These past few days in Bhutan have been incredibly engaging and eye opening for us. As soon as we landed here in Bhutan the group felt a surge of energy unexplainable which was expressed through joyous jumping, hugging and laughs which could have easily weirded out folks at the Paro Airport. During the first day in Thimpu we went and visited the Royal Takin Reserve, an organization dedicated for the conservation and research on Takins, the national animal of Bhutan which looks like the cross between a cow and a goat. After which we went to visit the folk museum of Bhutan and saw different artifacts of daily life in Bhutan. We were also fascinated to learn about the rich textile weaving culture of Bhutan while visiting the Textile Museum of Bhutan. Needless to say, the fabrics were some of the most if not the most impressive feats of skills and traditions we’ve ever seen. We also visited the craft market, traditional paper factory and Thangka painting centers to learn how arts and crafts play a big part in Bhutan’s daily life. We also got ourselves some traditional Bhutanese clothing that we are excited to wear. In the evening went to see the live version of the singing completion “The Voice of Bhutan” and even though we weren’t able to understand the songs which were in Dzongkha the local language of Bhutan, the atmosphere of thousands of locals enjoying the music in an open arena in the evening light was nothing short of a magical experience.
We were also very fortunate to be welcomed to the Bhutanese Nuns Foundation, an organization working towards the betterment of the life and education of nuns all over Bhutan. There we were guided in meditation by the nuns and also got to learn about the traditional art of Tibetan medicine. We also got to take part in the rammed earth building process for a building being built as a residence for the nuns. We were guided by the builders the basics of earth ramming and got to learn about this wonderful building style that according to many people is starting to be lost. We then hiked up to the Buddha Dordenma, a giant Buddha statue sitting atop a monastery with mind-blowing feats of engineering and craft manifesting deep spiritual symbology and tradition of this place.
While our senses are constantly stimulated by the sheer beauty of Bhutan and we can’t seem to have enough of it, we’ve also taken time to reflect and discuss the ideas of happiness, learning service and being responsible travelers and how learn how everything has its nuances and complication. The after dinner times are spent in cozy room where we all meet together to learn about each other’s lives and journeys that brought us all here in Bhutan together. Now as we are moving away from the capital city of Thimpu and towards the central parts of Bhutan, we look forward to learning more about how Bhutan’s idea of Happiness manifests in different ways in people’s life. We are also excited to learning about conservation projects as we spend a few days at the pioneer organization in conservation and preservation of nature and wildlife here in Bhutan. We don’t mean to give the most glowing picture of Bhutan as every place has its own issues to deal with but the sheer beauty of this place, efforts towards preservation of nature and an unconventional idea of measuring the progress of the country through happiness definitely makes this country a huge source of inspiration.
We will be travelling tomorrow towards Phobjika and will likely have inconsistent internet connectivity. But we will try to update you as we find the opportunity to connect. But as of now all the students and instructors are settling in to the vibe of Bhutan and are doing well both in body and mind.
We have attached some pictures and hope you will enjoy them.