In Paro with Tragopan Tours and Travels, I experienced exactly why Bhutan is known for its state policy of happiness or Gross National Happiness (GNH). Since I didn’t have to worry about my logistics or accommodation as everything was perfectly taken care of, I could simply enjoy the happiness quotient of the kingdom.

From Thimphu, I headed to Paro but took a detour to visit Chelala Pass first. One of Bhutan’s highest motorable passes, the drive to Chelela is picturesque through a forest with views of the Paro valley on the left. At the top, temperatures dip with a bone chilling wind so carrying warm clothing is advised. Prayer flags surround you at Chelela where you can sip tea and eat Bhutanese porridge.

The next day was spent in local sightseeing. The historical Paro fortress is known as the Paro Rimpong Dzong. Don’t miss the views of Paro town, the royal palace and a traditional covered Bhutanese bridge which you can walk to from the dzong. From the bridge you can see the river, Paro Rimpong Dzong as well as Ta Dzong which is now the National Museum of Bhutan. Ta Dzong is an ancient watchtower that is currently being renovated so the National Museum is housed in a building in front of it. The museum shows videos of various Cham or mask dances and has galleries of masks, thangkas, clay statues and fauna.

Although the ancient Drukgyal Dzong is now in ruins and entry inside it is restricted as it is being renovated, its remnants are reminders of its past glory of being a victory fort. Two old and holy Lhakhangs or monasteries which must be visited while in Paro are Kichu Lhakhang and Dungtse Lhakhang.

On my last day in Paro, I hiked to Taktshang or Tiger’s nest. The sacred Taktshang is the most popular Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas. It is where Buddhism began in Bhutan. The monastery is built on a cliff wall 800 metres above a verdant valley and the hike is strenuous but the sense of accomplishment you feel once you reach is totally worth it. Plus a visit to Bhutan is incomplete without visiting Taktshang. My Tragopan appointed guide encouraged me throughout.

Apart from Paro and Thimphu, Tragopan Tours and Travels conducts tours to various regions of Bhutan. Customization is their forte and right from cultural, trekking, local festival tours to bird watching, biking, adventure and culinary tours, Tragopan’s team of professional tour leaders, guides and ground crew handles it efficiently as they have done so far for thousands of happy and satisfied guests including me. I highly recommend them if you want to smoothly experience and enjoy the culture, traditions, Buddhist faith, peace, serenity, hospitality and gorgeous natural beauty that Bhutan is known for.

Tragopan Tours and Travels

Tel no- 00975 17119022

00975 8272320

Email- info@bhutantragopantours.com, kjigme@yahoo.com

Website- www.bhutantragopantours.com

Khursheed Dinshaw

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