Bhutan is one of the most unique countries that I have been to. The small Buddhist Himalayan kingdom which has an abundance of nature surrounding it measures its wealth through its citizen’s happiness index (Gross National Happiness) instead of Gross National Product index. Through their continuous efforts, Bhutan sets an environmental benchmark as the only country with zero carbon emission in the World. Here are a few pictures from my trip to Bhutan that will inspire you to visit the land of the thunder dragon – Bhutan.
Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’.
The city of Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital has the world’s biggest (169 foot) Buddha statue sitting on a gilded meditation hall. Unbeknownst to many people viewing the statue, they aren’t actually looking at one Buddha, but at 125,000 of them, inside the statue.
Apart from paying tribute to the centennial of the Bhutanese monarchy, the great Buddha statue fulfills two prophecies. The first, prophesied by yogi Sonam Sangpo in the twentieth century, is that a Buddhist statue would be built in the region to “bestow blessings, peace, and happiness to the whole world.” In addition, the statue is said to have been mentioned by Guru Padmasambhava, widely referred to as the “second Buddha” in his eighth-century old terma (teachings).
Bhutan measures its wealth by gauging its citizens’ collective happiness and well-being levels. The kids from the Gaedu College of Business Studies wearing Bhutan’s traditional dresses Gho (for men) and Kira (for women), happily posing for the camera.
The National Memorial Chorten was built at the city center of Thimphu in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo and is dedicated to World Peace.
Dochula Pass, at 10171ft, offers an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayas on a clear day which I was not lucky to witness myself. However, it is also famous for the 108 memorial stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens that is located on the top of the pass. The memorial stupas are dedicated to the 108 Bhutanese soldiers who died in 2003 battle fighting the Indian rebels.
Punakha Dzong is one of the most important Dzongs in Bhutan. This is where the current King of Bhutan, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his beautiful wife, the Queen of Bhutan Jetsun Pema got married in 2011. The most impressive thing about this Dzong is that it was built without the use of any nails.
The most impressive intricately designed wood frames in the world, don’t you think? Made completely without any help from the modern tools inside Punakha Dzong.
A Bhutanese woman selling dried fish at the Saturday Vegetable Market in Khuruthang, located in the small town next to the Punakha Dzong.
Tachogang Lhakhang overlooking the lofty mountains and the gurgling river system is a quaint monastery situated across the main Paro-Thimphu highway. Its most iconic feature is its iron bridge, festooned with colorful prayer flags suspended over the Pa Chuu river.
A Bhutanese man making authentic Bhutanese paper known as Deh-sho at the Jungshi handmade paper factory. This factory still promotes this age-old Bhutanese tradition and produces various products such as stationery and greeting cards along with the paper.
A beautiful village somewhere in the Western part of Bhutan covered in fog. So pure and green.
Bhutanese prayer flags flying in wind at Chelela pass, the highest motorable point in Bhutan dividing the Haa and Paro valleys. The prayer flags come in five colors – blue, red, green, white and yellow. Each color represents the five pearls of wisdom of Buddhism and the five basic elements – sky, fire, earth, water, and air.
Taktsang Lhakhang translates to ‘The Tiger’s Nest’, is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and is one of the holiest sites in the kingdom that clings impossibly to a sheer cliff, 900 meters above the Paro Valley. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. Since then this cave is considered sacred. This beautiful sight greets everyone after a trek of about approx 2-3 hours.
Rinpung Dzong often known as Paro Dzong lights up at night.
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