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Tuesday, 01 September 2009

Bhutan's Monasteries and Festivals - Page 3

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Bhutan really is unique in the world – its culture is one of the most well preserved in the world.  As a tourist, I felt I was almost stepping back in time.  Some of this may be due to the fact that television wasn’t allowed into the Buddhist kingdom until 1999, so, unlike most places; western culture has yet to take over. Another factor is that traditional Bhutanese dress is required in both school and the workplace, so one always sees the women wearing their Kira’s and the men in Goa’s.  Western style clothes are often worn by the youth on weekends, but the older folk tend to wear the Kira or Goa year-round.

 

Day 3

In the morning, we drove to Thimpu, Bhutan’s capital, on the newly widened road between the two largest cities. It was a nice drive following the river and is the best road in the country despite one section damaged by landslides. I checked in at Hotel Pedling which was nice with soft clean white sheets and a puffy duvet. After lunch we went to the Thimpu Bhutan's Monasteries and Festivals, the Unique Buddhist Kingdom, Sacred Himalaya Travel, travel bhutan, Thimpu Tshechu festival, Bhutanese culture, Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival, www.sacredhimalayatravel.com, Christina Kay BoltonDzong to attend the Thimpu Drupchen festival, but I was really disappointed because they did not allow me or any other tourists in to see the dancing.  It turns out that tourists are usually only allowed on the first day of the festival.  However, we did tour the dzong, which was a prosperous one due to the king having his office and house here.

We drove to the highest viewpoint overlooking Thimpu and stopped at a small zoo on the way down. Then on to a weaving collective where the elaborate Bhutanese textiles are woven by hand, then to a nunnery, and to the Memorial Chorten, where people walk in large circles around the center stupa or spin large prayer wheels to gain blessings. In the Bhutan's Monasteries and Festivals, the Unique Buddhist Kingdom, Sacred Himalaya Travel, travel bhutan, Thimpu Tshechu festival, Bhutanese culture, Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival, www.sacredhimalayatravel.com, Christina Kay Boltonlate afternoon I went shopping in Thimpu’s mix of tourist shops, street markets, and at a local bazaar with food, music, and craft stalls.

I had a nice dinner at my hotel – the food was better than at other places I’d stayed. I was given Tibetan momos and shitake mushrooms as well as the customary cheese filled dishes and rice.  This hotel also offered free computer access in its business center which was convenient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4

We stopped at the weekend market where people sell grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as tourist items, before heading out on our day hike to one of the most important Bhutan's Monasteries and Festivals, the Unique Buddhist Kingdom, Sacred Himalaya Travel, travel bhutan, Thimpu Tshechu festival, Bhutanese culture, Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival, www.sacredhimalayatravel.com, Christina Kay Boltonmonasteries in Bhutan: Cheri Goenpa. It is on a mountaintop with a gorgeous view and it’s not that far to hike up, but it is steep. On the way, many Bhutanese passed me as they go to the monasteries on weekends to light butter lamps as gifts to Buddha.  After descending, we drove through the lush forest to a river where we had a hot picnic lunch prepared by the hotel complete with plates and silverware.

 

Bhutan's Monasteries and Festivals, the Unique Buddhist Kingdom, Sacred Himalaya Travel, travel bhutan, Thimpu Tshechu festival, Bhutanese culture, Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival, www.sacredhimalayatravel.com, Christina Kay BoltonWe also visited the oldest dzong in Thimpu and a temple where most of the parents in the capital go as soon as a child is born to receive a name.

Day 5

An early start at 5:30 brought us to the Dochula pass just after sunrise – the view was beautiful as we had a completely clear view of the snow covered mountains.  Our other reason for leaving so early was to try to get to the Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival by 8:30 to see the large thanka painting that is unfurled in the dzong from 5-8:30 a.m. – it is supposed to bring blessings just to see it. Unfortunately we arrived at 8:15 a.m. and it was already gone.  We did see some dances though with the monks in bright costumes and elaborate masks.

 

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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