Bhutan- The last Shangri-la
The king is revered here. The GNP takes a rear seat.
National happiness is of prime importance. India possibly can take a few lessons from its neighboring country.
This country is a delight for people - who love walking.
Paro - the beautiful city of colour and joy. This city’s numerous legends coaxed me to take on yet another flight of steps. Peace envelops regardless of the altitude sickness that hit me, 18000ft above sea level! There is an energy that gave me the oxygen burst to trek uphill at my own pace even puffing and panting. The purity of the mountains edges one closer to the top, above the valley. To Taktshang Monastery, also known as the Tigers Nest, from where the view felt sacred!
The clouds at times played spoilsport and hid the majestic view from the eyes. And on other days the clouds honoured me, by showing off the gigantic snow capped Himalayas, Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga which rose above beautiful Paro. We went to Paro to witness the colourful festival that started at dawn. Pitch dark, cold - brrr, priests in orange robes busily chanting. The sunrise in Paro, most spectacular - molten gold bursting in the sky. Lighting life. The sun was very welcome as the morning mountain cold had me shivering despite the many layers of clothing. By 9am the sun had risen high, and the heat had started pinching my skin! When you are high up in the mountains the sun is closer hence, and can get very hot! One by one I shed the layers on me; where did the cold disappear, I wondered a bit wistfully?!
At tea break, I lean against the car and look around this deep valley, forestation everywhere. I hear a growl. I froze. My first thoughts – will this beast kill this beauty!?! The driver came to my rescue and shushed the animal a distance away. This animal was a cross between a goat and a cow. Wearing socks! So I thought then! I think while he was grazing he was equally stunned to come across me, and I froze seeing him appear from nowhere so close to me! Later I was told this was the national animal for Bhutan- the takin, a gentle beast.
I came across an interesting folklore around this animal, once in the 15th century the Lama Drupka was visiting Bhutan, when his devotees gathered around him, urged him to show a miracle. He demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. After eating he was satisfied, he took the goat’s head and stuck it onto the bones of the cow. And then he snapped his fingers and commanded the strange mix up beast to rise up and graze on the mountain side, thus was born the Takin.
Bhutan is a hidden treasure waiting to unfold to the world; Indians don’t need a passport to visit this country. A definite ‘must visit’ for those who are bit by the wander lust!
Posted by Mee at 10:07