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Sat, 20 Oct 2018

Northeast Today

A Peek into the Land of Happiness

A Peek into the Land of Happiness
October 27
11:41 2017

September Edition, Travel,  Mayurim Das

Often siblings get motivated by watching the Trippling series. My brother and I were no exceptions. And the motivation got us so high that we immediately planned to pack our bags. My cousin Indrani and brother’s best friend Shamim joined the gang and the destination picked was Bhutan!

Yes, it was an impromptu decision. I personally believe that the longer you spend time in planning a trip, the more are the chances of cancellation. It has to be instant for that kick you see! And of course, we wanted the trip to be budget friendly.

The day we chose for our odyssey was a cold one. We boarded a train from Guwahati to New Alipurduar at around 11.30 pm and reached at 4.15 in the morning. That cold winter breeze, though it was freezing, had a feel of enthusiasm which boosted our spirit. After a short halt, we headed towards Phuntsholing for the immigration check. It took approx one and half hour to reach Phuntsholing by tempo from New Alipurduar town and another 5 hours to reach Thimphu-Bhutan’s capital- by taxi.

We reached Thimphu at around 10.30 pm without any hotel reservations. Adding to the misery was the chill. But all thanks to the taxi driver, Tshring, who was way more humble and helpful and helped us in finding a good pocket-friendly place for us to stay.

The next day we woke up at the dawn’s break and we could see a thin layer of ice on the roads, cars’ rooftops, and houses. But the conjuncture of the warm sun and cool breeze made us way more excited to explore Thimphu.

Our last stop for the day ended at the National Museum to have insights of the art, culture, tradition, and heritage of Bhutan. And indeed it’s rich in all these aspects with people who are hospitable.

For the second day, we planned to visit Paro district which is 50 km from Thimphu and about a one-and-a-half hour drive. Paro is equally a lovely place with the majestic Paro Dzong which was on our way to Paro Taktshang also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is located 10 kilometres to the north of Paro and hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres about 900 metres above the Paro valley. The rocky slopes are very steep and the monastery buildings are built into the rock face. Though it looks formidable, the monastery complex has access from several directions, such as the north-west path through the forest, from the south along the path used by devotees, and also from the north. A mule track leading to it passes through a pine forest that is colourfully festooned with moss and prayer flags.

On many days, clouds shroud the monastery and give an eerie feeling of remoteness. It took us over three hours to reach the monastery. The most important tip for this trekking is to reach the starting point as early as possible because it takes long hours to reach Taktshang. I was apprehensive and intimidated by the thought of walking so much, but all these thoughts vanished with every step that I took. All the fellow people we met while going upwards or moving downwards were optimistic enough to encourage us.

We started trekking towards the Tiger’s Nest at 12 in the noon and reached there at around 3.30 pm, which is quite late. However, we did manage to go inside, sit and meditate for a while as the doors of the monastery close by 4 pm sharp. Another wish in the bucket-list that got checked that day, but with a promise to come back again to spend ample time gazing at the valley and the chain of mountains.

On day 3, we continued to take a stroll through the local market and eat locally. The fairer sex was taking the lead at work pace. Prices are little higher than the actual in everything and there are limited options to choose from the lowest. In terms of food, one can try all the delicacies of Bhutanese cuisines. One highly recommended food joint to give a shot is the Druk Pizza, a small joint located in the high street of Phendey Lam. The other recommendation is to try ZumZin, Raven, and Taksin, which are varied products of fruity wine to the strongest one.

On the fourth day of our expedition, we bid farewell to this incredible place with a heavy heart. The sojourn made us realize the true sense of gross happiness.


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