Day two in Bhutan was more awesome than the first. The country is very slow and peaceful. We visited the famous sites of Thimpu during a full-day trip.
Our tour guide was a splendid local man who has been one for several years. His name was Kinley – and he told us to remember it by the famous water company in India. Rest assured, we did not forget his name.
His sense of humour was deadpan –making jokes with a straight face – and hit the right mark! Even his description of places was brief and to the point which was much more preferable than hearing unnecessary stuff.
So, this is what we did in Thimpu today:
1) National Memorial Stupa: Built in 1974, this Stupa was made in the memory of the late third king of Bhutan. Stupas are dome like structures used for preserving the remains of people who have passed, usually monks or members of the royal family. It is also a make-shift temple, as it can be used as a place of meditation and worship. Near the Stupa were massive prayer wheels – huge oval wheels that have mantras inside them. If you spin them you get blessed with the energy of the mantra. This stupa was a very peaceful place, and beautiful to look at.
2) Bronze Buddha Statue: This site was one of the most amazing I have ever seen. It’s the second largest Buddha statue in the world, at 169 feet. It’s situated on one of the highest points in Thimpu. The reason behind this is that Buddha is overlooking all of the city’s inhabitants. Mr. Kinley also said that if any of the citizens look at the Buddha’s face, they can forget their current chaotic lives and have a moment of peace. We went inside the monastery built under the statue and meditated for a while. The atmosphere was super peaceful and the meditation deep.
3) Folk Heritage Museum: This museum was opened by the current King’s mother; also known as the Queen Grandmother, to preserve at least some portion of the ancient Bhutanese way of life. The way citizens live now is becoming more modernized, and she did not want people to forget how their ancestors used to live. These old houses were very unique with the cattle being kept of the first floor, kitchen and craft-making areas on the second, guest house were everyone sleeps on the third along with a prayer room and toilet. No photos were allowed inside unfortunately.
4) Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: This handmade paper uses the bark of two trees- the Daphne tree and Dhekap tree and the paper is made through hard work and perseverance. The end result is beautiful. Here you can read about the unique process of making this paper. I bought two postcards with handmade paintings.
5) Tashichho Dzong: This Dzong, also known as the fortress of glorious religion, houses the throne room for the king. It is also the main residence for the chief abbot and the central monastic body in Bhutan. A Dzong, by the way, s a monastery-looking structure which was used as a fortress and place of prayer in the olden times. Now Tashichho Dzong is used as government offices. It is divided into two sections, one for the offices and the other for the monastery and throne room. Several of the royal celebrations happen in this Dzong.
-These cute one-month old kitties we saw at a resteraunt 😀
-The Handicraft market in Thimpu, where I got today’s keychain and some other nice stuff.
Source of keychain: Handicraft market in Thimpu