu.

Photo of Buddha Point, Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We then visited the zoo,where saw the national animal of Bhutan ,Takin. After this we headed to the memorial  Chorten. This has 3 stories all of which are accessible from the inside. It even has a balcony on top from where one can view the entire complex. This stupa is unlike the others as it does not enshrine human remains,it only has a picture of Druk Gyalpo framed in the first storey.

View from the balcony

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

Chorten Memorial of Thimpu

Photo of The land of the thunder dragon,Druk Yul! #nearindia by Trisha Amalnerkar

Our next stop was at Simply Bhutan. An interactive set up to experience Bhutanese culture and to explain the history of Bhutan.

An ancient Bhutanese Kitchen

Photo of Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Spices hung out to dry

Photo of Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

It is said that if one can throw in 4 coins in a row into the golden tumbler,good luck will come your way

Photo of Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Different bottles to store wine.

Photo of Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Grinding mud to make it finer. They sing a song asking God for forgiveness because of the worms that they are harming while doing this

Photo of Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

We ended our day by visiting the Changangkha Lakhang , a fertility temple as well as a temple where babies are brought to be named or even to just pray for their good health and long life.

The temple overlooks the mountains

Photo of Changangkha Lhakhang, Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Entrance of the temple

Photo of Changangkha Lhakhang, Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

View of the temple

Photo of Changangkha Lhakhang, Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

Small Buddhist prayer wheels

Photo of Changangkha Lhakhang, Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

A monk playing with a baby outside the temple.

Photo of Changangkha Lhakhang, Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan by Trisha Amalnerkar

The next morning we flew out from the Paro Airport. Looking out of the car window on the drive back from Thimpu to Paro,spotting the royal baby smiling at me from a hoarding I realized how special this country was,using happiness index as a measure of success,the driver singing along to Aamir Khan and Salman Khan songs,tucked away between mountains,most of us being oblivious to this tiny ,warm and happy country.

Be the first one to comment