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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Details in Colors

prayer wheels, kichu lhakhang, paro, bhutan

The colorful decorations in the monasteries in Bhutan make great subjects  for photography. Here are some colorful detailing from Kichu Monastery in Paro.

window, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

prayer wheels, kichu lhakhang, paro, bhutan

prayer wheel, monastery, bhutan

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Details.

P.S: This is my second entry for this week’s challenge. Here is the first post on Details

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Pure

buddha, dordenma, thimphu, bhutan

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
~ Buddha 

This week’s photo challenge theme, pure, transports me to that beautiful morning in Thimphu. The morning I had a glimpse of Buddha, pure and sublime, overlooking the hills and the city.

buddha, dordenma, thimphu, bhutan

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Pure

Drukgyel Dzong: A haunted monastery in Paro

drukgyel dzong, paro, bhutan

It was a partly cloudy day when we started for our sightseeing in Paro.

paro, bhutan

By the time we reached Drukgyel Dzong after exploring Kichu Monastery the sky was dark, covered with monsoon clouds.

Drukgyel Dzong was built in the 17th century to celebrate victory of the then king against the invaders from Tibet. It is a deserted monastery for years now after it was destroyed in fire in the 1950s. It looked more like a haunted place to me… perfect for shooting horror movies. 😛

drukgyel dzong, paro, bhutan

The dilapidated walls and tall structure looked even gloomier against the dismal sky.

drukgyel dzong, paro, monastery, haunted

Our driver told it was a small trek of about 15 minutes up the hill to the main entrance of the monastery. Although the drizzle started as soon as we reached there and most of my companions decided not to go out as it will rain soon, I readily jumped out of the car in search of some mystery. 😉

way up the monastery, drukgyal dzong, paro

A giant prayer wheel at the foot of the hill,

prayer wheel, buddhist prayer wheel, paro, bhutan

and the colorful prayer flags hung over our head looked welcoming at first.

drukgyel dzong, paro, paro sightseeing

But this canine guard gave a grave look at me as I stepped into its territory.

dog, at drukgyal dzong, paro, bhutan

As I kept walking I could see there was no one except me and my friend. An eerie silence prevailed all over the place. The rustling pines in the cold wind amplified the silence further.

drukgyel dzong trek, paro, bhutan

The stoned pathway led to stone steps. We stopped for a moment to breathe some air.

staris, drukgyel dzong, paro, bhutan

We climbed up the spiral stairs to find what was in store for us… and Drukgyel did not disappoint us. 🙂   paro, bhutan, paro sightseeing

Finally we reached at the main gate of the monastery.  Drukgyel dzong, paro, bhutan

A glimpse of the outer courtyard through the half-open door was quite dramatic. Inside, it looked like a fortress with thick brick walls with openings to keep watch over the valley.

drukgyel dzong, paro, bhutan

The burnt windows, broken walls and the mysterious darkness inside gave an uncanny feeling as if something evil was waiting inside.

drukgyal dzong, paro

Well… I don’t believe in ghosts… but as my friend constantly forbade me to step inside I thought I should honor her wish… 😛   😀

at drukgyel dzong paro

So, how do you like the story of the haunted monastery? 🙂  Do share your thoughts.

P.S: This is Part VII of my Bhutan Tour Photo Essay Series. You can also check out the previous posts of this series for more photos and information on Bhutan travel.

Treat – For Your Eyes Only

Paro, Bhutan, nature

“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.”

~  E. O. Wilson

Nature in its full bloom is always a treat to the eye… what do you say? 🙂

Paro, Bhutan, nature

Published in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat.

Bhutan Tour: Kichu Monastery in Paro

This post is a continuation of my earlier post My Rendezvous with Paro

After reaching our hotel in Paro we dumped our luggage in our rooms and set out to explore the place.

paro, bhutan

We were back on the road again. Our first stop was Kichu Monastery.

kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

Kyichu Lhakhang or Kichu Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is situated in a secluded place outside the town. The monastery, from its elevated position, offers wonderful views of the surrounding valley.

paro, valley, bhutan

The monastery houses a golden statue of Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche inside the core temple. However, you are not allowed to take your camera inside.

Kichu lhakhang, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

As we entered the monastery I could see a blast of colors everywhere –

Kichu Monastery

on the front fascia,

Kichu monastery, Paro

on the doors and windows,

painted window, kichu monastery, paro

on the prayer wheels,

prayer wheels, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

prayer wheel, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

and in the garden.

yellow flowers, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

yellow flower, kichu monastery, paro

rose, red rose, paro, bhutan

Even the old monk preaching at the gate of the temple looked quite a colorful person. Isn’t it? 🙂

monk, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

old monk, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

There were orange trees in the temple courtyard that were full of ripe oranges even in June!   orange tree, kichu monastery, paro

Kichu Monastery is a peaceful quiet place, ideal for spending some time contemplating amidst nature and sacred structures.

kichu monastery, kichu lhakhang, paro, bhutan

kichu monastery premises, paro, bhutan

chorten, stupa, kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

Even I tried to concentrate in prayer. But…you know, I found that it’s not my cup of tea… no matter where I am… 😀   at kichu monastery, paro, bhutan

P.S: This is Part VI of my Bhutan Tour Photo Essay Series. You can also check out the previous posts of this series for more photos and information on Bhutan travel.

Bhutan Tour: My Rendezvous with Paro

paro, bhutan, paro valley

If I start talking (read ‘writing’) about Paro I won’t be able to include everything in one post. Paro is so beautiful and that beauty has so many facets to it that it is impossible for me to sum it up here. So it’s better to share the picturesque beauty in picture instead of words. 🙂  

Finally the day came. We had to leave Thimphu for Paro. Our journey to Paro started at 10:30 am (IST) and we reached there at 12:30 pm (IST).

paro, bhutan, valley

Paro, a fertile valley on the banks of the river Paro, surrounded by the sublime Himalayan Mountains, beckons travelers with its greenery, scenic beauty, and ample scope to explore the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan.

Paro monastery, paro, bhutan

I had heard a lot about this spectacular valley, which is dotted with monasteries, sacred edifices and landmarks,

Buddhist monastery, paro, bhutan

and a small but lively township, which we were to explore next.

Paro town, paro, bhutan

The river Paro meanders through the vale dividing it in two halves.

paro chhu. paro river, paro, bhutan, valleyAlthough there were occasional rain clouds hovering over the valley, the weather in Paro was warmer during the day than that was in Thimphu. But the nights were pleasant in summer months (May-June).

paro valley, bhutan

Initially, it was mountains on both sides of the road.

Paro, Bhutan, mountain road

As we entered Paro District the roads turned wider. The glimpses of the river running in parallel with the road made the journey even more exciting and visually appealing.

Paro, Bhutan, valley

paro, bhutan

paro, bhutan, valley, mountains

paro valley, bhutan

Finally we reached the point where we could meet Paro, the river. This is the place where you can touch, feel, and walk into the cool waters and enjoy a cable car ride across the river. 🙂

paro, bhutan, paro river

paro chhu, paro river, paro, bhutan

paro chhu, paro river, paro, bhutan

in paro, bhutan, paro chhu

After an exciting rendezvous with Paro Chhu (‘chhu’ is river in vernacular) we were back on the road again, heading towards our hotel. We drove past the small cottages,

paro valley, bhutan

lush green paddy fields,

paro valley, bhutan, paddy fields in Paro

and the small but spectacular Paro Airport.

paro airport, paro, bhutan

paro, paro airport, bhutan

It seemed Paro greeted us with waving white flags on the roadside

paro, bhutan, flags, Buddhist culture

and the rustling branches of peaches blooming with white flowers, everywhere. 🙂

peach flower, paro, bhutan, white flowers,

Our car finally stopped at the gate of the hotel Mandala Resort Garden, a hotel with excellent views, I must say.

orchid, paro, bhutan, mandala resort garden hotel

mandala resort garden, paro hotels, hotel in paro

paro hotels, hotel in paro, mandala resort garden

Whichever side your room is, you are entitled to get a clear view of the valley from the room as long as you are in Mandala Resort Garden. However, it is located in the hills outside the town of Paro, within 10 minutes’ drive from Paro Market.

paro, bhutan, paro hotels, hotel in paro, mandala resort garden

mandala resort garden, paro hotels, hotel in paro, bhutan

I’ll soon share the story of my sightseeing in Paro. But before that, enjoy some more colorful panorama of this beautiful valley through my lens. 🙂

paro, bhutan, paro hotels

paro, valley, rice terraces, paddy field, greenery, bhutan

pines, paro, bhutan

paro, paro valley, bhutan

paro hotels, mandala resort garden, hotels in paro, bhutan

paro, bhutan, bhutanese women

paro, valley, paro chhu, bhutan

paro chhu, paro, bhutan

paro chhu, paro, river, bhutan

Hope you enjoyed Paro tour with me. 🙂   Stay tuned for more.

in Paro, Bhutan

P.S: This is Part V of my Bhutan Tour Photo Essay Series. You can also check out the first four posts of this series for more photos and information on Bhutan travel.

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Bhutan Tour: Life in Thimphu

thimphu, bhutan

Life in Thimphu has a unique charm. It is a peaceful place with very low crime rate, high discipline, cleanliness and a nice coexistence of modernism and urban culture with Bhutanese tradition and a laid-back lifestyle. And most importantly, people here are nice and gentle towards you as long as you are also nice to them.

thimphu, bhutan

The Roads

The roads in Thimphu are so inviting that you would enjoy drive anytime. Wide roads, less traffic, and idyllic weather – what more do you need? I haven’t seen any traffic police or traffic signaling on the roads, yet no one breaks the rule. Disciplined driving was evident everywhere.

thimphu roads 4

thimphu roads, bhutan

thimphu, roads, bhutan

The Architecture

The sight of traditional architecture and religious edifices are quite common in Thimphu. You’ll see several traditional style gateways on the roads to usher you to different parts of the country from the capital city. Needless to mention, these structures beautifully adorn the cityscape.

thimphu architecture, Buddhist stupa, bhutan

architecture in thimphu, bhutan

The Shopping Districts

Thimphu is a perfect blend of modernity and tradition – an interesting combination of simplicity and urbanity. It is reflected in the marketplaces. The city has sophisticated shopping plazas and departmental stores.

shopping in Thimphu, Bhutan

thimphu market, bhutan

On the other hand, the handicrafts market in Thimphu is the place you can discover the richness of Bhutanese traditional art and textiles.

handicraft market thimphu, bhutan

Bhutanese handicrafts, handicraft market, thimphu, bhutan

textile, bhutan, thimphu, handicraft market

The streets come alive in the afternoon with young boys playing carrom at the shopping arcades, girls having chitchat at the open-air cafeterias and women go shopping with their little kids accompanying them.

The Vegetable Markets

Vegetable markets in Thimphu, mostly makeshift ones, are vibrant, colorful places where you’ll find a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, the sellers and buyers in these roadside vegetable markets are mostly women, in colorful western or traditional clothing.

vegetable market, thimphu, bhutanvegetables, market, thimphu,bhutan

The Women

Bhutanese women are beautiful and in particular, they have excellent dressing sense. Be it their traditional costume Kira or western clothing, women in Thimphu dress up and accessorize quite fashionably. Women here are very active. They work hard both at home and outside. But what is worthy of mention is that they are quite comfortable taking their kids to their workplace.

Look at this woman at a vegetable market in Thimphu.

Bhutanese woman with child, thimphu

Women usually carry their babies on their back while walking on the roads, at the shops, in the markets… everywhere. Hats off to motherhood!

Bhutanese women, thimphu, bhutan

The Men

You’ll see men in Thimphu mostly in their traditional robes, called Gho. Our driver Sangay, a cheerful little young fellow, told me that it is a legal mandate in Bhutan for taxi drivers to drive in their national costume during duty hours. This is also applicable to men and women working in government offices.

boys playing carrom on thimphu streets

The Houses

Thimphu is a booming city. I saw a lot of multi-story houses all around in the neighborhood we stayed and a lot many were under construction. Residential buildings in Thimphu have similar structure and symmetry with the traditionally decorated exterior.  What I loved the most is the happy colors they use to paint their houses. Well… quite natural for a city in the “happiest country in the world” – isn’t it? 🙂

houses in thimphu, bhutan

buildings in thimphu, bhutanhouses in thimphu, happy colors, traditional house in thimphu, bhutan, art and architecture

The Dogs

Dogs seem to be an important part of every household in Thimphu. The people here love dogs. During the day, you’ll see them quietly slugging around in the sun. It is in the night when they are most active, barking all the night to ensure you enjoy “good night sleep”. 😀

Hotel Nirmal, where we stayed in Thimphu, is a family run hotel. The family has a cute little pet dog, Kotah, who was afraid of this distant brother of German Shepherd although I found him very gentle but watchful always. 🙂

dog, thimphu, bhutan

The Neighborhoods

We stayed in a peaceful but lively neighborhood approx 15-minute walk from the main road and the buzzing shopping district of Thimphu. A walk along the winding roads in the morning and afternoon will let you look deeper into the city life.

neighborhoods, thimphu, bhutan

P.S: This is Part IV of my Bhutan Tour Photo Essay Series. You can also check out the first three parts of this series for more photos and information on Bhutan travel.

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