This March I went to Bhutan for five days. The trip was with a large group of about fifty people – my father’s colleagues and their families. The journey started on a Thursday, when we had to go to the Mumbai airport to board our flight to Kolkata. I was very happy to meet my friend Aakash at the Mumbai international airport and I forgot that my sister was not there with us, as she was busy preparing for her Board exams. We reached Kolkata and stayed in a hotel for the night before leaving for the airport the next morning to go to Paro.
When we reached Paro in Bhutan the first thing everyone in the plane did was change their time 30 minutes ahead from the time in India. Our hotel was all the way in Thimpu. We stayed in Taj Tashi which was one of the best hotels in Thimpu. As soon as we reached it was lunchtime. The cuisine of Bhutan was very spicy. After lunch we went to the highest peak in Thimpu which had a 169-foot statue of Buddha Dordenma. After having a good view of the Buddha we went to see the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin. The Takin is an animal that can only be found in Bhutan and nowhere else in the world. That night we watched a cultural programme hosted by Taj.
Next day, we started our journey to the Dochula pass where we saw a 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains. This place was created for the people who died fighting against people who were staying in their country illegally. We then finally went to the Punakha valley. This valley has a temple on its peak which is called the Khamsum Yule Namgyel temple. Unlike any of the other places we visited we had to walk up this valley. The mountain was not as tall as we expected it to be and we reached the top in only 40 minutes. I was the youngest and first one to reach the top of the mountain with my father. The way down was a lot more exhausting than on the way up but the view while coming down was beautiful. After a long drive we reached the Punakha Dzong. A Dzong is a kind of fortress monastery which was built to protect the locals from Tibetan invasions. It has pictures and idols of people who have protected and contributed to the country.
The next day we left to go back to and visit Paro. We stayed in a beautiful hotel called ‘Le Meridian’. The first place we visited was the Rimpung Dzong. This was very similar to the Punakha Dzong we saw earlier. In the Dzong we saw the idol of the future Buddha who is going to be born in Bhutan in a 100 years time. We came back to the hotel immediately because we needed a lot of rest- the very next day, we were going to the highest temple in Bhutan.
The night passed by very fast and we were on our way to the Tigers Nest monastery in Paro. It was a 3 hour trek to the top of the rocky mountain where the monastery has been built, with a cafeteria rest at the halfway point. The view was amazing. This was one of the most memorable parts of our Bhutan trip and after this trek everyone had a huge sense of accomplishment.
We loved Bhutan but it was finally time to leave. The place was so interesting and was surrounded by nature on all directions. Bhutan is a memory that I can never forget and I am looking forward to visiting this beautiful country once again to enjoy the beautiful mountains and valleys.
-Advait Variyar, VI C