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The Kingdom of mountains and monasteries is a poetry in motion, an experience of a lifetime, a canvas of snow-capped mountains, and colourful fluttering prayer flags, a trekker’s paradise and a land of happy and hospitable people.
Bhutan will offer you many breathtaking experiences. You will be smitten by the pristine air and the purity of the land, overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Himalayas and the serenity of the valleys. But, there are some experiences in Bhutan that will transform your life and make you have the most unforgettable trip of your life. Want to know what are these?
Make yourself a nice mojito, curl up in your beloved bean bag and read on:
Become a Textile Connoisseur
Visit the Norzin Lam Textile Museum in the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu. The National Textile Haven Museum will introduce you to textiles from as old as the 1960s to kiras and ghos worn by Bhutanese men and women today.
Weaving is the national art of Bhutan and there is little chance that you won’t fall in love with the elegant local costumes. Find out all about the rich heritage of weaving in Bhutan, myriad textiles, and different weaving techniques.
Some of the best weavers weave inside the museum and you can actually purchase their masterpieces from the store located inside the museum.
The museum is open across the year from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. Your Bhutan tour is not complete without a visit to the capital and when in Thimpu, you must go to witness the beautiful and enchanting art of weaving in the Norzin Lam Textile Museum. Not only will the rose-cheeked, always smiling Bhutanese weavers tell you all that you need to know about textiles, but also you can watch a short movie here about the art of weaving.
What a charming way to turn a textile connoisseur!
Return Spiritually Enriched
Few return from Bhutan untouched by the spirituality and divinity of the country. Spirituality is embedded and seeped in the rivers, peaks, forests, homes, and even in the air of Bhutan.
There are innumerable monasteries and citadel-styled dzongs spread across the terrain of Bhutan. The Tiger’s Nest monastery, ‘Takshang Lakhang is considered one of the most sacred. Nestled amidst blooming rhododendrons, this delightful monastery is perched on the edge of a cliff and has emerged as of the most photographed destinations in the world. Precariously perched, it is a sight to behold, and evokes spirituality even in the non-believers.
The famed 108 Stupas arranged around the viewpoint of the Dochula Stupa, at 3000 m is a reverberation of peace, principles and compassion.
The Himalayas in the distance prove to be spiritual and calming in their own way. Monasteries, Stupas, and dzongs are scattered throughout the landscape of Bhutan.
Another spiritual heartland of the Himalayan Kingdom
Bhutan is one of the last few remaining strongholds of Vajrayana Buddhism, and most monasteries, monastic schools, and temples have meditation centers of their own.
If peace of mind and respite from the cares and stresses of daily life is what you seek, meditate in a meditation center like the monks do. Inquire to know if meditation can be included in your Bhutan package.
Rid Yourself of Pains
Bhutan is fast emerging as a wellness destination. Bhutan is a nation, that believes in preserving its cultural heritage, and going back to the roots for treating all ailments.
The traditional medicine of Bhutan is known as Sowa Rigpa and can be traced back to the 17th century. Indigenous medicine units exist in all 20 districts of Bhutan and provide tourists with traditional remedies for all ailments especially joint pains.
The other gem in Bhutan’s crown are its hot springs or Tshachus. The medicinal properties of these are known to cure a multitude of diseases from arthritis to even sinuses. If you want to tread the path of recovery or are looking to find holistic wellness approach to your ailments, Bhutan might just be your destination.
Try Your Hand at Archery
You would barely expect the warm and affable Bhutanese people to indulge in a sport like archery. But to my surprise, I found out that this is their national sport and one that they take very seriously.
Attend an archery tournament if you are visiting Thimpu over a weekend. Archery is very popular among the locals and the tourists. You must try your hand at it.
Watching archery competitions or games is just as delightful. Witnessing rivals engage in verbal combat and repartee and then break into a rhythmic song and dance routine everytime a player hits or misses a mark is quite a spectacle. And trust me, before you know, you will find yourself engrossed in the competitive festivity of the sport too, cheering, playing, and sighing and feeling more Bhutanese than the Bhutanese themselves.
Find the Photographer in You
If you are into photography, Bhutan should be your subject. Bhutan is beautiful beyond words. Tucked away in the Himalayas, it is a region of picturesque lush valleys wreathed in clouds, dramatic pine forests, meandering clear rivers, and mountains that play hide and seek with your lens-sometimes majestic, sometimes coy and misty.
And it is not just nature’s endowments that cast a spell on you and inspire you to freeze and capture moments. Traditional architecture in Bhutan’s monasteries and dzongs is compelling. You have to explore the hand-drawn Buddhist murals painted on walls of homes and monasteries, the incredibly intricate carvings of the courtyards, the elaborate and flamboyant colours of Buddhist festivities, and the mesmerizing butter lamps in a row.
Become a Food Taster
Sure you will get your soups and sandwiches when you come to Bhutan. But it’s highly recommended that you sample the very interesting local cuisine when you come here. The most famous local dish you just have to have is the Ema Datshi, a signature cheese and chilli concoction with a Bhutanese version of salsa, a tangy tomato sauce with salt, red chilli, green chilli and lots of coriander. No meal is complete without the traditional brown rice that Bhutanese people swear by. It is supposed to be the healthier and more nutritious variant of the white rice.
Take Home the most Wonderful Souvenirs
Another thing that I found absolutely charming about Bhutan, was the unique and varied souvenirs I could take home. Bhutanese textiles make an opulent gift. Obviously, you must buy some and keep for yourself too to stand out in a crowd with the rich woven purse or beautifully designed, handcrafted shawls.
Here’s a surprise, Bhutan is home to the coolest stamps in the world. Square, round, triangular, rectangular and even 3d stamps with different people, objects and events are available here. If you have a philatelist friend, you know what to gift them. The Philately counter at the National Post Office at Chang Lam houses a unique and diverse collection of stamps. Make the experience even more enjoyable and personal by buying a stamp with your picture on it! Gift it to someone very dear or make it a part of your own collection.
The Centenary Farmer’s Weekend market and the handicraft market across the cantilevered foot bridge is a colourful place to pick up some gorgeous souvenirs like colourful masks, thangkas, Buddha Figurines, musical instruments and the famed prayer wheels.
Make the most of your Bhutan holiday. Do all the things mentioned above. They will be totally worth it, and don’t forget to trek through the rugged terrains. Visit Bhutan and feel the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.
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