Put on your best clothing, learn about the culture and history of this beautiful place and join in the festivities, says Avril-Ann Braganza.
If you’re in Bhutan between 25th February and 2nd March this year and enjoy festivals, you might want to attend the Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen in Punakha.
There is an ethereal beauty to Bhutan that visitors just can’t get enough of.
It was just after 11pm, Wednesday, in the western town of Paro, Bhutan. It was also Ladies’ Night, and we were walking towards Destiny Club disco to celebrate the last night of our trip. Young girls in mini-skirts and heels overtook our big group, checked out our casual clothes and said: “Tourism day?”
Bhutan is “the Land of the Thunder Dragon,” called Druk Yul, and it is happiness rather than gross profit that is measured and reported by the Government! The landing in Paro can be challenging, but the experienced pilots of Drukair will slide you into the green valley with no problem. The air and light are crisp and I feel so free as I come out of the plane… only to smile and be happier to see that all the men are wearing wrap dresses! The photos of the young King and his recent bride are everywhere, and they truly are the most beautiful young couple!
Chorten Nyingpo is a monastery in Kabisa, Punakha, that was built by Gyalsay Tenzin Rabgye in the 17 century. Chorten Nyingpo Lhakhang, was renovated recently using the art of conservation for inner mural paintings so they looked as old as they were.
On a cold March night nearly two years ago, not long after we had learned that the baby I was carrying had all his chromosomes in a sequence that spelled health and wholeness, I was lying in bed next to my husband marveling at this unlikely turn of fortune when I remembered Chimi Lhakhang.
Chimi Lhakhang is a dusty temple in Bhutan, a country where two summers before I had taught composition at a college. Bhutan is tiny, caught like a bead between the masses of China and India. Through the protective arc of the Himalayas and a strategic choice of alliances, Bhutan has preserved its borders and its culture. It remains stunningly itself, indifferent to Western notions of success.
Punakha is one of the lowest lying valleys in Bhutan at an elevation of 1,350m. With its temperate climate, Punakha is the market garden of the country. Produce grows year round and many Bhutanese reside here during the colder winter months. Punakha has an interesting history. It was in Punakha, the first hereditary Monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned on 17 December 1907. Punakha served as the winter capital till 1955 and Punakha Dzong continues to be the winter residence of the Central Monk Body.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple.
Chimi Lhakhang is a very popular and revered temple that lies on the periphery of the fertile valley of Lobesa, where the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and wangduephodrang districts meet. Being dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman, the temple is popularly considered to be a temple of fertility.