Resume that travelogue with a visit to Bhutan: Land of The Thunder Dragon

Resume that travelogue with a visit to Bhutan: Land of The Thunder Dragon

The enthusiasm for the fresh mountain air always leads towards the trip and trek of Himalaya. Mostly for the spiritual awakening, travelers prefer to visit Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Uncertainty persists, and covid-19 has made the statement unclouded. The post-pandemic period is completely a silver lining of hope with the addition of wishes and desires to accomplish. Moreover, it’s a perfect patch to resume our travelogue. People always find that places, which are amidst mountains, forests or sea, provides spiritual vibes. So, the mother earth has gifted us several splendid such spots to soothe and calm ourselves. One of them is Bhutan: Land of The Thunder Dragon.

Though, intentions behind the idea of travelling are very subjective affair. At the same time, it is very obvious to see the changes with time. But this new era has brought significant change and it seems to be a universal idea of travelogue.

Before the pandemic, some of the usual ideas were exploring the world, being adventurous, escaping, celebrating, relaxing and rejuvenating. But now, the lesson of the pandemic has taught the value of life and being alive. Undoubtedly, it was the most excruciating and disheartening process. So, the novel intention is very basic that travellers want to follow. That is having the spirit of being alive and to thank the universe for knelling down the fantasy world in the real realm.

“Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now.” – Roy T. Bennett.

Bhutan, the realm of clouds and happiness, is both magical and mesmerising territory. It is a Buddhist kingdom on the eastern end of the Himalayas, known for its majestic monasteries, fortresses, dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys and its sheer remoteness. Its breathtaking and well-pleasuring details make the kingdom an exceptionally refreshing place to visit.

Usually, travellers think that there are many other places somewhat similar to Bhutan. But why is Bhutan always a mandatory title to cover in travelogue? The reasons are here, let’s check some of them.

        To understand its Gross National Happiness philosophy

The Gross National Happiness philosophy is based on four pillars: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance. Conservation of the mother earth is easy to find everywhere in Bhutan. Either it is for forest or native wildlife includes endangered royal Bengal tigers, subtle snow leopards, elegant black cranes and elephants—all can be found roaming freely in the country’s 5 million-acre network of protected areas, is the foundation of having a healthy life.

In a TED Talk of 2016, Tshering Tobgay, Bhutan’s former  Prime Minister said,  “Our enlightened monarchs have worked tirelessly to develop our country, balancing economic growth carefully with social development, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation, all within the framework of good governance.”

·       Religious beliefs

The religion of Buddhism is highly followed by Bhutanese citizens. More than two-thirds of them follow Vajrayana Buddhism (also the state religion) and around one-third follow Hinduism, which is the second most dominant religion in Bhutan. The Bhutanese monasteries are one of the visiting spots for visitors from all over the world.

·       Tourists attractions

Tashichho Dzong, Fortress in Tsirang

Tashichho Dzong - Fortress in Tsirang, Bhutan

One of the largest statues of Buddha made of bronze and gilded in gold towering is located in Thimpu, capital of Bhutan. And the National Memorial Chorten nearby, where Buddhists circle clockwise while performing prayers and spinning prayer wheels gives the vibes of purity. The Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang), which is a beautiful monastery located in the cliff-side of the upper Paro valley, in Bhutan. Some other remarkable destinations in Bhutan are Punakha Dzong, Zuri Dzong Hike, Gangtey Valley and Bumthang Valley. The colourful streets of Trashigang with typical Bhutanese houses are fabulous to experience the positivity of colours. 

·       Culture and society

Gho and Kira, the National Dress of Bhutan

Kho and Kira, the National Dress of Bhutan

Bhutanese tradition is intensely steeped in its Buddhist heritage; it is also in its dressing style. The national dress for men is Kho and for women is Kira. The cultural activities, which include masked dances, dance dramas come with traditional music at festivals. People of Haa and Paro valleys celebrate Lomba, their traditional New Year. For the people of Haa, the Hoentey, a popular buckwheat dumping is an important part of the celebrations. The families get together to observe the New Year and also exchange gifts of Hontey.

And there is a convention in Bhutanese families where inheritance is generally passed through the females rather than the males. That is the daughters inherit their parents' house and the man is expected to make his way in the world and is asked to move to his wife's home. Another discrete feature includes polygamy. Though unusual, it is accepted to keep the property in a contained family unit rather than dividing it.

·       Cuisine

Ema Datchi- National Dish of Bhutan

Ema Datchi- National Dish of Bhutan

Ema datshi is the national dish of Bhutanese. It is a very spicy dish made with cheese and chillies and take great pride in it. Every visitor should give it a try. The citizens also take great pride in asserting that Bhutan is the first country in the world to forbid the sale of tobacco under its Tobacco Act of 2010, hence anyone can ensure clean and fresh air.

Though, Bhutan is welcoming the visitors, still following some limitation and regulation. Such as charges for visitors from most countries need to pay a fee of $250 a day to obtain a tourist visa and register with a tour operator and guide. The kingdom comes under one of the few places where an Indian traveller (or indeed one from any SAARC nation) may get a free entry upon arrival. A valid passport or Voter ID is enough and required. As we know, it shares its borders with China in the north and with India on the eastern, western and southern sides. A daily sustainable development fee of $65 also comes with the package. The amount goes towards funding education, healthcare, and poverty improvement; along with the building of infrastructure to provide accommodation for growing tourism. So in this way, tourism assists the country’s economy which is vastly based on farming and forests only. In return for this small help, the travellers are getting lifetime and enchanting blessing of the magical country.

“If you know what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”- Buddha

However, politics have divided the globe into multiple states. Even though, we may find natural connection among Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet territories. All three of these lands have been mostly isolated from the outside world for centuries. But they are close to each other due to their unique locations surrounded by the mystic mountains. And although each of these lands is very distinct in terms of its identity and history, they do have some similarities in terms of culture, beliefs, and way of life too.

The tour of Himalaya connects Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. While Tibet, known as Roof of the World, shares borders with both of these countries, Nepal and Bhutan are only separated by the Indian state of Sikkim. Tibetans and Bhutanese are heavily influenced by Buddhism. And we use to admire the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal. It clarifies the religious relation among the countries. All of the three countries are also worldly famous for their stunning natural beauty. If Bhutan is known as the world’s only carbon-negative country, then Nepal and Tibet are also well-acknowledged for the conservation of the environment.rtress in Tsirang