National Library of Bhutan,Thimpu.

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The National Library of Bhutan was established at Thimpu, Bhutan in the year 1967. It was under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden that the library opened with a collection of precious books within the central tower Tashichodzhong. But due to growth in the number of Books, the library had to be moved elsewhere.

The Royal Government of Bhutan built a spacious four storeyed building to house this growing collection in the year 1984. It was then that the library moved into its permanent home.

Since the building had to house sacred traditional books, it was consecrated as a temple by His Highness Khyentse Rinposhe.

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National Library Building

The National Library is home to all past, present, future documents of Bhutan. From Old Letters, Pictures, Traditional Texts & old & valued Books & Manuscripts.

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Bhutanese Traditional Texts
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Shrine within the Library

Most of the Traditional texts of Bhutan are kept folded in colored cloth. A lot of the texts have been written on them as well. If you have seen the Traditional Buddhist Prayer Flags, you will have an idea of what I am talking about.

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More Traditional texts from the Library

Outside the Library, you have the most amazing flowers, which were in full bloom when we visited! Somehow there is beauty wherever you look in Bhutan. Gorgeous Flora, Fauna, The majestic mountains, Cloud formations, everywhere.

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The most amazing part about my visit to the Library was, seeing the effort the Bhutanese are making towards preserving their culture, tradition & heritage. They have retained texts that are a hundred years old & preserved them for the future generations to come. It was really nice to see that. The Library is a lovely place to visit to see how well the culture & tradition is preserved.

That’s all for now, See you in the next Post!

Leave you comments & thoughts in the Comments section!

Love,

Arpita.

 

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Thimpu Chorten

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Thimpu Chorten, also called the Memorial Chorten is a Stupa located in the heart of Thimpu city. It is popular as the most visible religious landmark of the city.

Built in the year 1974, the Stupa honors the third Druk Gyalpo (King) – Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Unlike most Stupas, Thimpu Chorten does not house the human remains, instead, you will only find a picture of the Druk Gyalpo in his ceremonial dress in the ground floor of the Chorten.

I visited this Chorten twice. In the morning when it was bright & sunny, & the entire place looked absolutely heavenly – A beautiful white structure against the gorgeous blue skies. I went back in the evening as well, with the butter lights shining & the entire scene looking ethereal. I suggest you do the same & you will know why by the end of this post.

There are four gates to the Chorten but only one of them is open to the Public. As soon as you enter through the gate, on your left, you will come across the Traditional Prayer wheels & a lot of people moving them. The Buddhist Tradition says that when you push the Prayer wheel & it revolves around itself, the prayers written on them are sent with the wind to the Gods.

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Right in the front of the Gate lies a small garden with beautiful flowers & a pathway in between that leads you to the Chorten.

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As you walk, you come across a brown structure wherein you will find the statue of Goddess Ihamu. She stands facing the Chorten & is absolutely beautiful.

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Once inside, you will see how deeply religious & spiritual the Bhutanese people really are. You will see a lot of women & men deeply engaged in prayer & circumbating the Stupa in a clock wise direction as is the tradition in Buddhism & Hinduism. Mostly the elderly women & men visit during the morning hours . The entire atmosphere is Spiritual & Godly.

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All the four sides of the Chorten have different mandalas & statues dedicated to the third king. Apparently the inside of the Chorten opens only once a year for the locals & tourists during the Monlam Prayer festival, which is usually held during the 4th to 11th day of the first Tibetan month. The religious head of Bhutan addresses & gives blessings the people present for the occasion. So mostly, you will find people praying outside with their prayer beads or going around the Chorten chanting with a mini hand held prayer wheel.

As you walk to the left of the Chorten, there is a small structure where lights are light as an offering to the Gods. Usually butter/oil lights, which is a tradition among Buddhist & Hindus.

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Remember to around the Chorten ONLY in the Clockwise direction. That’s the only way according to Buddhist & Hindu Traditions. Here is a view of the back side of the Chorten.

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I really really liked the Chorten & wanted to come back in the evening. Luckily my hotel was just 5 mins away from this place & I am glad I did come back.

I realized, not only are the elderly in the Bhutan religious & spiritual but also the youth. Boys & Girls my age & even younger were praying & circumbating the Chorten. Plus, the Chorten looks beautiful in the evening with all the gorgeous lighting.

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Remember the structure for lighting lamps & butter lights, this is what it looks like in the evening.

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Surely, this was one of the most beautiful evenings spent in Bhutan for me. Serene, peaceful & blessed.

Bhutan is supposed to be the Happiest Country in the World. The reason possibly can be that the Gods they pray to so sincerely everyday, smile down on them from Heavens & bless them with abundant Happiness & Peace. The kind that I felt almost at every little corner of Bhutan.

See you soon in the next post.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Do you leave your thoughts in the Comments section down below!

Love,

Arry.

Buddha Dordema Statue – Thimpu!

Welcome to Thimpu friends! After the 5 hour zig zag ride through hundreds of mountains ( it almost felt like hundreds ) we arrived in Thimpu. It was around 5 in the evening when we got there. The journey had exhausted us. We checked into out Hotel & spent the rest of the evening relaxing over some great food, tea & the cool Thimpu air.

The next morning, we were ready to greet the Capital city of Thimpu with open arms! And my! Were we amazed! Lets start from the first place we visited.

Buddha Dordenma Statue

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The hugeee Buddha statue is built over looking the Thimpu valley & is built as a mark of celebration for the 60th anniversary of their fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuk. It is infact one of the largest Buddha statues in the world at 51.5 meters. In fact when we visited it, parts of it were still under construction & the work was finally completed on September 25th, 2015.

The construction of the statue is also a tribute to the monarchy of Bhutan which celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. Now here is the interesting part. This Buddha monument fulfills two prophecies. A renowned yogi called Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Padmasambhava, Buddha or a Purbha would be built in this region to bestow peace, happiness & blessings upon the whole world. The second being that the mention of a statue like that is present in the ancient terma of Guru Padmasambhava himself which dates almost back to the 8th century! Isn’t it something?

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The one thing that I loved about this statue is how beautiful looking the face of the Buddha is! The people who worked on this masterpiece must have been so exceptionally talented!

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Just to give you an idea of how huge the statue is I am sharing an image from the blog.voanews.com.

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Isn’t the place where the statue stands absolutely beautiful? So serene, peaceful & gorgeous! You can almost get a view of a part of Thimpu town from up here.

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Can you see the roads in the picture? They are the ones that lead us to this monument!

Now, whenever you are in Thimpu, make sure you start your Thimpu sight seeing from this point. Just stand where I was standing when I took the above picture ( you will know where, just look around)  Take in the sight of Thimpu town, & start on this wonderful adventure called Bhutan.

I hope you will love this place as much as I did when you visit! As always, I am looking forward to your comments ! Leave them in the section below!

Love,

A.

Phuntsholing to Thimpu

After having spent a night in Phuntsholing & visiting the two most beautiful Monasteries, we decided to travel to the Capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu the next morning.

Thimpu is located around 200 kms away from Phuntsholing. Although the distance does not seem much, it takes a longer time to travel because you cross mountains after mountains to get there & with the winding roads, you cannot speed.

(Tip – If you have a tendency to get sick because of the winding roads, its best to pop a pill & have a very light breakfast before you get in the car)

It took us around 5 hours to get to Thimpu with a stop for Lunch on the way.

The road to Thimpu is pretty good & well maintained. But I will advice you, not to travel via road to Thimpu during the Monsoon, you do have land slides & huge boulders coming down the mountain because of the rains. In fact if you can, visit Bhutan during the spring to get the most out of your trip & avoid the rainy season entirely.

The road route to Thimpu though is also the most beautiful drive there can be.We were lucky the weather was clear & it hadn’t rained since the past few days. The Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls, Clouds, its like a dream. Again, it is better experienced than photographed. But till you see it with your own eyes, here are a few pictures.

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Will see you in Thimpu, in the next post!

Love,

A.

Tsuglangkhang Monastary

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Palden Tashi Chholing Tsuglangkhang is a Monastery & Monk School located pretty close to the Bhutan Gate in Phuntsholing. It is one of the recently built Monastery’s in Bhutan.

Inaugurated by his Holiness 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choeda on 28th October 2014, the construction of this Tsuglangkhang was funded by Ap Dophu , Aum Karma Yuden & Family.

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The entrance door to the Monastery is beautifully painted with Images of Buddha in his various forms.

After visiting the monastery’s of Bhutan, I have a deep desire to learn about the different stories of Buddha that are depicted via pictures across Monastery’s in Bhutan.

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The Monastery is built on a huge area & the Landscape is absolutely beautiful. Right behind the Monastery you have a river bed. The sound of the river flowing, the surrounding mountains & the peace of the Monastery simply gives an ethereal feeling here.

I just stood here for a good 10-15 minutes, enjoying the calm & peace within & outside.

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On the other side of the Monastery lies the residence of the Monks. When we visited, it was almost dinner time for them, so could not really interact with any of them to learn more about the place.

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The experience here was simply beautiful. I am sure the monks feel like they are living in the lap of mother nature & protected by lord Buddha.

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This is a must visit place while in Phuntsholing. I would say early evening is the best time to visit here. You might not get the best photos, but the experience is something that will stay on with you forever.

Looking forward to your comments as always!

Love,

A.

Karbandi Goemba – Phuntsholing

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Karbandi Monastery was founded by the royal grandmother Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in the year 1967.  It is located above the town of Phuntsholing at a height of about 400 meters. The best way to get there is by a cab or a private car.

The Monastery is absolutely beautiful & the view around the Monastery makes this a must visit place if you are ever in Phuntsholing.

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The view of Phuntsholing & Jaigaon town is absolutely unparalleled, coupled with the prayer flags flying in the wind.

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The Sunset from here looks absolutely beautiful as well. We spent a beautiful evening here.

In the Monastery you will come across large statues of Buddhist deities, Shakyamuni Buddha, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal & Guru Rinpoche. While we were there, the monks were praying & the monks in training were beating the drums. The entire experience was almost ethereal. Coupled with the sounds you are almost transferred to another world entirely.

Once outside in the garden, you will find 8 chortens or stupas as we call them in India.

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Legend has it that an Indian couple who did not have any children visited this Monastery & prayed for a child. Shortly after their visit, thy were blessed with one! It is since then that couples hoping to have a child visit this monastery & pray that they conceive.

This monastery for me was the high point of my visit to Phuntsholing. Little did I know, this was just a beginning of things. As I continued with my journey, one after other, the beauty of Bhutan just left me mesmerized! Stay tuned for more!

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Leave your comments down below!

Regards,

A.

Phuntsholing – Bhutan

Phuntsholing is the first town you come across as you cross into Bhutan from Jaigaon, India. Since Bhutan & India have friendly relations you won’t find a heavily guarded border like you usually come across when it comes to International Borders. The only thing that separates the two countries is a beautiful Gate, you cross it & voila you reach Bhutan!

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Bhutan Gate

India supplies almost everything that Bhutan does not produce itself. So Phuntsholing is a gateway for all the trade that takes place between the two countries.

Most foreigners choose to fly into Bhutan via Delhi, India to Paro ( the only airport in Bhutan) so don’t really get to visit Phuntsholing. However most Indians choose the road route, which is what we had to do since we did not get the flight tickets ! Remember to book your flight tickets way in advance as the seats are limited, the plane being small.

So, we took a flight from Mumbai, India ( my hometown ) to Bagdogra, West Bengal. From Bagdogra, we hired a private car to take us to Jaigaon, the Indian border town to enter Phuntsholing, Bhutan.  As soon as we entered Bhutan, the weather got cooler & the roads were more ascending compared to the plains of Jaigaon. You can immediately sense the difference in the two cultures & architecture. (In Bhutan, all building need to have a uniform structure, you cannot design a building the way you want to)

We immediately checked into our hotel to freshen up, since we were tired  because of the journey! The roads from Bagdogra to Phuntsholing were very bumpy in certain areas!

We had already booked our stay for a night at The Park Hotel, Phuntsholing.  One thing to remember in Bhutan is when picking a hotel, pick one that is close to the Local market area. Getting around if you don’t have a private rented vehicle can be very difficult.

The one reason why I recommend this hotel for your stay at Phuntsholing is because of its excellent location. It is pretty close to the India Bhutan border & also the local market. The service, staff & food are amazing.

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The rooms are neat & well maintained. (I am a complete neat freak when it comes to hotels ) So you can trust me on this (I am not even paid to say this!) You can find them online at parkhotelbhutan.com.

After freshening up, we decided to do some local sight seeing! One whole day is more than enough to enjoy Phuntsholing. There is not much to see here except a few beautiful monastery’s. We hired a local cab & asked the driver to take us around town. The two must visit places while in Phuntsholing are ,

1- Karbandi Monastary

2 – Palden Tashi Chholing Tsuglangkhang ( Monastary & School of Monks)

We will be covering both, in separate posts this week! So stay tuned for more!!

Regards,

Arpita.