Trip to Bhutan

“सैर कर दुनिया की ‘गाफिल’ ज़िन्दगानी फिर कहाँ, ज़िन्दगानी गर कुछ रही तो ये जवानी फिर कहाँ”

Khwaja Meer ‘Dard’

Now that there is not much to do at home during the Covid-19 lockdown period, I thought to pen down my recent experience from a trip to Bhutan. It is well known that this small Himalayan country is so green that it is the only carbon negative place in the world. That says everything about how rich the flora and fauna this country has which makes it a dream destination for tourists looking to hike in the wilderness. But apart from this natural beauty there are many more reasons that made me fall in love with Bhutan. Below I have listed few of them:

1. Faith: Ringing bells, prayers over loudspeakers, burning indefinite incense sticks blurring the vision, flowers spread across the floor and rivers is what is generally we have seen at a religious place. All this comes in the name of faith. But in Bhutan I observed a breath of fresh air. The mountains have been cut to make way for the meandering roads. These mountains do look steep and scary. But then right around the bottom of these sky high mountains, adjacent to the roads you see a small display of faith in the form of tens of small stupas placed meticulously at the edges of the mountain cuts. I found these symbols of faith aesthetically charming and philosophically profound, as though these mini stupas dared to hold the steep mountains by the mere faith people have over them.

Mini Stupas placed below mountains cut to make way for roads. Image courtesy: Internet

2. Food and beverage: There was a creepy dialogue in movies that was called upon quite often, “पति के दिल का रस्ता पेट से जाता है”. If that is right I am very worried about Mukesh and my relationship, but yes even Zomato says good food makes everything great. The food in Bhutan is delicious making it a paradise for food lovers like me, particularly the various Datsi dishes, Sikkam Paa, Ezay and salads. For beer lovers, the state beer of Bhutan “Druk Lager” is an extremely good incentive to visit Bhutan. The result was this that both of us gained few kilos while being on a five day tour. Now if that is not a sign of good food then I don’t know what is.

Druk Lager: Bhutanese Beer
Ema Datsi, Sikkam Paa and Ezay

3. Royals are humans too: Recently Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals due to their own reasons. The royals in Britain need to follow a number of protocols as they are not considered ordinary people. Royal couples cannot publicly express their affection, cannot have a political opinion, cannot use social media, can wear only neutral nail polish etc. Similarly Bhutan also has its own royals to whom every Bhutanese give their utmost respect. This is the reason why every hotel, restaurant and house has a picture of the king, queen and their young prince. However unlike monarchs in other parts of the world, the pictures here display that the royals are also another human where the king loves his wife and his son like any other man would. There is a softness conveyed through these pictures that all men are equal and everyone strives for love.

Bhutan’s king, queen and prince

4. Funny signages: Although I have seen many funny signages across the roads and on trucks in India such as “लटक मत, टपक जाएगा”, ” In Trust We God”, there is no dearth of funny signages to make you smile while you drive in Bhutan. Some of them are “Drive, don’t fly”, “After drinking whiskey, driving is risky”.

Sense of humor is dark yet apt.
Image courtesy: Internet

Overall Bhutan is a beautiful place to visit. Once the corona pandemic is gone and everything is back to normal, you must take out the time to witness the quietness and extravaganza displayed by nature in this lush green country. There is a lot to learn from Bhutan to lead a better life.