Bhutan- ‘Smile, an everlasting smile, a smile could bring you near to me…’
Yes, a smile will greet you in the ‘Happiest Country in the World’. Head to Bhutan with Travelites for a trip of serenity. If you are craving for a quaint spot away from the dirt and grime, then the ‘happiest country in the world’ is where you should be going to on your next vacation. Cosily nestled among the Eastern Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country. We always thought that ‘happiness’ is a feeling or a state of mind but think again; happiness is a place and that place is Bhutan. ‘The land of a thousand smiles’ will change your perspective towards life. The local people call Bhutan as Druk-Yul which translates to Land of the Thunder Dragon. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Did you know that here chilies are in fact the main dish and the rice is red?
So if you want to become one with nature and enjoy and experience the traditional culture, ever-welcoming hospitality and mind-blowing landscapes then do not delay and get in touch with Travelites right now. The country is simply spic and span. Here life silently opens out to the rhythmic beats of customs in the middle of the unspoiled and charming landscapes. This peaceful country has conserved its Buddhist culture but also imbibes the good things of other cultures of other countries. Bhutan can bewitch one and all with its luxuriant and varied forests, green valleys, precipitous mountains and lots of other natural and man-made wonders. This beautiful Himalayan kingdom is covered with magic, mysteries, and mountains. The Bhutanese strictly adhere to their philosophy of Gross National Happiness. This endlessly fascinated country has an astonishing Himalayan scenery. The mountains fan out at all directions and their flanks of the valleys along with the trees seem literally gorgeous.
The beauty of Bhutan is so overwhelmingly striking that it looks like it has popped out of a fairytale book. The massif of snow-crowned mountains under the soaring blue sky and above the shadowy gorges makes the skyline of Bhutan absolutely marvellous. Bhutan is the one and only Buddhist kingdom in the world. Bhutan is called the ‘last Shangri La’ because of its friendly society and pristine environment. Three-fourth of the land is enveloped in forests, and hence absorbs four times more carbon than it produces. The lofty Gangkhar Puensum peak is the tallest Himalayan Peak at 25,000 feet. The massive mountains cradle scenic glaciers between their lateral arms. Bhutan boasts of a magnificent array of flora and fauna. This country also has some rare wildlife which includes Asiatic Black Bear, Asian Elephant, Red Panda, Black Necked Cranes, etc. Bhutan has loads of old dzongs or fortresses and decorative monasteries. Did you know that Tobacco products are totally banned in this picturesque country?
Taktsang Palphug Monastery, Paro – This cliff-hanging Buddhist complex is also known as Paro Taktsang and popularly called ‘the Tiger’s Nest’. This is situated 3120 meters above sea-level. This is a landmark tourist destination of Bhutan. A visit to the awe-inspiring monastery will carve quite a few unforgettable memories and experiences in your life. The imposing vistas of the lofty mountains and jade green valleys surrounding the Taktsang Palphug Monastery give it a majestic look. Rhododendrons and the Blue pines add to its beauty. The magnificent monastery stands in total isolation and can only be reached by a mountainous pathway. There are three paths leading up to this monastery. Paro Taktsang monastery has numerous houses for the monks and four major temples. The prayer wheel is placed in the yard of the temple which is spun by the monks exactly at 4 am to indicate the beginning of the new day. The timings are from 8 AM to 1 PM and 2-5 PM daily during the months of October to March and till 6 PM, from April to September.
Chele La Pass is located betwixt the beautiful valleys of Paro and Ha. Chele La Pass is perched at an elevation of 3810 meters above sea-level. The highest pass in the country is one of the main tourist destinations in Bhutan. This also happens to be the highest motorable pass of the country. The thick dense spruce and larch forests, the two picturesque valleys and majestic mountains greet you on your way to Chele La Pass. This place is also very popular for mountain-biking and hiking. This serves as a vantage point for viewing Jichu Drake and Mount Jumolhari on a clear sunny day. The spectacular landscape of this place blooms with rhododendrons during the months of April to June and is blessed with a very pleasing climate. You can book your trip to Bhutan with Travelites during this time and also during the winter season which lasts from October to March. The summers call for camping and picnicking and the cold winters are for viewing the vibrant landscape clothed in snow. The scenery is amazing at both times; only you have to make a choice.
Punakha Dzong– Set at the backdrop of emerald green hills; this dzong can be said as the most beautiful dzongs in the country. This dzong is located in Western Bhutan. The spring adds wonderful hues to Punakha Dzong and its surroundings. The lilac jacaranda trees look stunning against the white-washed walls of the structure. The official body of the monks known as the dratshang uses this place as their dwellings during the winters. Punakha Dzong has immense historical significance. This is the second biggest dzong in the entire country as well as the second oldest dzong also. Surprisingly this building is built without any nails!! This notable structure houses the majority of Bhutan’s national treasures. This picturesque dzong nestles between Pho and Mo Chhu Rivers of Bhutan and hence you have to cross the ‘Bazam’ to get to it. There are precipitous wooden flights which can be pulled up and there is a hefty wooden door which remains shut at night. Keep in mind to add this place in your itinerary.
Punakha Suspension Bridge – Punakha was once the capital of Bhutan which is at a 3 hours drive from the present capital of Thimpu. This elegant and picturesque town of Punakha has a sensational element in it; the amazing Punakha suspension bridge. This is the second lengthiest suspension bridge in Bhutan. It joins the managerial center of Punakha Dzongkhag with the rest of the valley. This is a bridge made of chains and doesn’t have any wooden suspension below it. Punakha suspension bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. This awe-inspiring bridge is situated high above the gurgling Po Chu River and the length of this bridge is nearly 160 to 180 meters. You will get fabulous scenic vistas of the river, mountains, and valleys from the bridge. The bridge looks beautiful as it’s draped in flags which flutter in the winds. This is a surreal experience for travellers and adrenaline junkies alike.
Dochula Pass can be said as a memorial built in honour of the 108 Bhutanese soldiers who were martyred for their beloved country. This picturesque pass is about 20 km from Thimpu. The 108 stupas are known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens.” The snow-topped Himalayas all around makes this place looks stunning. The beautiful place is peppered with emerald green hills. Situated at a dizzying height of 3100 meters, Dochula Pass wears a totally different demeanour during the winters that you witness through your own eyes. Though it’s not the highest pass it’s undisputedly the most gorgeous and scenic passes in the country. You will get a 360-degree vista of a lot of peaks including the Himalayas.
Phobjikha Valley is an absolute treat for nature aficionados. The valley has a bowl-type contour which is surrounded by the appealing Black Mountains. This gorgeous valley is situated on the fringes of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Lots of feral beauties such as wild boars, red foxes, black-necked cranes, leopards, sambars, Himalayan black bears, etc. are found here. River Nakey Chhu moves along this valley. This scenic valley is called the Gante which is named after the Gangtey Monastery and one fact that this to be mentioned here is this is a glacial valley. Phobjikha Valley is ideal for trekkers. Let me tell me the best time to visit this place is during the months of October, November, and December. There is a crane festival that takes place during November. So if you are there in November do experience it.
National Museum, Paro- Firstly, that I loved about the National Museum of Paro is its unique structure which is conch-shell shaped. This cultural museum was constructed in 1649 and renovated in 1968. This museum houses some finest specimens of Bhutanese art, bronze sculptures, artifacts, and paintings. The beautiful museum has a watchtower which sits atop Paro Dzong. This is truly a pride of Bhutan and a must-see place in pretty Paro. The building is six-storied and each story has a tale to tell. Not only history buffs but everybody will love this place. Here, in this museum, you will get things which are beyond 1500 years old.
Chomolhari or the Mountain of Goddess is a sacred peak of Bhutan. Chomolhari or Jomolhari or “the bride of Kangchenjunga” is a very popular trek route. The route starts from Paro and passes through scenic villages and pastures. This high altitude trek not only passes through beautiful scenes but delves deep in the forest. When you cross the Yale Pass at 4950 meters above sea level, the views will wrap you in sheer excitement. On your trek trail besides getting a view of Mount Chomolhari, you will also get to see Tshrim Khang at 6789 meters and Jichu Drake at 6794 meters.
Buddha Dordenma Statue – Perched on a hilltop in Thimpu, this humongous golden statue of Buddha is a treat to your eyes. This spectacular statue has 1,25,000 little Buddhas concealed in it. Awesome, isn’t it? Buddha Dordenma statue is 169 meters tall. This grand statue which is made of bronze and gilded in gold is situated in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park. This extravagant man-made wonder sits atop a meditation hall.
Do not delay in visiting Bhutan with Travelites.
This is Shayeree signing off for now. But keep reading my blogs without fail at http://www.travelites.co.in/BLOGS/