Snuggling under 2 heavy-duty blankets was the only thing I wanted to do that morning. But with both our alarms blaring, we had to get up. A hot shower later it was time to get ready & start preparing our breakfast. So our host had laid out bread, milk, cereals, eggs, etc for us to consume. The kitchen is fully functional in-case you wish to cook. With our bread toast, cereals, coffee & camera’s in the tow, we took the stairs to enjoy our breakfast with a view. With the Dzong right in the front, clear blue sky, aaahhhhhhhhhh felt sooooo good ☺
Right on the scheduled time, Pema was ready to pick us up. Our 1st stop of the day was the National Memorial Chorten (Entry fee – Rs 300) The day we visited, one of their guru’s was visiting & they had a ceremony happening so it was a little crowded. Its designed as per the Tibetan style & is a large white structure with golden top. With prayer wheels on the left, you start walking towards the main structure. You will see elder citizens praying there through the day. Once inside you will see the main idol, tall & behind a glass wall. The various offerings are placed right in front that ranges from butter to biscuits to chips to noodles. The structure is 3 stories & each has a story to tell. The walls have painting of different deities, their teachings, etc. 2 flights of stairs later you reach the top & from the balcony there you can see the city of Thimphu.
Our next stop was the famousBuddha Dordenma Statue (Buddha Temple), the idol can be seen from many locations in the city. But nothing can beat the sensation you feel when you 1st lay your eyes on this Idol. Peace, Calmness & just thandak (don’t know how to express that in English) I plonked myself right in front of him on the ground & Bhalla a few feet’s away, we sat there looking at the idol for close to an hour. Pema came to uthaao us & take us inside the actual temple. With close to 100000 small Buddha idol across the walls & the main idol – everything is just breathtaking. If you are travelling with a well-aware guide, he/she should be explaining to you about each & every idol & its significance. Even the Bodhisattva idol’s surrounding the temple on the 1st floor are beautiful. Approx 2 hours later, we decided to move. We were now heading to Motithang Takin Preserve – home to the national animal Takin. Legends have it that this it has the head of the goat & body of the cow. In my opinion, this can be skipped.
By now it was lunch time & we were famished. Simply Bhutan was our lunch destination. A museum cum restaurant which introduces the history & culture of Bhutan through its artifacts, music & dance performances, food & much much more. Since we were famished, we went straight for lunch which included rice, pumpkin soup, sauteed veggies, chicken, beef with glass noodles, ema datshi & Suja – the famous butter tea. They also served the red-chillies paste along with the meal. Rice, ema datshi with the red chilli paste tasted good. But for me Suja topped with crunchy rice flakes was the star of the day which I kept asking to be refilled every few minutes. With a pretty light pink colour, Suja is the normal tea with butter in it but the process of preparing it is quite elaborate. The staff performed the traditional dance while we enjoyed our meal. With our tummy full, we started the experience at Simply Bhutan. Rice Wine is served in the traditional cup as a welcome drink & a detailed introduction begins on different aspects including clothes, weapons, dance, music, utensils, kitchen set-up, etc. You can also learn about the sun-drying technique they use to survive during the harsh winters. The detailed information session ended with the most amazing game of archery. So here’s what happened, Bhalla attempted & hit Bulls-eye in the 1st shot. To our shock & surprise 3-4 men came & started singing & dancing ☺ We were informed that this is their form of sledging to their opponents. How can Bhalla stay away??? She joined them too & it was a delight to watch them dance. During my turn, I hit the target in the 2nd shot, supremely elated; I immediately joined the men & danced too (Do check the video shared below)
Try & drop a coin in the small pot swirling in the big pot of water near the exit, you wish will come true ☺
Simply Bhutan is a detailed & enriching experience. You can even try the traditional Bhutanese dress. A must visit for sure. Entry fee including the meal is approx. Rs 600 per person.
Before visiting the Post Office – which we were super super excited about – we made a small pit-stop at the Silk Museum. You can learn about the costumes, the textiles of the different regions of Bhutan & how it has evolved over the years. You can skip this if you are short on time. Entry fee is Rs 100/-
A bright red scooter welcomes you to the General Post Office. Walk-in, share your photo & with-in 5 minutes you have 9 bhutanese stamps with your face on it which are absolutely legit!!! I was a kid again, got stamps for myself & my nephew. Picked up few postcards & sent one to my nephew with his personalized stamp. (he was super excited when he received the postcard. I sent one to myself too & flaunted it to everyone around when I received it) This experience you just cannot miss. You get 9 stamps for Rs 500.
Archery is the national game of Bhutan & its really sad to know that they don’t participate in Olympics. Trust me if they did, they will give tough competition to any country. Boy are they good or what…. So after the post office, Pema made us watch a friendly archery game. Well for us, we couldn’t even see the target, it was that far. But these guys with their fancy bow & arrow were trying to hit a bulls-eye. And let me tell you, they take archery seriously. Do keep an eye & witness an archery game if you can.
Did you know thimphu doesn’t have traffic signals?? Yes, there are no signals on the road in Bhutan still every single one of them including children follow the rules to the T. BTW you can’t just cross the road anywhere you want, you HAVE to use the Zebra crossing else you will be fined by the cops. Also, you can barely hear people honking while driving. We saw one traffic police maneuvering traffic in the main market in thimphu & everyone obeyed him.
With our day coming to an end, I had already started thinking about dinner & then it hit me. Koka – the Maggie of Bhutan. Our host had left few packets for us but they were all non-veg variants so we picked a veg koka for myself when we were in the market area. Once back at home and a session of whatsapp call, instagram updates later (thanks to the wifi), it was time for dinner – KOKA ☺
Spicy yet yummy, you have to try it. We even got packets back for ourselves. Pleased with ourselves, we got into the cozy beds & drifted to deep sleep.
Day 4 – Click Here