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Kanika Nevatia Oct 17 2014

10 reasons why you should visit Bhutan

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Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Bhutan, the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. This tiny kingdom will surprise you with its beauty and charm.



Bhutan (by jmhullot)


Bhutanese Fort


Punakha Dzong is an ancient fort that was built by Zhabdrung in 1637. This masterpiece has been ornately decorated and showcases the finest example of Bhutanese art and craft.



Punakha Dzong (by jmhullot)


The Machen Lhakhang Temple within the fort, houses the mummy of Zhabdrung. Not to miss is the spectacular assembly hall, “Kuenrey”, which is open to tourists. This great hall has 12 cyprus pillars that are 9 m tall and adorned in gilded brass plates. There’s also a 10 m statue of Shakyamuni Buddha made out of a mixture of precious substances.



Punakha Dzong (by Olivier Lejade)


Unexplored mountains

Bhutan is home to some of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world -- Jichu Drake and Mount Jhomolhari among others. Many of the routes remain less-travelled as they don’t have concrete paths and cabins/rest stops on the treks.



Trekking in Bhutan (by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do it)


For adventure enthusiasts, there are many challenging treks to choose from, few of which are: the Gangtey Trek, Snowman Trek and the Chelela Trek. However, easier treks are also present; just ask a local tour operator to lead the way. You can also check out some of the famous trekking places in and around India.




Trekking in Bhutan (by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It.)


Gross National Happiness

Bhutan is considered to be one of the top most happiest places in the world! The country’s development philosophy is not based on GDP, but Buddhist values and GNH (Gross National Happiness). The quality of life is measured depending on the spiritual and mental well being of its people.




Kids in Bhutan (by RadioFreeBarton)


Hot Cuisine

Bhutan is the only country where chilli is used as a vegetable instead of a seasoning. Not to miss is the country's national dish, “ema-datshi”, which is prepared with chilies and cheese stew; it is served with rice. Stop-by at one of the restaurants in Bhutan and sample the ethnic cuisines at your own risk!

The other famous dishes include Momos, Red Rice, Phaksha Paa and Jasha Maru.



Red rice (by Flickr upload bot)


Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, this is one of the most famous and important Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan. Perched at a height of 3000 m on a precipitous cliff side of the Paro Valley, this monastery was built in 1962. It offers a spectacular picturesque view of the surrounding landscape. The monastery is best known for the 13 “tiger lairs”, wherein Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated.


Taktsang Palphug Monastery (by rajkumar1220)


No-smoking laws

Smoking is absolutely banned in public places of Bhutan, like hotel lobbies, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques, offices, markets, bars and few other selected places as dictated by the Tobacco Control Board.




No smoking sign (by Jovianeye)


This is one of the 10 reasons why you should visit Bhutan. Many travellers purposely plan a trip here as they get a chance to quit smoking. Give the gift of clean air to your lungs in Bhutan!



Say no to tobacoo (by GotPS3)


Culture


One of the great things about Bhutan is its rich cultural heritage. Both culture and religion in Bhutan are centred around Buddhism. The locals demonstrate the country's tradition and culture by wearing traditional dresses everyday. While women wear “kira”, an ankle-length dress, men wear a knee-length robe with a “gho” (belt).



Kira (by Christopher J. Fynn)


You can attend the local festivals and enjoy the comedy acts in addition to the historical and religious dance-drama. The religious festivals (Tsechu) accompanied by the traditional masked dances present a unique experience. You must also explore the beautiful melodies in Bhutanese music. Also, don’t forget to explore other cities in Bhutan to further your cultural indulgence.



Gho (by rajkumar1220)


Unique arts and crafts

Zorig Chusum is a name given to the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. It is symbolic and rooted in the Vajrayana Buddhism philosophy. These arts and crafts were introduced in the 15th century by Prema Lingpa, a Buddhist master.



Bhutanese art and craft (from the official govt. website)


Be it woodwork, ornament-making, sculpting, weaving, tailoring, blacksmithing, wood-turning, paper-making, bamboo-work, carving, painting or stonework, everything is categorized under the Zorig Chusum.



Zorig Chusum (by rajkumar1220)


Festivals

Tsechu meaning “tenth day” is an annual religious festival celebrated in Thimphu, Bhutan. It is held in various monasteries, temples and dzongs throughout the country. This festival observes a social gathering of people from different communities who come here to witness mask dances and other forms of entertainment.



Dance-drama (by Anja Disseldorp)


The important festivals celebrated in Bhutan include the Nimalung Festival, Nomad Festival, Sakteng Festival, Gomphu Kora Festival and Chorten Kora Festival.



Bhutanese dance (by Anja Disseldorp)


Dochu La Pass

A drive up to the Dochu La Pass on a clear day is one of the best things to do in Bhutan. This is where you will get to see multicoloured Buddhist flags arranged in a row along with shrines lined with prayer wheels. The views from this high point are simply breathtaking!



Dochu La Pass (by Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)


These are the top 10 reasons why you should visit Bhutan. Share your experience by leaving comments below. Happy journey!
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