Like the Prime Minister of Bhutan said, “Our country is not just a place of happy monks, there is a lot more to it”, this tiny nation located on the foothills of Himalayas is no less than a paradise on earth. Known as the “Land of Thunder Dragon” or ‘Druk Yul‘, Bhutan is where you find the most spectacular Buddhist monasteries of the world, the kingdom of clouds, ethereal culture, and extraordinary lifestyle.
Let us have a look at ten different pressing reasons why you need to pack up for Bhutan next time you do think of adventure.
Tiger Nest Monastery: One of the most famous monasteries in the world apparently placed on the rooftop of a shimmering mountain, looks no less than mystery and magic. Stuck like a cliffhanger, a way around Taktshang Goemba in the Paro Valley of Bhutan will give you the most otherworldly feeling you’ve had. Nearby lies the habitat of Royal Tigers and mythical Yetis, across the spiral valley.
Tiger Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang -Source: Wikipedia.
Archery Ground: The most worthwhile moment while wandering the Paro’s weekend market is watching the traditional archery game. Hollywood action hero Steven Seagal learned this machismo heritage trait of Bhutan. People here are still fond of shooting arrows at a far distance, as this sublime sport is said to be the reincarnation of a holy 13th-century Buddhist treasure hunter.
Punakha Dzong: The most stunning dzong of Bhutan, Punakha Dzong is made of towering walls and the lilac jacaranda trees add lush beauty to it. Until the 1950’s it served as the capital and seat of the government, where all the Bhutan’s kings were crowned. In fact, it is still the winter residence of the official monk body. It houses the golden statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. There is a 100-pillar assembly hall that houses exceptional murals taking you back in the mythical history of Buddha. Self-created image of Chenrezig, the most valuable possession of Bhutan is placed in Punakha Dzong.
Textile tradition: The Royal Textile Academy in Thimphu is the place to learn the living national art of Bhutan, thagzo that is weaving. No photography is allowed in this exquisite conservation centre which also creates clothes for the Royals.
Bumthang: Consisting of four major valleys Chokhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume, Bumthang valley consists of the most beautiful temples of Bhutan.
Tango Goemba: In the lush valley of rhododendrons lies the breathtaking beauty of Tango Goema which can only be accessed on foot. In the inner sanctum sanctorum of the halls lies gilded statues of Buddha. This is the place where young monks learn English grammar, Buddhist philosophy, and soccer. Another temple is Pangri Zampa where you will be mesmerized with the consummate chants of monks, blowing trumpets, and acrobatic dance performances. This monastic temple serves as the school of astrology.
Wildlife: Bhutan is a land of exotic wildlife, who roam freely in the Himalayan jungles amidst rich and pure biodiversity. The legend goes that there was a 15th-century divine saint called Lama Drukpa Kunley also known as Divine Madman. The national animal Takin was made out of remains of his lunch. King of Bhutan in 1990s Jigme Singye Wangchuck freed takins from the captivity of zoo.
Traditional crafts and festivals: Thimphu National Institute for Zorig Chusum is the place where traditional crafts are passed on to the next generation. Tsechus is the religious festivals celebrated across the country in spring and gaudy masks worn by performers are created here. Festivals of Bhutan are the most rapturous and splendid sights on this planet. Thimphu Tshechu, Paro Tshechu, Jambay Lhakhang Drup, Punakha Drubchen, and Haa Summer Festival exhibit luscious costumes, mystical masks and brocades, soul-stirring traditional songs, and magnificent sports.
Ta Dzong: This watchtower created in 1649 was to protect dzong, and has been renovated as the National Museum. It has a commendable collection of ancient as well as modern thangkas. The natural history gallery houses a 3D map of Bhutan. There is an underground tunnel for water supply system.
Shopper’s delight: The weekend market in Thimphu is an exemplary souvenir shopping destination. Here lies marvellously aromatic raw spices and interesting flavors. Dried fish, fatty pork, soft cheese, wild honey bottles, curly ferny fronds red rice, ground roasted barley, etc. would be some of the most exotic items ever seen.
Article by mausam.