NEW DELHI: India's little neighbour, Bhutan, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. Besides a breathtaking view of Himalayas, Bhutan has a lot to offer to its tourists.
Here, we list to you five reasons for visiting this Himalayan kingdom;
1. A visit to Punakha Dzong
Bhutan’s second largest Dzong and one of the most majestic structures in the country, Punakha Dzong lives up to its name that translates to "palace of great happiness".
The splendid dzong, constructed as an embodiment of Buddhist values, houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa. Today visitors can walk through its corridors, admire the exquisite murals that adorn its walls, and marvel at the original volume of the Kanjur, the holy book of the Drukpas that is stored in the Dzong.
2. Trek to Dochula Pass
Situated away from the capital city of Thimphu to Punakha, and at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, Dochula Pass is one of the most popular tourist spots, presenting a breathtaking view of the Eastern Himalayas to the trekkers. The snow-clad mountain pass is known for the 108 stupas that stand tall in the center of the pass. Built by Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the stupas honor Bhutanese soldiers killed in battle.
3. Discover peace at Paro Taktsang
A trip to Bhutan is incomplete without a trek to the most visited tourist destination, Paro Taktsang, more popularly known as Tiger’s Nest. Located in the upper Paro valley, the temple complex was the site where Guru Padmasambhava meditated for over three years in the 8th century.
4. Sneak-peek into Bhutan’s culinary heritage
A visit to the Folk Heritage Museum gives you a glimpse into rural Bhutanese life. For an authentic Bhutanese meal, unwind at a patio table set amidst fragrant fruit trees at this restored three-storey, timber building and indulge in traditional Bhutanese delicacies such as ema datshi (chillies in cheese), ezzy (red chilli chutney) and jasha maru (minced chicken curry with chillies).
5.Mountain Echoes Literary Festival
Held in the capital city of Thimpu, Mountain Echoes Literary Festival is one of the most awaited literary events of the year. Bhutan celebrates the eighth edition of the distinctive literary arts and culture festival this year.
With an aim to celebrate Untouched Beauty, Unexplored Ideas and Unstoppable Voices, the three-day festival will focus on globally relevant issues such as environmental conservation, natural history, spirituality, and the global evolution of textiles and design traditions.
Headline names set to appear at this year’s edition are Markus Zusak, His Eminence Kyabje Khedrup Rinpoche Ugyen Tenzin Thinley Lhendup, Padma Lakshmi, Pranay Lal, Devdutt Pattanaik, Francesca Beard, Phuntsho Namgyel, Lopen Sonam Bumdhen, Imtiaz Ali, Prayaag Akbar, Rebecca Pradhan, Palden Tshering and Neel Madhav.