Happy 1st Blog Anniversary!

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‘ArpitasTravelogue’ turns One today!

Thank for your Likes.

Thank You for your Comments.

Thank you for your Suggestions.

Thank you for your Award Nominations.

Thank you for your Follows.

Thank you for your Friendship.

Thank you for your Time.

Thank you for your Support.

But Most of all Thank you for the Love.

I am Forever Grateful!

-Arpita.

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.

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.

Postcard from Bhutan!

Dear (insert your name here),

The past few days here in Bhutan have been completely ethereal. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of this tiny Himalayan Kingdom. The Mountains, Valleys, Monasteries, each seem to gain a life of its own.

The people are so simple, friendly & lead such simple lives. I am extremely happy to explore the ‘Happiest Place in the World’!! There are so many pictures to share & so many stories to tell. But they will have to wait till I get back.

Till then, enjoy your postcard from Bhutan!

Love,

Arpita.

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Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award!

The Blogging community has always been very kind & supportive throughout my blogging journey. Each award that has been given to me by the community has brought with it such encouragement & inspiration to continue with more enthusiasm! I am so very grateful to the two amazing Bloggers who nominated me for the ‘Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award’!  Thank You so much Francesca & WordsCoffeeandLacedresses for this honor! I will happily receive it & add it my little collection!

You can find the rules here 

Here are Answers to Francesca’s Questions

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What prompted you to start blogging?

Travel has always been my most favorite thing to do. I was also greatly influenced by Samantha Brown’s Travel Shows growing up. Viewing the world through somebody else’s eyes is always fascinating. As I started traveling, I thought why not give the world a glimpse into my travels. Its also a great way to document my most favorite places & memories.

If you had a time machine, would you travel to the past, future or not bother?

I would travel back to my childhood & relive it again! It was an amazing childhood.

What triggers your muse?

Mother Nature

Do you have a favorite piece of Architectural brilliance?

The Taj Mahal, India.

When does your Mind come to life, Dusk or Dawn?

Dusk.

Here are the Answers to WordsCoffeeandlaceDresses’s Questions 

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Where do you most of your writing and does it help you stay focused?

At my writing desk with a cup of tea in hand, that’s the only place where I can work without a break for hours at a stretch.

Do you prefer music or silence while writing?

I prefer silence

How has blogging benefited you in terms of personal growth?

Its made me more confident in terms of my writing skills. The thing I value most is the love of my readers & my connection with them, its made me more responsible as a blogger to give out quality content.

What is your favorite book?

The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseni

What do you do when you need to de-stress?

Take a nice warm shower with lavender bathing salts.

NOMinees

I hereby Nominate the following amazing Bloggers for this award!

Koolitzable 

Adriennea

Theanonymoustalker

Anwyn84

Reiva geen

Congratulations guys!!!

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Here are your questions!

What inspires you the most in life?

Whats your favorite childhood memory?

Whats your favorite book?

If you could spend a day with a famous personality, who would it be & why?

Whats the story behind the title of your blog?

Thank you once again for the nomination & Congratulations to the Nominees, you guys are amazing bloggers & deserve the nominations!

Warm Regards,

Arpita!

Living Through The Lens

Living Through the Lens

We are a self proclaimed Selfie crazed generation! Every beautiful place we visit, its almost out of instinct we grab our cameras to try & capture the perfect image or click that perfect selfie!

I have to admit, I am no different from the rest.

Being a Travel Blogger I have my focus on taking that perfect picture as well.

However, I realized during my trip to Thailand, when we were visiting this beautiful garden. It had the most gorgeous flowers, fountains & butterflies!

However, instead of enjoying the greenery or taking the time to appreciate the beauty with which mother nature had graced the place, most of us were busy clicking pictures! Click Click Click everywhere!

For me, that was then I realized that many times when we travel, we almost, all the time, live through the lens! May it be the lens of our camera or of our phones! We are just in the mad craze of capturing everything, everywhere. We forget that the place where beauty can be best captures is in our minds as memories!

I did not click many pictures in that garden from that point on & have very few images of that beautiful place.

I could not post a lot of images o n my blog, just a few & you know what? Its okay, because I have the images of the most gorgeous flowers, fountains & butterflies in my mind.

I just want to say to you guys, take in the beauty, appreciate it, really look at it. Lets enjoy the experience exclusively for sometime. I am not saying don’t take images at all. But don’t let your travel be all about image taking.

You might lose Images from your camera or your phone, but never the ones from your mind & memories.

Love,

Arpita xo

Traveling on a Budget?

We all dream of traveling the world. However, traveling these days is not exactly cheap. This is especially true when it comes to the big cities. So how does one fulfill ones dream of traveling, yet not burn a hole in ones pocket? Stay tuned, as in this post I talk about ways you can make the most out of your travel on a limited Budget.

Plan Ahead

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It always helps to plan ahead of time. Start at least 6 months prior to your intended time of travel .You stand a chance of getting better deals when it comes to Flights,  Train tickets, accommodation etc among other things which in itself will save you a lot of money.

Do not travel during the Peak Season

The costs of traveling during the Peak season will always be double of what you would pay normally. Avoid traveling during vacations or summer holidays as the prices are greatly escalated during that time & most places will be crowded. Instead opt for Off season travel. You tend to get a good discount at most places. Sometimes you will end up paying only half of what you normally would have paid during the Tourist Season.

Exchange Value

Choose destinations where the currency of your country has a greater exchange value. That way you will have the advantage of having a larger budget than you would have, if you traveled to a country where the currency of your country has lower exchange value.

Choosing the Destination

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Instead of traveling to the big cities where the cost of living is high. You can opt for a smaller cities which are equally beautiful, but lesser expensive. Honestly, it is your choice of destination which greatly determines the amount of money you will be spending. So why not travel to a place which is beautiful & offers almost everything in terms of a holiday destination? Its all about the research.

Opt for Hostels instead of Hotels

If Hotels are on the more expensive side where you are traveling to. Why not opt for the Hostels? You will save a lot of money & chances are you might meet like minded people who can be your travel companions as well. These days the demands for hostels are getting increasingly popular especially among solo travelers & people who would rather spend money elsewhere than on living expenses. Also some hostels these days offer great services state of art services at more affordable rates than Hotels. Again it depends on the place you are traveling to. In certain countries, Hotels are not on a very expensive side. All again comes down to your choice of Holiday destination.

Food

Rather than opting to eat at big restaurants why not go for the local eating joints. Explore the Local food markets & enjoy the street food! You can not only taste local flavors, but it will also save you some money.

Take the Free Walking tours

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Most cities offer free Walking tours of cities. It is the best way to explore a city & it its free! Honestly, nothing turns a destination into a home like exploring it on foot. Most Walking tours are organised by Locals who know the city well. Its am amazing way to get to know about the Local culture from somebody who is a part of it. Here is a list of Free Walking tours in cities across the World http://www.priceoftravel.com/1835/list-of-free-walking-tours-around-the-world/

Explore the Museums, Art Galleries & Churches

Entry to most Museums & Art Galleries is free & even if they charge you, its rarely very high. Its an amazing way to browse through the history of a particular place & learn about its culture! Again it is cost effective!

Churches

Churches are one of my favorite things to visit whenever I am traveling to any city. The architecture & painting is unique for every church & most cities have churches that have been a part of their heritage for many centuries. Again Entry to Churches are free!

Explore the Local markets

There is nothing like exploring the Local markets to really get a feel of the place & get an insight into the local culture. Local markets are great places to get bargain deals on fabrics to handicrafts & buy souvenirs to take back home . Again it wont cost you as much as buying them at the shopping malls. You can also try the Local food at its authentic best for really low prices.

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Visit the Gardens & Parks

Every place has its own Parks & gardens. They are such great places to spend time & unwind. Parks are excellent places to spend a lazy afternoon at. Why not pack your lunch, grab a book & have yourself a lovely picnic!

Enjoy the Beaches

For me the most amazing vacations are near the Beaches. You always have options that suit various budgets & spending time at a Beach is free. Whether you spend time in the water during the day or enjoy a beautiful sunset, Its not going to cost you.

Take the Local transport

Local Transport

Always get a map of the place you are traveling to if you don’t have a GPS. Take the local transport instead of hiring a car or cab. Not only will it save you a lot of money but will also familiarize you with the place. You can opt for a full day transport card that most cities offer. For a specific amount of money you can use the local transport as many times as you want! It works out really well.

Make friends with Locals

The Locals can help you with recommending the best places to eat, the best route to reach a particular place & accommodations the are within your budget. However be careful with who you trust!

You see a lot of good things in life are free. Keep the above things in mind before & during  your travel & you can have yourself that holiday you have always wanted to take!

If you have any more ideas, do leave them in the comments down below!

Love,

Arpita.