Charisma of Paro (Bhutan)

Learning and experiencing butanese culture was of my major interest. I booked myself in a Homestay- Ama’s village lodge, a bit away from the Paro main town. A traditional bhutanese farmstay, with two dogs in the back yard, barn and wooden planks stacked at one end and agriculture field with new crops on the rear end of the house made it the perfect choice.

The room I stayed in, had traditional paintings on the wall, an interconnecting room (which obviously I din’t need). Also our room had a prayer room, which we sneaked in when grandma came to worship. It looked like a mini monastery with the statues of lord “Buddha” and ‘Padmasambhava’ and the chanting instruments.

None of the rural bhutanese houses have bathrooms attached to the rooms. They are usually constructed away from the sleeping rooms, somewhere in the corridors.

What’s in Paro??

The Tigers nest

It has always been an Instagram destination. But dint know that the complete hike can be so much more than an insta perfect pic.

The base is about 9km from city center. The ticket costs Rs 500. You could take up the support sticks or pony’s to take you up but then what’s the fun. Some eatables, sport shoes, warm jacket and a fit body is all you need to complete the hike in 3hrs.

It’s a steep route but I chose shortcuts, they pump the adrelin, hell out of me. The shortcuts through the narrow paths amongst the pine with ravine on one side and trees on other is exhilarating.

Quick altitude accent might make the head heavy.

There are storage rooms for bags & cameras. You can not take your belongings inside the temple premises. And there are no shops/cafe. Keep enough edibles.

Taktsang cafe is mid way, so if you are not on budget, definitely experience the dining amidst the jungle and fog while admiring the tigers nest.

The monastery is enlightening if you go with belief . A guide will accompany you inside(included in the ticket). They would walk you through the history and importance of each temple.

Post the trek I was so hungry that I could eat like a whale. So our driver took us to a low cost restaurant that served buffet lunch.

Shopping

Explore the symmetrically aligned shops for souvenir, traditional wear, incense sticks or local produce.

National museum of Paro

The museum showcases the culture of the country. It shuts by 3:30pm.

Read

Grab a seat in one of the cafe on the street of Paro market, order a pot of lemon tea with a piece of delicious carrot cake. Pick out the book you want to read from the book shelf and that’s my ideal holiday.

Paro is a panoramic town with snowclad mountains forming a fencing around. It has people living simple lives , witnessing the real emotions of joy, love and peace. “We” the city dwellers are just existing to earn, real emotions are far away from our knowledge. Hence I travel to keep me sane and maintain my balance.

Bhutan-Punakha & Dochula pass

I might not travel to Bhutan again so had to explore the maximum I could. Punakha was next on my itinerary. One needs to take a permit extension to visit Punakha. Not that there is strict border policing but you still dont want to see the violent side of the peaceful country 🤔

The permit can be obtained from the Thimphu immigration/visa office. Punakha is a day trip from Thimphu about 2hrs. A must site stopover is Dochula pass which is 19 km from the capital. It was constructed by the Queen in the memory of the soldiers of war.

You will experience extreme climates enroute Punakha. You would have to layer up at Dochula, but will be left with the last layer of your clothing at Punakha.

The attraction points in Punakha are:

The 370 years old, Punakha Palace

Life connector, the suspension bridge

We took a taxi from Thimphu at 8am, which was arranged by Gakyil hotel. It took us around Punakha and then dropped us to Paro. The driver also stopped at the Paro airport viewpoint. And all this for 4000rs.

Thimphu is midway Punakha and Paro

To know about my Paro adventures keep following….

Visiting Thimpu check this out https://voyagetrails.com/2018/08/11/things-to-do-in-thimphu/

 

Glimpse of Tibet- Mcleodganj

image

Not so far up in the himalayas is this hustly bustly town of Mcleodganj , once the residence of the great Dalai lama.

It was a road trip for me – Enfield, Zig Zag road, view of snow capped mountains and pure air. This was in the month of February.  Folks please do  not choose this month for the  bike trip as it will freeze your bones.

image

It is a 14 hrs ride from Delhi,  there are luxury buses and volvos also available for that route which takes exactly 12 hrs one way.

Enroute please do stopover at the small joints to have veg Maggie and some of the shacks serve delicious home made mutton curry and rice.

STAY
There is nothing much  to do in dharamshala, so when you reach Mcleodganj,  firstly  take a room. There are  multiple options to choose from (please refer trip advisor for the same).

EAT
And the second very thing is a heavy tibetan brunch at the ‘Tibet Kitchen’.
*Steam chicken Momos a  must try.

image

SHOP
Adjacent to this restaurant is a showroom selling all the tibetan ethnic commodities. I found this shop to be resonably priced than any other shop in the town….Ladies it’s shopping time.

DRINK
Evening coffee at the casual cafes.

CHILL
Two km away from the city is the naag falls- it is too much crowded, so peace lovers may find a place at the shiva cafe or at the foot of the fall to avoid  the footfall.

image

TREK
Last but the best attraction is the ‘Triund trek ‘. Adventurers can stay the second night at DHARMAKOT which is 2km away from the town centre and can start the trek early morning. It is a must do trek if you have time and the correct company.

PURIFY
Early risers should go to the main monastry , sit and introspect.

ADMIRE
End the day with mesmerising sunset. For that you need to keep an eye at the right spot. I figured mine.

image

image

So people, pick a weekend , club a Friday and shoot for Mcleodganj.