Beautiful Bhutan: A Himalayan Kingdom
Bhutan, the Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern fringes, is truly a breath-taking country. Over the years, we have explored all it has to offer; from monasteries and fortresses, to dzongs and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. Here are our top highlights in a photoblog…
1). The 108 memorial chortens, built by the eldest Queen Mother, at the Dochula Pass were surrounded by cloud when we visited, enroute from Paro to Punakha.
2). Jacaranda trees in full bloom decorated the mighty Punakha Dzong (or fortress), considered to be one of the holiest dzongs in the country.
3). Thangka painting adorning the entrance of Punakha Dzong. This famous quartet are called the ‘Four Friends’ and depict a well-known Buddhist mythological tale.
4). Bhutanese architecture at its best. A close up of the interior courtyard of Punakha Dzong.
5). Fairy-tale landscapes as seen from the car on the way from Punakha to Gangtey – a different view greets you around every turn on the roads, making you feel as if you are in a real-life Disney movie.
6). Paradise found: the terrace at Gangtey Lodge is the perfect place to spend hours simply staring at the scenic valley below. The weather changes so frequently that the light is constantly changing and there is always something to watch, while the staff bring you hot drinks, blankets, hot water bottles and neck warmers.
7). An ‘abominable sight’: the collection noun for a group of monks. Snapped within the walls of Gangtey Monastery.
8). The hot stone bath at Gangtey Lodge, the perfect treat after a long relaxing massage.
9). Gangtey Valley seems to go on forever. Our guide, Tashi, Mark (Gangtey Lodge’s GM) and Bagheera catch their breath after the climb.
10). Bhutan provides endless photo opportunities. Here prayer flags blow in the wind, spreading auspicious blessings over the valley below. The brightness of the colours mean these were strung recently.
11). Lunch with a view at Amankora Gangtey.
12). The ‘dancing policemen’ of Thimphu. Thimphu is the only city in the world which doesn’t have traffic lights. Instead traffic is controlled by smartly dressed traffic wardens.
13). Looking out over Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and largest city. Pictured is the Dechencholing Royal Palace and government buildings; all in the Bhutanese traditional architecture style.
14). Climb Tiger’s Nest as the sun's setting, to see a gorgeous glow over the hills and pine forests.
15). After the climb it was time for a soak at the wonderful Amankora Paro, just a ten minute drive from the base of Tiger’s Nest. The suite’s baths all look out over the surrounding pine forest.
16). Bhutanese houses are decorated with traditional paintings depicting symbols of fertility, good luck and long life.
17). Even leaving Bhutan is a scenic affair: this was the view from my seat as we took off from Paro.
18). Views over the Himalayas on landing and take-off can be exquisite on a clear day: blue skies and snow-capped peaks spread below you for miles.
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