Disappointed in myself & how!!!!
All set for the hike with Pema teasing me, we reached the base of Taktsang or Tiger Nest base. (Entry Fee Rs 500/- per person). It’s a temple complex which is on the edge of a cliff. It had just started snowing the previous day, so the temperatures had dropped a little & mild showers were expected. Covered in our best warm clothes we started the hike & soon after we started sweating.
So from the base you can hire mules/pitthu which take you to the mid-point, where you have a cafe. But from there you have walk. Less than half-an-hour later, I was feeling miserable – my legs started cramping(thanks to the cycling in Punakha), slightly breathless cause of the altitude & thanks to the mild drizzle, was feeling cold too. The hike to the midpoint takes about 1.5 hours, the path is muddy & the rains made it slightly difficult too. More than 2 hours later(thanks to me taking a break every 4-5 mins), we finally reached the midpoint – the cafe- where I decided to call quits as my legs had started cramping really bad & had started bothering my lower back too. Leaving me at the Cafe, Bhalla & Pema hiked further to the main temple. A cup of chai & biscuits later(please carry some food as you won’t find anything else here to eat for snacks), I came out in the open balcony area from where you can see the temple. With the clouds playing hide-n-seek, it was beautiful. Fortunately, I made friends with a wonderful lady from Bangalore (who almost set me up for marriage :)) We chatted till her husband & my friends came back which was approx 2 hours later. It was now time to climb down – this was easier for me. But yes, its not simple. During the hike, stay away from the mules else a kick is guaranteed. Don’t forget to carry water, some eatables & candies – the sugar helps in the high altitudes.
Warm Pizza is all we could think off, so Pema got us to Authentic Pizza a cozy pizza place in the Paro Market. Koka Chowmein was tried, loved so much that it was ordered again. The pizza’s here are simple yet delicious. I sipped on my Suja knowing this would be the last cup in Bhutan.
When we reached the home-stay, Hot Stone Bath was being prepared in a room outside the house. Another experience you cannot miss.A wooden tub divided into 2 sections – A large one to be filled with water & a small one also filled with water & the Hot Stones. The process of setting up the bath is really long & elaborate. The stones from the river near buy are collected, put in a pit & are set on-fire till they are super hot. The tub is then filled with the river water. The hot stones are then dipped in a small bucket of water & then dropped in the small section of the tub through a small window. The hot-stones make the water garma-garam & the dip in the tub relaxes every inch of the body cause of the medicinal properties the stone & water have. Sleep is all we wanted to do post this 🙂
But what followed was a fun session of questions & answer, mind games, bollywood dialogues & performances by the baccha party. You must listen to their hindi, its adorable. Thanks to hindi TV & bollywood, they are very much aware of the latest movies, actors, songs, etc. We also tried Gho – the national & traditional Bhutanese costume for men 🙂 Yes, we ignored the Kira – the female dress. Do you know Gho has the largest pocket in the world? It can even fit a baby in it 🙂
Photos, boomerang’s & laughters later, we headed back to the market for dinner & the night view of the Paro Dzong. Almost depressed, we packed our bags & slept.
An early start and long drive later we reached Phuntsholing. Lunch was had again at Kizmo Cafe.With a really heavy heart, we bid goodbye to Pema with a promise to come back & complete the tiger’s nest hike. Our Indian driver picked us up & our drive to Bagdogra was started. The moment we entered India, the contrast hits you again. A long & tiring drive later, we checked-in at Portico Sarovar. Long calls, dinner, FRIENDS session later I slept dreading about Monday.
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