Bhuddhist Himalayan Kingdom : Bhutan

Bhutan, a land of monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic topography ranging from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.

Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact. Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage.The national dress for Bhutanese men is the gho, a knee-length robe tied at the waist by a cloth belt known as the kera. Women wear an ankle-length dress, the kira, which is clipped at the shoulders with two identical brooches called the koma and tied at the waist with kera. An accompaniment to the kira is a long-sleeved blouse, the wonju which is worn underneath the kira. A long-sleeved jacket-like garment, the toego is worn over the kira. The sleeves of the wonju and the tego are folded together at the cuffs, inside out. Masked dances and dance dramas are common traditional features at festivals, usually accompanied by traditional music. Energetic dancers, wearing colourful wooden or composition face masks and stylized costumes, depict heroes, demons, death heads, animals, gods, and caricatures of common people. The dancers enjoy royal patronage, and preserve ancient folk and religious customs and perpetuate the ancient lore and art of mask-making.

Bhutanese architecture remains distinctively traditional, employing rammed earth and wattle and daub construction methods, stone masonry, and intricate woodwork around windows and roofs. Traditional architecture uses no nails or iron bars in construction. Characteristic of the region is a type of castle fortress known as the dzong.

Places of Visit during our travel were:

  1. Phuentsholing (border town of Bhutan with India)
  2. Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
  3. National Museum, Paro
  4. Paro Dzong
  5. Buddha Point and BBS Tower, Thimphu
  6. Punakha Dzong
  7. Dochula Pass (between Thimphu and Punakha)
  8. Haa Valley
  9. Chele La Pass (highest road pass in Bhutan, between Haa and Paro)

You will fall in love with:

  1. Mother Nature, the Himalayan range
  2. Rich Culture and Tradition
  3. The people, their hospitality ( why are the girls so pretty?? ❤ 😛 )
  4. Ema Datshi (national dish of Bhutan – It is made from chili peppers and cheese; “ema” means “chili” and “datshi” means “cheese” in Dzongkha. This is for the Chili lovers only 😀 ), Koka Noodles, Momos, Paneer items too.

Key points to note:

  1. Indian Debit/Credit cards do not function in Bhutan, Hence carry hard cash. Denominations of any value below 500 are accepted, except coins.
  2. Hire a vehicle in India for the entire trip. This gives you flexibility of travel.
  3. Immigration office is closed on Saturday and Sunday, plan your entry accordingly. Mid week is best to enter Bhutan as the immigration office will not be crowded.
  4. Full arm tops and full length bottoms are a must in all monasteries and dzongs.
  5. Shopping is expensive, except for prayer flags. Bargaining is highly recommended.
  6. Restaurants serve good food, Indian cuisine is available in many places. Serving time varies strictly from 30-45mins as they prepare everything from scrath after you order, hence make sure you are not in a hurry.
  7. All commercial establishments work majorly during 10.30am – 8.30pm, hence plan all your food and other activities accordingly. I would suggest you to make your own breakfast with breads, etc so that you can plan you day activities early without being hungry.

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