The Land of Druk

Druk Air is the only national carrier to Bhutan and a Delhi to Paro air ticket can cost you as much as Rs 19,000. If you are taking a car tour around the country, staying in three-star resorts with all meals, a two week trip to Bhutan could cost you around Rs 1.7 lakhs but then, you will be very comfortable. Wifi is available in most hotels but it is a bit slow. Bhutan was a bit chilly even during the first week of April and I realised that I should have brought a light jacket to keep the nippy chill away. The green mountains are full of sheep, horses, buffalos and other beasts of nature. There is public transport like rickshaws and car taxis but as a foreign tourist, I suggest you use a hired vehicle throughout your trip to the country.

At Paro, my driver Roop took special care to show me the hilltop post which is on top of a hill staring at the new Paro airport which the Indian government has promised to build. I clicked away to capture the scene like an excited shutterbug. The other thing to see here is the Administration Building which runs the city of Paro and the entire district. It had a wooden tapestry and a corridor with wooden pillars on either side. I saw a monk walking in haste trying to reach the other end with his maroon robe flowing in the air. He looked divine as I clicked away with my camera.

The other thing that pleased me to no end was that Rajnigandha, my brand of paan masala, was available here and at most shops. I stayed at a resort which was quiet and peaceful. For a few days, I stayed in my room and would wake up only in the late afternoon. I felt relaxed by the air and natural vitality of the country. I would wave at young children running on the street with red umbrellas in their hand.

The architecture and style of houses and monasteries in Bhutan are very similar to the ones that I saw on my journey to Tibet. It is also true that the ancient and almost lost religion of Bon actually originated in Tibet and was brought from there to Bhutan. The use of white, brown, yellow and black paints to decorate the outer walls of the house, the style and intricately carved shapes in the wooden roof of the houses was also classic Bhutan.

So here I was in Druk, the seat of the Dalai Lama and the cradle of the Buddhist faith. Everyone looks like a monk here. Smoking in public is prohibited and you can be fined Rs 500 for it. You cannot smoke even in your car. There are, however, designated places on the street or compounds where one can light up. The food, however, is on the bland side and as an Indian, you will miss the spice, the tank and the zing that one is used to in Indian cuisine.

The cradle of happiness and serenity, my Bhutan!

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