April 3, 2020
Travelling to the tiny state of Bhutan had always been on my Travel list. With flight and hotel bookings done, I just could not wait for the day when I would land in one of the most dangerous airports on the face of our planet. Paro airport in Bhutan is nestled among hills in the Paro valley. The approach into the airport is quite tricky which only a few selected pilots have mastered. Once in Bhutan, you are in a different world, which one ought to experience.
Bhutan, on the foothills of the Himalayas is a small country with humungous values. It is a country where less is more. Less is the population more is the happiness. Less are the number of vehicles on roads more is the clean air to breathe. The adage, ‘we learn from little ones’ fits the bill in case of Bhutan. A small country sandwiched between giants offers a lot to be learnt from. A peace loving country which believes in happiness as its index and not wealth. In today’s world where Economic prosperity is paramount, here we have Bhutan which considers being happy and content is far more important than Economic prosperity.
From the moment one steps into Bhutan, the feeling of freshness is palpable. The food here is organic, the river waters are much cleaner, and the air is far purer than in most of our Indian cities. While most of the cities around the world are grappling with vehicular pollution, Bhutan sets an example by being the only country which does not have a traffic signal – all thanks to the number of vehicles on roads. With smiling people all around it’s a quintessential piece of Earth where one can find peace and harmony. No matter what riches you possess there is a sense of equality in Bhutan, this is evident as all the buildings look uniform. You cannot construct more than 7 floors in Bhutan. There is no one living on the streets, neither do you find any beggars. Can this not be equated to an ideal place where one should dwell?
Bhutanese men and women wear their traditional attire which is the Gho and the Kira respectively, they look so daintily dressed and can easily out smart people who prefer branded dresses from city malls. You will realize how miniscule your thoughts are should you prefer branded clothing. We need to be humble in our deeds rather than being extravagant. This tiny paradise preaches thus. The citizens also maintain very clean surroundings. The roads are free of garbage, no papers or plastic flying over your face. No red betel nut markings on the walls and streets. No honking on roads. All this makes me wonder are we really civilized? I have given up on this thought though.
Bhutan, offers some of Nature’s best kept secrets. We travelled to Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. Each place is equally mystical in its true sense. While in Thimphu the capital city, one can visit the Doderma, the memorial Chorten, the Royal Bhutanese Zoo, the living museum and the Semthokha Dzong. In Punakha, one can visit the Punakha Dzong, the Suspension Bridge which is close to the Punakha Dzong and the Fertility temple which is at a secluded place among paddy fields. Paro offers the crowning glory – The Tiger’s Nest. This is a monastery which is perched high up on a cliff. The path leading to the Tiger’s nest is arduous, you will find it rewarding as you reach the monastery. The Kiychu Lakhang the oldest Monastery in Bhutan and the National Museum are worth the visit while in Paro.
Bhutan, is every travelers’ delight. It’s a place where one needs to go to re-discover the true essence of life. Our agent booked us some of the best hotels, we savored the Ema Dashi and the Kwa Dashi – Bhutanese traditional delicacies. We got dressed in the Gho and the Kira to look like the Bhutanese. We tried to capture as many memories of this paradise as possible into our camera lenses. But, there was one thing which was common in all of us as we boarded the return flight – our hearts were overwhelmed with the fact that we would miss those joyous moments etched deep into our hearts. But then, as Arnold Schwarzenegger once told in ‘The Terminator’, we said to ourselves – ‘I’ll be back’. Hastalavista Bhutan.