, is better known as the Country of Happiness
. I never knew this fact before, but Bhutan is the 8th Happiest country in the world, and the most happiest country in Asia. And we could see it there, everywhere. All smiles, everyone seemed happy, even the driver of our bus after he was caught speeding. He happily gave away the fine of Nu 1750 (equivalent to INR 1750).The trip was a kind of a tiny summer vacation for us, since it had been raining fire all over India those days (Last week of May). Once we boarded the flight to Paro (the international airport of Bhutan) from Kolkata, we never saw sweat for the next 5 days. Oh, Indians and Bhutanese don’t need VISA to travel across the borders. Although they check your passports since the immigration authorities would still keep track of your movement, but Bhutan has very friendly relations with India. So much so, almost everyone understand and speaks Hindi quite fluently. The Paro airport is very different from all the other airports I have seen. Although it’s a small one, there was something special about it. A slight drizzle welcomed us as we stepped out of the aircraft. And this is the first photo we clicked.
|Paro International Airport, Bhutan|
And there was a big billboard with a couple’s photo. I tried to figure out what were they advertising, until a few days later, I came to know that the picture was of the King and the Queen of Bhutan.
We then boarded our tour bus, and set off for our hotel in Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, which was our base station for the next 3 days.
The main cities of Bhutan are Thimpu, Punakha and Paro. Punakha was Bhutan’s old capital till 1955. Bhutan is very sparsely populated, and the approximate population of the country is about 7.5 lakhs. The eastern part of the country is where most of the development has happened.
Bhutan’s currency is ngultrum which is fixed to the value of Indian rupee. So, you would not need to carry any local currency. The INR notes are accepted everywhere, and they have exactly the same value.
In a span of few days, we visited dozens of places. Mostly cultural and religious sites, since the ethnic culture has remained intact and untouched by the westerners because of it’s isolation from the rest of the world till 1960s. Rightly so, Bhutan has been named as the The Last Shangri-La.
Travelling to a new country, and not trying out their traditional dress!!! That’s just not possible, especially when your wife is so adamant to getting clicked in the foreign attire. There you go. The dress for the men is called “gho” and for women, it’s called “kira“.
|That’s not a real bull.|
We visited a lot of Dzongs (Fortresses, now converted to administrative buildings), and Monasteries, and other places of importance.
|Paro international Airport, Bhutan|
|A random click from the streets|
I excelled at their National Sports. My second arrow hit the bull’s eye. The wife did terribly bad, and almost missed a live human.
When the 5 days were over, and we were as happy as all the people in Bhutan, we had to sadly depart from Paro. As soon as we landed in Kolkata, we were already thinking about the rising temperatures, office, traffic and such things. That was a well deserved break from our busy life, but a very short one. I hope there would be many more stories and trips soon.