Bhutan in Pictures : Enter the land of Druk Yul

Bhutan is landlocked country where to the East, West and South lie Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam respectively while to the North, Tibet’s Chumbi Valley sandwiched between North Bhutan and Sikkim.
The most common interpretation of the name Bhutan comes from Bhot-stan which is land of the Bhotias. In Sanskrit, Tibet people were called as Bhotias. This later got corrupted by the early British explorers to call it Bootan or Bhotan.In the Dzongkha Language (offical language of Bhutan), they refer to this land as Druk Yul or land of Thunder Dragon and themselves as Drukpas.

When to visit Bhutan? Bhutan offers choices as per needs and you could choose the seasons indicated below:

Spring (March, April, and May) The time for festivals in Paro, one of the largest monastic festivals, Paro tshechu (festival) take place.
Season for trekkers in moderate altitudes. The temperature is pleasant mild even up to Alpine regions.

Summer (June, July, August) – This time of the year is monsoon, but this should not deter travelers. In the settled areas of central and western
Bhutan pleasant summer temperatures without heat or humidity can be experienced. Rainfalls for short period daily but its manageable with
adequate planning and equipment.

Autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov) – The traditional high season in Bhutan have the highest number of festivals. Trekkers enjoy the clear view of the
mountains in October and low rainfall. Rice harvest means a picturesque landscape, remarkable terraces and changing colour.

Winter (December, January, and February) – The dry and pleasant conditions make this the best time of the year for bird watching in the jungles, village to village trekking in the lower altitude or a bicycle trip along the mountain roads is one way to spend a perfect holiday.

What to see in Bhutan? : Paro , Thimphu, Punaka, DochuLa,Wangdue, Bumthang.

For itinerary, click here

Continue reading on the blog to know more about Bhutan, the last Shangrila

Day 1: After landing in Bagdogra, it was time for us to start journey to Bhutan via Sevoke from Siliguri and reach Coronation Bridge which connects road to Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling. After passing Torsa River Bridge, we came to Jaigon and then reached Phuentsholing by night and checked in to the hotel.

On way to Jaigon

On way to Jaigon from Bagdogra

Tea gardens

Tea gardens

Sunset

Sunset on way to Jaigon

Nearing Jaigon

Nearing Jaigon

At Phuentsholing in night

At Phuentsholing in night from hotel

Day 2: This day was a very spectacular one in terms of feast to the eyes as we were leaving to Paro. After completing the custom formalities (you would require Passport / Voter ID / Driving License for Indians) we got 7 day entry permit into Bhutan. Once the permits were completed, we started our journey via Gedu and the whole scenery got changed with amazing views of valleys and the mountain ranges. We reached Vince waterfalls and was amazing to watch it and enjoy the splendor.  We stopped at the tourist hotel at Bunakha and had first taste of Bhutanese meal but Indian style. In Bhutan, you get all kind of Indian food like Chappatis, Rotis, Sabzi, Dal, Curds etc., Resuming our journey, we came to the highest point on the route to Paro / Thimphu at 8350 feet.

Misty weather

Misty weather after we start from Phuentsholing

Car in mist

Car in mist as we start to Paro from Phuentsholing

Clock tower

Clock tower near Gedu

Landslide place

Landslide place

Falls

Vince Falls

Is that Buddha face

Is that Buddha face?

Lunch at Tourist guesthouse

Lunch at Tourist guesthouse

Rains on the way

Rains on the way

Signboard

Signboard says it all

Heading towards Paro now

Heading towards Paro now

Thimphu gate

Thimphu gate

Electronic signboard

Electronic signboard

Wang Chu river

Wang Chu river

Friendship project

Indo-Bhutan Friendship project over Wang Chu

Paro Valley

On the way to Paro

Paro Valley

Paro Valley. On way to Paro

Paro Valley

Paro Valley on way to Paro

Proceeding further with lot of scenic beauty, we landed at Tachogang Gompha. Gompha is a ‘solitary place’ where monks can isolate themselves from the world for further meditative practices. It is worth to visit Tachogang Gompha. You would be able to visualize with these photographs.

Entry to Tachogang Gompha

Entry to Tachogang Gompha

Tachogang Gompha

Tachogang Gompha

We reached the Thimphu gate and turning left, we entered into valley which takes to Paro and reached Paro by early evening. Checked into the hotel and we were ready to explore the town.

Entering Paro

Entering Paro

Hotel we stayed in Paro

Hotel we stayed in Paro

Day 3: Paro Sight seeing and visit to Taksang Monastry (Tiger Nest). This day, we had a very nice time of getting up early and trekking upto Tiger Nest.

On way to Taksang

On way to Taksang

Taksang Monastery

Taksang Monastery

At Taksang monastery

At Taksang monastery

Taksang Monastry

With the monk

Looks like Dragon hill

Looks like Dragon hill

Rhododendrons in Taksang

Rhododendrons in Taksang

Paro valley enroute Taksang

Paro valley enroute Taksang

Reaching hotel

Valley enroute hotel

Came back to the hotel by afternoon and started on Paro sight seeing.

1. The ruins of Drukgyel Dzong

Ruins of Drukgyel Dzong

Ruins of Drukgyel Dzong

As we drove from Zhiwa Ling we were set with a spectacular view of the surrounding valley the ruins of this fort, which once protected against Tibetan invasions, provides a wonderful architectural insight to the structure of forts in Bhutan.

2. Paro Dzong: It was time to see the beautiful government monument which is an architectural wonder in Paro which is depicted in pictures.

Bridge at Paro Dzong

Bridge at Paro Dzong

Paro Dzong1

Paro Dzong building after passing the bridge

Paro Dzong

Paro Dzong colorful bridge

Entrance to Paro Dzong

Entrance to Paro Dzong

Painting inside Paro Dzong

Painting inside Paro Dzong

At Paro Dzong

At Paro Dzong

3. Paro Airport

This is yet another beautiful building in Bhutan and Paro airport is the only airport in that country.

Paro Airport

Paro Airport – Birds eye view

Paro Airport view

Paro Airport view

Paro Airport Runway

Paro Airport Runway

Rainbow near Airport view

Rainbow near Airport view

 It was time to leave to Thimphu which is 31 kms from Paro.

Thimphu by night

Thimphu by night

Day 4 Thimphu sightseeing:

After breakfast, visited Tashichhodzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King.  Tashichhodzong is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body.  We then went to see the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, with some works dating back several hundred years.  By afternoon, it was time to visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), where a six year training course is given in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Tashichhodzong

Tashichhodzong

Later in the day, we visited Takin Reserve where Takin is an animal which is half goat and half antelope. There is a legend to how this animal was formed and would be a good reason to visit this place.

About Takin

About Takin

National Library

National Library of Bhutan

Takin

Takin

Thimphu Dzong

Thimphu Dzong

Zorig Chusum

Zorig Chusum

We then visited Memorial Chorten followed by the biggest Buddha Statue installed in Bhutan and this place is called as Kuensel Phodrang or Buddha Point. There is another specialty in Thimphu. Exactly @ 5:00 pm, at Thimphu Dzong, they lower the Bhutanese flag for the day and that is a ceremony worth watching. Thus, we spent sometime in Coronation park (The Buddha statue there is presented by Thailand) and later proceeded to Thimphu Dzong to see the flag lowering ceremony.

Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten

Inside memorial Chorten

Inside memorial Chorten

Presiding Diety

Presiding Diety at memorial Chorten

Buddha Point

Kuensel Phodrang

Road from Buddha point

Road from Buddha point

View from Buddha point

View from Buddha point

 

Coronation Park

Coronation Park

Thai Buddha

Thai Buddha

At coronation park

At coronation park

Near Thimphu Dzong

Near Thimphu Dzong

Flag lowering ceremony

Flag lowering ceremony at Thimphu Dzong

Inside Thimphu dzong

Open courtyard at Thimphu Dzong

Inside Thimphu Dzong

Inside Thimphu Dzong

Painting inside Thimphu Dzong

Painting inside Thimphu Dzong

Day 5: Thimphu-Punaka-Wangdue

This day was to be a magnificent day. After breakfast, we drove to DochuLa pass. Dochula Pass which is the most known pass in the Bhutan is just 30 odd Km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way towards central Bhutan. Dochula pass is around 3150 meter from sea level and it’s mostly covered with white clouds, where on a clear day you can see spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges. Dochula pass serves the stop for all the passer by traveling to and fro to punakha and wandgi for a hot cup of coffee well served from the Dochula Cafeteria located just above the Beautiful Dochula Pass.

The 108 Chortens at the Dochula pass gives the passer the beauty of the fresh and high altitude vegetation around, bhutan being the Buddhist country the construction of 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings.The Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens is offered as a tribute to his majesty the king to the selfless service and visionary leadership of His Majesty the King, and now a sacred legacy to the nation and the Bhutanese people, the Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens represent a symbol of appreciation, loyalty, dedication, and love that touches the nation and blesses its people.The 1008 druk wangyel khangzang chortens makes a must visit place for all the people.

We then, headed to Punaka and had a classic visit to this Dzong. This is the most popular Dzong in entire Bhutan and a main one. Worth seeing.

1008 Chortens

1008 Chortens at Dochu La

Traffic on Dochu La

Tourist traffic on Dochu La

At Dochula

At Dochula

DochuLa

DochuLa

Stepped up at Punaka

Stepped up at Punaka

Bridge over Wang Chu at Punaka

Bridge over Wang Chu at Punaka

Punaka Dzong

Punaka Dzong

Inside Punaka Dzong

Wang Chu river near Punaka Dzong

Walk way crossing

Walk way crossing

Entering Punaka Dzong

Entering Punaka Dzong

Stairs at Punaka Dzong

Stairs at Punaka Dzong

Wonderful bridge at Punaka Dzong

Wonderful bridge at Punaka Dzong

 Later in the evening, we went to see Wangdue Dzong which is being renovated by India before retiring to the hotel.

Wangdue Dzong

Wangdue Dzong

Day 6: This day, we started back to Phuentsholing and with an awesome scenery on the way and checked into the hotel later in evening.

Posing at Thimphu gate

Posing at Thimphu gate

Scenery on the way back

Scenery on the way back

Picture perfect for horse

Picture perfect for horse running

Nearing Phuentsholing

Nearing Phuentsholing

Jaigon-Phuent border

Left side India and right Bhutan

Day 7: Time to start back to Bagdogra airport and then to Bangalore

Our dream vacation to Bhutan ended with lot of fascinating and interesting memories.

 

 

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