Bhutan – The Land of Happiness
“One of the richest country in the world, not by wealth but by heart”
A country that emphasizes happiness! A country that gives utmost importance to minimalism! A country that measures the quality of life of its citizens!
Sounds surreal, isn’t it? Well, the reality is Bhutan is as amazing as it sounds! Apart from being surreal and having stunning landscapes, the people are friendly and genuinely happy!
My visit to Bhutan just before the pandemic hit us was an all-ladies experiential trip.
I was astounded by the way of living and the beauty the country has to offer!
It was a truly engaging trip… considering the fact we were 8 ladies, all strangers! We had never met each other before this trip and were introduced to each other at the Paro Airport. We had signed up to stick around 24×7 for a week and there was no escape route!
And what a trip it was…. A week of bonding, drinking, shopping, sharing our lives, adventure….. We made memories of a lifetime!
A week without the worries of routine life and family, bonding with people I didn’t know and probably wouldn’t ever meet again! No one to judge, no one to care about! Hayee! that sounds like a dream! Fortunately, I did live this dream!
Quick Trivia: Paro is considered to be one of the most dangerous airports and there are only 17 qualified pilots in the world who are allowed to land there. Also, the world’s shortest runway is in Paro.
So, on our first day, we had the flag tying ceremony on the bridge of Takchogang Temple, it was serene and had an absolutely calming effect on our minds. Driving to our hotel in Thimphu and en route stopping at Café Champaca for croissants and coffee was rejuvenating with the rains pouring. We even had some cutie cats for company jumping from one sofa to another. The evening was a relaxed one over our first Bhutanese traditional dinner, savouring the local delicacies and also trying to adapt to the taste of the cuisine. Bhutanese cuisine can be really spicy or really bland, they have the splendid signature dish which is Emadatshi, it is like achar we have back home red chillies n yak cheese cooked together to a perfect amalgamation which is so delectable. Just savouring that with steamed rice is good enough and soulful!
The next morning we went to Buddha Point and got to witness some spectacular views of the region. Did you know, the worlds largest Buddha statue is here and is taller than Rio’s Christ the Redeemer and the Statue of Liberty. We also visited a local monk school and offered some biscuits and tea to the monks there and interacted with them. It was harmonious. Getting adventurous our next activity was going biking….. some of us had never got on to a cycle for almost 20 years or more, including me… but it was so much fun being a young girl again, forgetting everything and just cycling on the clean streets, with the cool wind blowing on my face and serene views to witness.
Did you know, Thimpu post office can customize your own stamps and you can post letters or postcards of your choice with your customized stamp! Isn’t that so cool! I got some own printed and send postcards to my children… it was such a unique experience.
Chimi Lakhang, one of the highlights of the trip, is a monastery for getting blessings of fertility for the lady!
A striking fact, Bhutan practices a tradition of worshipping the most beguiling of objects: the phallus. It is everywhere, in all colours, shapes and sizes. Some weird, some tiny, some ornate, ok, ok ok, lemme not get into the detailing. So Chimi Lakhang is the temple of fertility, many people seem to have benefitted across the globe and got blessed with children after paying their respects here.
Another quick trivia: Bhutan is the only nation in the world where the sale of tobacco is banned. Bhutan is the world’s only carbon sink, that is – it absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. Can you imagine how clean the air is! Pure Oxygen!
What more does a girl want than to play dress up and click a hundred pictures! Getting dressed in Bhutanese finery and going click click click was so much fun! & To add to the drama we had an archery competition amongst the girls …. It was definitely a memorable activity to do!
Another activity that really stood out for me was a hot stone bath to soothe those sore muscles. It is an experience, which has to go on the #mustdo list! Don’t come back home without one!
Bhutanese people are absolute minimalists, they have absolutely no ceremonies or celebrations. Their weddings are the epitome of simplicity and have no fancy dinners. Well, most people don’t even announce their wedding start living in together and whenever convenient or maybe after a baby has arrived they inform the parents and immediate family! Also considering the fact that Buddhism is the official religion and everyone follows it, there is no custom of arranged marriages there, everyone finds their own partners and they are happily accepted by the family.
Now, this is exceptional….The eldest daughter of a family inherits the ancestral house and not the eldest son.
They do not really believe in Digitalization but because of the world moving ahead of them they have adapted a bit, but it is only as much as necessary and most of them stay away from the internet and it is still not as popular. They rather live Real life!
Bhutan definitely has so much more to offer, it’s about finding what you would love to do.
I so look forward to going again and making more memories in the land of Happiness! I will wait to hear from you on your experiences of Bhutan