Nestled in the southern slopes of the Himalayas, the landlocked Kingdom of Bhutan will take you back in time with its ethnic grandeur and unspoilt cultural heritage. You still wouldn’t find traffic intersections or red lights in any of its cities, and you’d notice people go to office wearing the traditional Bhutanese dress (Kho and Kira). So, whether you are looking for some adventure, or just a space to relax amidst serenity —Bhutan is the place to be in.
Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, has no skyscrapers. All buildings are constructed in traditional style. A major attraction in Thimpu is the Tashichho dzong. A dzong is a type of fortress. Located on the banks of Wang Chhu River, Tashichho dzong was built in 1216. Paintings of Guardians of the Four Directions welcome the visitors at the entrance, while Buddhist chants are decorated in parts of the monument. It is the office of the king of Bhutan. The dzong also has a tower that houses a huge statue of Buddha.
Another attraction, the Folk heritage museum, is housed in a building made of timber and wood, and gives an insight into way of living of the Bhutanese people. To check out the national animal — Takin, visit the Takin’s mini zoo.
Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan is home to one of the biggest dzongs in the area. On the way to Punakha one crosses the Dochu La Pass, one of the highest points in the country. Here, you can see the 108 stupas (a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics), and colourful prayer flags cheering up the serene surroundings. The majestic Punakha dzong is located on the banks of rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu.
This city is home to the only airport in the country. Since archery is the national game, you can often catch youngsters indulging in the sport. Taktsang, popularly known as The Tiger’s Nest, is a monastery situated on a cliff in Paro. A trek to the Tiger’s Nest is not easy but you can also hire ponies. Surrounded by waterfalls on both sides, the view is spectacular. Monks, who live here, give lockets with prayers to visitors on giving some amount of offerings.
Bhutan at a glance
How to Reach: Travel website MakeMyTrip.com has tied up with the Bhutan Government and the Bhutan airlines, and introduced an exclusive charter flight, inclusive holiday packages for Bhutan. Druk Air has flights from Delhi (Around Rs 20,000 for round trip). No visa required for Indian citizens.
Where to stay in Thimpu: You’ll find both luxury and budget hotels in Thimpu. For Luxury, one can stay at Taj Tashi (Tel: (975-2--336-699 ). Room rates start from Rs 20,000 (depending on seasonal availability). For Budget stay places such Hotel Ghasel (Tel: 975-2-323-341 ), Yeedzin Guest House (Tel: +975-2-322-932) amongst others, offer a choice of rooms at rates starting at Rs 3,000 and above.
What to eat and drink: Yak milk cheese and butter is a Bhutanese food speciality. A must try are the Cheese momos and Ema Dashi (dish of chillies and cheese). Don’t miss the traditional salty butter tea made with yak milk.