Tourism Buddhism – Travel to Bhutan

June 20, 2012

I have been incessantly “pulled-in” to places where Buddha’s feet are ingrained – be it Sikkim, Bihar (Ranchi – my birthplace, now renamed Jharkhand), Bangkok… & now Bhutan, where one of the world’s seven tallest statues of Buddha overlooks, blessing its Gross National Happiness quotient (instead of Gross National Product of the materialistic world!!).

BuddhaBuddha
Bhutan
Ironic?! Not really, as Buddha’s teachings have resonated in each fibre of my living, inclusive of a master such as Osho.
Journey to Bhutan encompasses sensitivity and sensibility of tourist travel at it’s best – following the principle of sustainability, be it environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable – tourism in Bhutan is a regulated effort, only to be entertained if you are accompanied by a registered tourist guide.

Bhutan
More than 70 percent of this tiny Buddhist kingdom is forested and outside our car window scrolled every possible shade of green: emerald rice paddies, thick jungles of wild marijuana, silver fir trees draped in moss, and misty, wooded hills laced with prayer flags and crowned with fortified monasteries, or dzongs.

Bhutan

The local radio station provided the sound track, a strange mix that included a traditional Bhutanese folk song.
Not too many airlines are available, if you want to travel Paro (their only world-connection) from India except National Carrier Druk Air (Druk Jams, Druk Pickles…you have caught it right (Druk) Honey!) – one of the safest airlines in the world.

Druk Air

King & Queen of Bhutan
With only 700,000 people inhabiting the land, a king that is much loved by the people , a national dish of chilli and cheese , and a national animal that looks half-buffalo and half-yak, it is hard not to feel as though you have landed in a tiny magical fairytale kingdom, rightly the ‘Shangri-La.’

Food
Blessed by Guru Rinpoche, Bhutan has the most revered ‘hanging’ pilgrimage sites (only if you have no ‘weak knees’ & can climb steep hill of 3000 mts. high), aptly named Tiger’s Nest. But if can’t (like me), but still want to be blessed with “fertility”(of all variables!) – a visit to at Chimi Lakhang temple, dedicated to a randy medieval monk does more than others – termed “fertility temple” at Ponakha, he’s thought to bless women with children! Every home, every child’s auspicious bracelet, each trinklet is marked with - the Penis!


Understandably, Bhutanese have limited or nil concept of monogamy. Truly liberated!

In every corner of this universe, my search leads me to an undying passion – junk jewellery, art & crafts, of which (as any other) Bhutan has in abundance.

Although defined as one of the safest places to stay in the world, with its elegant heritage properties to host the guests, and a cool weather to match its warmth - I would still define Bhutan as a poor man’s Sikkim.

Bhutan
Cloudy Skies Cloudy Skies

 

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