Thimphu is the biggest town in Bhutan. It seems to be in a hurry to become a city but like all the places in Bhutan that I visited it is so beautiful and charming. It didn’t feel like a big city at all.
10. Takin, the National Animal of Bhutan
Takins are weird to look at. It feels like they have a small cow’s body and a goat’s head. It is a goat antelope, whatever that may mean! The legend of Takin goes back to the divine madman of Bhutan Drukpa Kunley. It is said that he was fed a whole cow and a whole goat for lunch. When the bones were left he put the goat’s head on the cow’s body and the Takin was born! There is Motithang Takin Reserve in Thimphu where you can see the national animal with relative ease.
09. The Local Vegetable Market
As we were passing by the local vegetable market in Thimphu, we went and took a stroll. I was amazed as to how clean it was. In fact whatever I saw in Bhutan, it was absolutely clean!
08. Crafts Market, Thimphu
The crafts market at Thimphu is expensive to shop at. People accept Indian rupees everywhere and the Nu exchanges on par with the rupee. Shopkeepers don’t really bargain. An average tourist coming to Bhutan has to spend 250 USD per person per night and I guess that explains the prices and the lack of bargaining. The crafts market is next to the Taj Tashi hotel.
07. The National Memorial Chorten
The National Memorial Chorten is dedicated to the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and to the world peace. It is close to the city center. It is a small monument where you can see a lot of people doing their Buddhist rituals.
06. A Far Away View of Tashichho Dzong
We didn’t had time to go to the Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu. So I had to be satisfied with a far away view. If you peer hard you can see it close to the mountains.
05. Simtokha Dzong, Thimphu
Simtokha is said to have been built in 1629. We did a quick tour of the dzong and it was impressive. The main prayer halls of all the dzongs I visited were no photography zones. The main prayer hall of Simtokha was huge and exuded peace from every corner.
04. The National Library, Thimpu
The National Library at Thimpu is an impressive building. It has a lot books, mostly religious, after all it is the national library. But it has a massive display of pictures on the walls as well. The pictures are of the kings and the dzongs. It was quite an impressive collection. I bought a book from the library called The Dragon Finds its Voice by Bunty Avieson. It was a very good decision to buy the book as it gives a good insight of life at Bhutan.
03. A View of Thimphu City from Buddha Point
Buddha Point gives a beautiful view of the Thimphu City in almost all the directions. When I was there construction was going on at the site.
02. Dochula Pass
Dochula Pass is on the way to Phunakha. It is just outside the Thimphu City. You can visit it as a destination in itself. There is a restaurant at the pass. On a clear day I am told that you can see high mountains. But you know my tale since 2013, all I saw was the clouds!
01. The Buddha at the Buddha Point
And this is the giant Buddha at the Buddha Point. It is an amazing site. I loved it for the atmosphere and the beautiful view of the city it provided.
As you can see from the post, there is a lot to do in Thimphu and I am sure I have just scratched the surface as of now!
PS. I was invited by Makenytrip to Bhutan. And they have got me hooked to the country! While writing this post I must have thought at least a 100 times that I have to go back. Let us see when.
There is something about Paro that makes me calm. Maybe it is the size, it didn’t feel big. Maybe it is the number of houses which didn’t seem excessive. Maybe it is the mountains, maybe the small and charming market. But as soon as we started getting out of the airport I said to no one in particular, “now this is exactly what a doctor would order for the frayed city nerves.” After spending 3 nights at Paro, I have still not revised my opinion. It feels as if no one can strike a discordant note in Paro, Bhutan.
We stayed at the Naksel Resort which is away from the city. But then in Paro, even the city does not feel like city. My room at Naksel was huge and it had a balcony. The nights were so silent that I would leave a small light on in my room, even though I don’t get easily scared! The only hitch in the paradise? The rooms were at a sharp incline and it was a task to walk back after dinner! But it was good in a way, that way we could digest some of the awesome dinner we would gobble everyday!
The highlight of my trip was the climb to the Tiger’s Nest in Paro. If you are even mildly fit you have to attempt it. The walk is steeply uphill but the location of the monastery is amazing. It is perched on the top of a cliff almost floating up there in the clouds! I will surely like to walk this path again with my daughter one day.
The Naksel Resort organized an evening of traditional dances from Bhutan. But let me digress for a moment. At college, a colleague asked me to join the ‘Cultural Club’ as a mentor to which I asked her, “Ma’am do I look cultured to you in any way?” That is the truth about me. I miss out on all the finer aspects of dances and such. And yet it is always a pleasure to watch the traditional dances of a country even if I can understand and appreciate so little.
They called it a market! For me it was a small place to wander! There is more to the market than I could capture in one frame but it was a small, cozy place. But shopping in Bhutan is expensive. As it has a restriction of USD 250 per person per night on tourists from many countries (but not India), the shopping reflects this. But then who wants to shop when one can roam around and click beautiful pictures! The shops had ornately beautiful windows too!
As we were staying away from the city, I could never walk next to the Paro River. It is on my agenda. I also could see the Rinpung Monastery from a distance. But then I have to simply find a way to go back to Bhutan! I am completely smitten by it. I am sure if tranquility had an address it would be Paro!
PS. I was invited by Makemytrip to visit Bhutan and I so thankful that I could easily take leaves and go!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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