Breathtakingly beautiful Bhutan enjoys nature’s generous bounty
Bhutan- the last Shangri-la on earth
Bhutan is a small land-locked country located in the north- east side of India. China is located on its north and other three sides are covered by Indian territories. Nepal is at its west, separated by India’s Sikkim state, farther south is Bangladesh beyond Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. Breathtakingly beautiful Bhutan enjoys nature’s generous bounty. The land of ‘thunder dragon’ Bhutan has ancient temples and fortresses and its rich treasure of the culture. It fits description of Shangri-la to the boot, as depicted in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon.
In 1974 Bhutan came out of self-imposed isolation and started promoting tourism discreetly. They love their culture, natural habitats and heritage so much that they are still careful about volume of tourist inflow. Visa for all is mandatory to take, except for the citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives.
How to reach
Air- Paro International airport is located deep in a valley 2,235 meters (7,333 feet), and is surrounded by imposing mountains of 4,900-meter height. Druk Air of Bhutan is the only way to fly in and out. It’s connected to Indian cities Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati, Bagdogra and Gaya; Bangladesh, Nepal and Singapore.
Train– Nearest railway station is Hasimara, from here distance of last Indian town Jaigaon is 15 km, from Jaigaon to Phuntsoling is 4 km, Thimpu (capital of Bhutan )from here is 164km.
Road– Road journey to Bhutan’s bordering town Phuntsoling is scenic. Distance from Siliguri to Jaigaon is 94 km.
Capital of Bhutan was established as the capital in 1961. It has colorful weekend market and quirky shops, museums and landmarks like the National Memorial Buddhist Chorten that is built by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This small city is without traffic lights. Amazing? Surly it is!!
Thimpu is a perfect showcase of Bhutanese culture. Exotic national dress code, dances, media and monastic traditions. Tshechu is an important 4- day festival performed with jest in autumn. A famous mask dance Cham dances are performed in the courtyards of Tashichho Dzong.
High above the Paro valley tucked at 3,000m, this monastery is known as Tiger’s Nest. It was built in the 8th century, when legend has it the 2nd Buddha, Guru Rimpoche, meditated here. For Buddhist pilgrims this is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayas. For any onlooker this place is amazingly panoramic.
This splendid glacial valley lies at an elevation of 2900m. After climbing up through dense forests enriched with flora and fauna, you will be startled to find open expanse of dwarf bamboos. The valley has two beautiful nomadic rivers, Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu. Overlooking this almost flat valley is the village and monastery of Gangtey. Regarding its fascinating wild- life the black-necked cranes, barking deer, wild boars, red foxes, leopards and Himalayan black bears, are exemplary.
Tashicho Dzhong was originally built in 1641. Known as the ‘fortress of glorious religion’, It was rebuilt in 1952 by the third king and is now used as the seat of the Royal Bhutanese Government. Situated in beautiful gardens, it is also the summer residence of the central monastic body.
Jigme Dorje Wangchuk National Park
A remote village in the Rukha is a hidden wonder. Accessible only by a precarious rope bridge, Experience the other face of Bhutan’s hospitable rural community.
Activities when in Bhutan
- Hiking & Camping expeditions
- Nature & Wild life tours
- River rafting and tubing
- Kayaking & Canoeing
- Horseback riding tours
- Scenic drives
- Ethnic shopping & tasting Ethnic food
Few interesting facts about Bhutan
- Bhutan’s king is Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, in 2008 Bhutan transited from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy.
- In 2006 Bhutan was world’s 8th happiest and happiest Asian country.
- TV and internet opened up in 1999 by government of Bhutan for all.
- Druk Air has fleet of 5 planes and to 10 destinations it has its services.
- Vajrayana Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan and Hinduism is second after this.
- Bhutan’s main language is
- Buddhism was introduced in 7th century by Tibetan king Songstan Gampo.
- Bhutan maintains strong economic, strategic and military relations with neighboring India.
- Its Royal Bhutan Army has 16,000 soldiers trained by Indian