AsiaBhutanParo

Prologue

Paro Travel Blog

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Spinning the prayer wheel for good luck in one of the two oldest temples of Bhutan (7th century), Kyichu Lhakhang.

Oh Lord, where do we start with this one?! And from however many years ago?! I believe I'd mentioned at the start of my Iceland blog that I'd been flirting with a visit since 2007. Well, Bhutan falls in the same category. Considering I'm Indian, you'd think I'd be saying I wanted to visit it from the "longest time ever" but no, I frankly didn't even think much about it in my growing years. But it was several posts in Tripadvisor that kept banging on about the exclusivity of the country which then got me thinking "and this thing was in my backyard all these years and I didn't know??!".

Like my Iceland trip, this one also fell into shambles every time I started planning it. And finally this year, when both Sandhya and I knew we'd be in India in December for a family wedding, we JUST knew we were going to do it.

By far, the most lasting impression one has of Bhutan: Tiger's Nest, Paro accessible only by foot (a 4km one way hike)
We invited my parents to join us, who gladly agreed.  

For the wait of over a decade, I have to say the easiest part was getting the travel plan marked out. It's so easy in Bhutan. Most travel, well all travel agencies that cater to foreign tourists are Government certified. Based on the number of days and the type of trip you want, the travel agencies do it all for you. They also book hotels starting at 3 star. They prefer not to book lower than 3 star because, apparently tourism is a big revenue generator for this country, and they survive on good word of mouth. Whilst citizens of 3 countries (India, Bangladesh and the Maldives) don't need to have all of this done before hand, we thought it was a good idea given that my parents were travelling with us, and we'd be foolish to want to do the whole damn thing on our own.

Punakha Dzong
The tour came with our dedicated SUV/mini-van  as well.

I have started writing this blog almost 2 months after our trip. It's a snowy day here in Seattle, I'm still reeling from the Patriots' comeback at last night's Superbowl 51, but the experience of having visited Bhutan still seems so fresh. It's like that wet paint that refuses to dry.

I don't know that I've ever felt so serene and composed during any vacation of mine. The air, the people, the quality of life, the positive vibrations, it's so far removed from the rest of the world. Everyone's quiet, everyone's peaceful, everyone's minding their own business. Even the worst traffic jam caused by a truck that's trying to reverse in a narrow alleyway, and people wait. No one honks, no one yells. It's like they discovered the secret to a happy existence - something which all the first world luxuries and materialistic comforts could never provide me.

Spinning the prayer wheels for good luck, at Changangkha.
I can see why this country measures the Gross Happiness index (or something to that effect). It totally makes sense now that I've visited and experienced the same. It's not even about a strategic view of a happy life, it's as simple as being able to wake up that one day and not think of pending office email whilst having breakfast, or doing a dry run of a presentation in your head whilst at lunch, or planning your next week's performance review discussion with manager whilst at a hot yoga session....  

Like I do for most of my blogs, here's a set of photos that summarise the amazing 10 days we had in the Land of the Dragon. It opened my eyes not just to them, but made me look inwards as well.

cotton_foam says:
"No honks...no yells..." -- beautiful picture...
Posted on: Feb 21, 2017
simsing says:
Congrats on the feature, Vikram!
I loved Bhutan too!
Posted on: Feb 13, 2017
HORSCHECK says:
Vikram, congratulation on your featured blog. Very interesting read and great photos. Well done.
Posted on: Feb 13, 2017
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Spinning the prayer wheel for good…
Spinning the prayer wheel for goo…
By far, the most lasting impressio…
By far, the most lasting impressi…
Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong
Spinning the prayer wheels for goo…
Spinning the prayer wheels for go…
National Memorial Choeten
National Memorial Choeten
Great Buddha Dordenma is a giganti…
Great Buddha Dordenma is a gigant…
Dochula Pass
Dochula Pass
Buddhist monks enjoying a bit of f…
Buddhist monks enjoying a bit of …
Thats about a typical village in …
That's about a typical village in…
Entrance  of the temple at Punakha…
Entrance of the temple at Punakh…
Fancy colourful carvings, Punakha …
Fancy colourful carvings, Punakha…
Punakha: Unfortunately, the whole …
Punakha: Unfortunately, the whole…
Rinpung Dzong courtyard
Rinpung Dzong courtyard
Paro
photo by: Kanya