Bhutan Hap­pi­ness Ahead of Ev­ery­thing

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Bhutan is a small king­dom in the eastern Hi­malayas and lies sand­wiched be­tween the two Asian giants — In­dia and China. It pledges to re­main car­bon neu­tral and fo­cus on cul­tural preser­va­tion, sus­tain­able so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion-thus-set­ting high gov­er­nance stan­dards. While trav­el­ling in this mys­tic land, let the de­light­ful col­lage of dense forests, sur­real moun­tain ranges, colour­ful prayer flags, gi­ant golden stat­ues of Bud­dha and the smil­ing faces of the lo­cals help you re­ju­ve­nate your hec­tic city-soul.

It re­mains as one of the most un­tapped des­ti­na­tions among quin­tes­sen­tial trav­ellers from around the world and thus the coun­try is able to re­tain much of its tra­di­tional her­itage and nat­u­ral land­scapes. “Bhutan for cen­turies has been led by our en­light­ened Kings who have worked tire­lessly to im­prove the liveli­hood of its cit­i­zens through self­less wel­fare, and bal­anced de­vel­op­ment by fol­low­ing the mid­dle path of the Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, while coin­ing the de­vel­op­men­tal phi­los­o­phy of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness (GNH),” Karma Lotey –Owner of Yang­phel, an Ad­ven­tureTravel com­pany, said. “We are the only coun­try that has in­sti­tuted a Min­istry of Hap­pi­ness. The pos­i­tiv­ity of the community vi­tal­ity en­sures hap­pi­ness by de­fault to its cit­i­zens,” he added.

Lotey is very pos­i­tive about the im­por­tance of In­dian tourists for Bhutan. “In­dia is a close friend and a brother to Bhutan. Bhutan need not look at tourists from far off na­tions as the most lu­cra­tive mar­ket is just nextdoor. The pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment, the snow peaks, the gor­geous fast flow­ing rivers and the rich cul­ture & tradition appeal to In­di­ans,” Lotey said.

The King­dom of Bhutan serves as an epit­ome of peace and tran­quil­lity. A trav­eller can well ap­pre­ci­ate the Bud­dhist val­ues and cur­tailed ma­te­ri­al­is­tic life­style here. Life moves at a slower pace in Bhutan with no traf­fic lights on the roads. The coun­try rather show­cases spir­i­tual cen­tres typ­i­cally fea­tur­ing Dzongstyle ar­chi­tec­ture.

Paro: Bhutan’s only in­ter­na­tional air­port

A flight to Paro, Bhutan’s only in­ter­na­tional air­port is fa­mous for its chal­leng­ing run­way. Be pre­pared for an adrenalin rush while de­scend­ing! As you leave the air­port behind, a wide ver­dant Paro Val­ley, en­cap­su­lated in a rich cul­ture, scenic beauty and hun­dreds of leg­ends greets you with open arms. The Paro Val­ley is home to many of Bhutan’s old­est tem­ples & monas­ter­ies and is known as one of the most fer­tile val­leys that pro­duce bulk of the fa­mous red rice on its ter­raced fields.

Paro Val­ley is a choice among tourists for the Rin­pung Dzong- a fortress monastery, built at the be­gin­ning of the 10th cen­tury with stones in­stead of clay. The Rin­pung Dzong monastery houses great col­lec­tion of sa­cred masks and cos­tumes dat­ing back sev­eral cen­turies. For ad­ven­ture trav­ellers, Paro also of­fers great trekking ac­tiv­i­ties at the well-known Tak­t­sang Monastery or “Tiger’s Nest”, pre­car­i­ously perched on the edge of a 1,200m cliff.

“Bhutan is a year round des­ti­na­tion,” Lotey ex­plains while ad­just­ing his Gho (a tra­di­tional dress for the men in Bhutan) dur­ing our drive from Paro to the cap­i­tal, Thim­phu. “We have four dis­tinct sea­sons and every sea­son comes with unique at­trac­tions. Sum­mer prom­ises to be a real treat with mist & clouds hug­ging the moun­tains and there is green­ery ev­ery­where that the vis­i­tors en­joy. The winters have clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine re­veal­ing the sur­round­ing snow peaks of the Eastern Hi­malaya. In spring, one can wit­ness flow­ers such as Rhodo­den­drons & Mag­no­lias along with many oth­ers. It be­comes a par­adise for bird watch­ing, botan­i­cal trips and trekking. The au­tumn sea­son at­tracts trekkers & those that love cul­tural fes­ti­vals.” A walk in the cap­i­tal The cap­i­tal city of Bhutan, Thim­phu is a unique as­sort­ment of mod­ern de­vel­op­ment and an­cient tra­di­tions. A walk along the streets of the city will eas­ily un­veil how the city serves as the cen­tre of gov­ern­ment, re­li­gion and com­merce prof­fer­ing as the haven of civil ser­vants, ex­pa­tri­ates and monk bod­ies. Trav­ellers choose Thim­phu as their base camp when they plan a trip to ex­pe­ri­ence Bhutan as the city of­fers ur­ban fa­cil­i­ties such as cafes, bars, night­clubs and restau­rants.

The thriv­ing city of­fers a glimpse of the most im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal build­ings in Bhutan such as the Na­tional Assem­bly and Of­fi­cial Res­i­dence of the King. Apart from this, Thim­phu boasts a num­ber of sites with his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, num­ber of parks and mu­se­ums ded­i­cated to ex­quis­ite Bhutanese tex­tiles and arte­facts re­flect­ing the ru­ral life of Bhutan. Places such as the Folk Her­itage Mu­seum, a tra­di­tional 19th­cen­tury house, the Gagyel Lhun­drup Weav­ing Cen­tre and the Jung­shi Hand­made Pa­per Fac­tory de­pict how sin­cerely the coun­try aims to pre­serve her­itage as one of the four pil­lars of their de­vel­op­ment pol­icy.

Some of the charm­ing walks around Thim­phu would in­clude places such as the Sim­tokha Dzong, Memo­rial Chorten, Tra­di­tional Medicine In­sti­tute, the Na­tional Tex­tile Mu­seum, Trashich­hoed­zong (a fortress of the glo­ri­ous re­li­gion), Tango Goemba, the Zangth­opelri Lhakhang and the week­end mar­ket and hand­i­crafts shops.

The un­seen Bhutan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.