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Old 15th April 2016, 12:51   #16
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Beautiful and lively pictures. They clearly say that you guys had a lot of fun. You got immersed in the local culture and had a whale of a time.

Thank you for sharing this travelogue!
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Old 15th April 2016, 13:19   #17
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: The Paro Tsechu



We thought that the show is over and and were discussing if we should be leaving now, as were really feeling hungry. For info asked a group of boys sitting next to us. And they said that if we wanted to see the real Cham Dance we should wait. Of course we wanted to and wait we did.


Clicking away, another view of magnificent Paro Dzong

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1405.jpg


And then suddenly there was a loud noise as if blowing of thousands conchs, literally 'shanknaad' types. Traced the source of this fog horn type sound to these who had appeared surprisingly on roof of the pavilion in front of us

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1415.jpg


Here is a zoomed out view of the pavilion from before, to give an idea of where these appeared..

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1250.jpg


And a procession traced out from the Dzong back to Tsechu grounds, it was led by these drummers

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Followed by these wreathed dancers

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and these girls

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and monks carrying something seemingly important

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a clown (atsara) trying on something new provided by an onlooker

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All lined up in two rows towards entrance of the building from which the giant painting was hung, the procession of monks halted and these four gentlemen performed a dance

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This procession went inside the building and out came the atsaras to keep the crowd entertained

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We could see that few preparations were in way for something different, as this space occupied till now by onlookers was occupied by them

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1471.jpg


(continued..)
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Old 15th April 2016, 13:24   #18
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

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Originally Posted by catchjyoti View Post
Beautiful and lively pictures. They clearly say that you guys had a lot of fun. You got immersed in the local culture and had a whale of a time.

Thank you for sharing this travelogue!
Thank you catchjyoti for putting the right words in my mouth! Yes, whale of a time it was
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Old 15th April 2016, 13:43   #19
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: The Paro Tsechu



Soon, out came the drummers

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1479.jpg


and the err... cymballers

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1487.jpg


and the pipers, if I may say so

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1518.jpg


They too performed in a circle for a short while

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1501.jpg


before taking their designated places for the Cham

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1503.jpg


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Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1507.jpg


Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1511.jpg


(to be continued, coming up the Cham)
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Old 15th April 2016, 13:55   #20
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Firstly, What a travelogue... Hats off. The attention to detail is truly commendable. The best part is that you listed out the steps for the permits in so much detail. Makes it so much more easier for all bhpians planning a trip there.

Secondly, you seem to be a foodie just like me. Could you also mention some of the other dishes that you enjoyed and which are unique to Bhutan.

Cheers.
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Old 15th April 2016, 14:06   #21
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Originally Posted by speedmunster View Post
Firstly, What a travelogue... Hats off. The attention to detail is truly commendable. The best part is that you listed out the steps for the permits in so much detail. Makes it so much more easier for all bhpians planning a trip there.

Secondly, you seem to be a foodie just like me. Could you also mention some of the other dishes that you enjoyed and which are unique to Bhutan.

Cheers.
Thank you, speedmunster, yes the food will follow during the travelogue. Probably will list it in the end if I ever get there

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Originally Posted by speedmunster View Post
Could you also mention some of the other dishes that you enjoyed and which are unique to Bhutan.

Cheers.
Few things which come to my mind off hand are the Yak cheese, Yak Ribs, Yak Burger, the Datshis (chilly cheese white gravy) (Ema, Ema Dewa and lot many combinations), the Pork pak fa (pork slices with thin slices of radish), the home made sausage and bacons, Red rice and of course the momos and thupkas. If you ever venture east try Wai Wai instead of Maggi.

Last edited by ampere : 20th April 2016 at 08:41. Reason: Back to back posts merged.
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Old 15th April 2016, 15:16   #22
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: The Paro Tsechu



And here come the Cham dancers

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1535.jpg


with their intense dance on forceful live music of huge cymbals and drums

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1547.jpg


they had all viewers spell bound

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1548.jpg


while something in large jars was being taken inside the building in background

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1550.jpg


Reminded me of this from Asterix the Gladiator, literally it seemed we were in medieval times in a circus amphitheater. Can't blame me, everything around was suggesting the same, except for the mobiles and cameras with us and those around

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few steps were common to the Rajasthani Kalbelia

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Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1574.jpg


See

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while few to bhangra

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1578.jpg


balle balle..

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1583.jpg


(contd..)
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Old 15th April 2016, 15:48   #23
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: The Paro Tsechu



As this captivating dance got over, we thought to make a move to assuage our rumbling stomachs, we had not carried loads of food unlike the locals


so we climbed down from our perches

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1560.jpg


cleaned our seats, we had not got our durries along unlike the wise locals

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1585.jpg


thought to get few last photos clicked at venue, a couple photo courtesy my elder one

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1592.jpg


But suddenly there was rising crescendo of rolling drums, and as it stopped; out popped these from windows of building and pavilions beating their drums like giant cuckoos from Swiss clocks

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1593.jpg


to get a better idea of scale

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1594.jpg


to get the best idea..

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1597.jpg


they were appearing not only from windows, but from pavilions too

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1596.jpg


people were scampering to get blessed by touch of their curved drum sticks as these characters freely mingled in the crowd

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1606.jpg


we too were not the ones to be left behind

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1611.jpg


(contd..)
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Old 15th April 2016, 16:18   #24
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: The Paro Tsechu



Now we really had to go, the hunger was overtaking everything else


but not before getting few last photos clicked

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1613.jpg


This young guy along with his elder brother and mother was sitting besides us for sometime during the Tsechu, he found us here now and decided to prang the pic

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1599.jpg


My kids called him and his brother over for a memorable pic

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1602.jpg


Finally we got out of the Tsechu grounds,


these three young girls sun bathed oblivious of Tsechu and all else on a parapet opposite the Paro Dzong

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1615.jpg


Framed by the door

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1616.jpg


The beautiful and probably ancient cobbled way between Dzong and Zam, it was choc-a-bloc with believers and tourist in mornig

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1617001.jpg


Another view of the imposing Paro Dzong presiding over its magnificient valley

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1620001.jpg


In front of Paro Dzong

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1623001.jpg


Kids insisted on going via this alternate bridge, who can say no

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1626001.jpg


Good that we followed their wish, as it gave a new angle

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1628001.jpg


(continued...)
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Old 15th April 2016, 18:44   #25
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Brilliant travelogue friend, very well supplemented by great pics. I recently had visited Gangtok and got to know that now, only cars having WB number plate can drive to bhutan. Is that true?
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Old 15th April 2016, 19:18   #26
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Default Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Day 2: Paro-Ta Dzong



Finally, we headed out of Paro Dzong, we had to walk till the main street where we had parked our car, though the roads were open now

We decided to have a peek inside a art gallery just in front of Naymi Zam


The natural paints used in traditional paintings

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1634.jpg


One of paintings

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1638001.jpg


All paintings are sketched as per strict laid down proportions (in the texts) like these, that is how they get huge paintings right too

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1639001.jpg


The walk back was nice, with cherries in blossom

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1640001.jpg


This seemingly holy man was sitting on the main street next to archery ground, where right now there was great fair on for the occasion of Tsechu. In morning there was huge line of people for obtaining his blessings

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1642001.jpg


One of the most lovely views etched in my mind from the trip is that of this main street of Paro, with snow speckled mountains as backdrop, row of double storied only traditional wooden buildings on both sides (no ugly multi storied concrete sky scrappers), in proportion of whom the street looks of just the right width, clean street, orderly row of parked cars, kept clicking it but was unable to capture the scene as I felt it. It seemed like mix a of Alpine Europe with wild west open space ..

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1645001.jpg


The main street of Paro is pretty touristy with just eateries or handicraft shops with few general stores sprinkled in between, and we did not mind that. The numerous handicraft stores are stocked with all kinds of keepsakes, but the VFM (value for money) aspect for all the items will be against the economic sensibilities of most Indians

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1649001.jpg


While wife window shopped accompanied by elder one, I took the younger one who had his mind set on this particular bakery since last night (when we talked him out of it to go to Sonam Trophel) and had extracted a promise from me to take him there.

Delighted on having a Chocolate Macaroon at The Brioche Cafe. The goodies on offer here are good and they have some good old monochromes of Bhutan and Paro in their sitting lounge and have free Wifi

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1650001.jpg


We had decided to have lunch at restaurant of Bondey Institute of Hospitality and Tourism, which I had read somewhere offers traditional Bhutanese sit down meal of high quality and service at moderate prices as it is a training institute. We will have to drive there as it was some distance away, and for that we will have to walk back to our car.

We decided to try out the back street to walk back and were rewarded with these lovely views

View of Paro Valley

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1651001.jpg


View of Dopshari Valley

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1652001.jpg


Monks watching a riverside Dart Competition

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1654001.jpg


Pictorial prayer flags

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1656001.jpg


Paro Altoe'ed

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1657001.jpg


Well, that restaurant was preparing for some big dinner and was closed for lunch

We now drove back all the way to go a place my elder one wanted to. This was Authentic Pizzas and is a good alternate eat out, especially with kids. The pizzas are good and reasonable. And considering the fact that they start rolling the dough for base only after receiving your order, the service is fast too, the kids just loved it here and become our favourite eatery in Paro.

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1660001.jpg


Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dsc_1662.jpg


(contd..)

Last edited by YanTra Makto : 15th April 2016 at 19:35.
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Old 15th April 2016, 19:28   #27
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waspune View Post
Brilliant travelogue friend, very well supplemented by great pics. I recently had visited Gangtok and got to know that now, only cars having WB number plate can drive to bhutan. Is that true?
Thank you friend. No not at all, any Indian Car with valid papers can drive in Bhutan after getting the requisite permission and paying a nominal fee of couple of hundred INRs, in fact I myself spotted at least one each from Karnataka (a fellow BHPian), one from Chandigarh and one from Delhi.

What you say may be the unofficial imposition by taxi union on outside taxis only.

For example even in Gangtok, you will be unable to go Nathula in even a WB taxi, your WB taxi driver himself will not take you. But there's never been any problems in these parts with private cars unlike the recent ones in Leh, I have heard, which I wishfully hope were either blown up half truths or a sporadic incident.

So be assured, you can go to Nathula North Sikkim or Bhutan in your private non WB / SK vehicle
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Old 15th April 2016, 20:24   #28
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Originally Posted by YanTra Makto View Post
Thank you friend. No not at all, any Indian Car with valid papers can drive in Bhutan after getting the requisite permission and paying a nominal fee of couple of hundred INRs, in fact I myself spotted at least one each from Karnataka (a fellow BHPian), one from Chandigarh and one from Delhi.

What you say may be the unofficial imposition by taxi union on outside taxis only.

For example even in Gangtok, you will be unable to go Nathula in even a WB taxi, your WB taxi driver himself will not take you. But there's never been any problems in these parts with private cars unlike the recent ones in Leh, I have heard, which I wishfully hope were either blown up half truths or a sporadic incident.

So be assured, you can go to Nathula North Sikkim or Bhutan in your private non WB / SK vehicle
Thanks. But we had a different experience when we were in Gangtok.This February we had a family trip to Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok. We took a flight from Delhi to Bagdogra. We had done Army reservations, as my father is in Defence. So we were given an Innova for the whole trip at Bagdogra airport which had WB number plate. So when we visited Gangtok from the same vehicle, we were told that we can go to Nathula Pass only in a car that has the Sikkim number plate. So we had to hire a different taxi that bore SK number plate. Also, we were told that in the same way WB doesnt allow SK and other states' cars to travelling to Bhutan from WB
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Old 15th April 2016, 21:25   #29
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Thanks. But we had a different experience ...
kindly go through my reply again , I guess that is what I said,
taxi = problem, not as per law but as per unofficial understanding between various taxi unions. I specifically mentioned that in a WB taxi you can go till Gangtok but not Nathula or North Sikkim.
Private Car = No Problem, I hope you get the drift now


That is my car at Nathu La

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dscf9503.jpg


And here she is close to Guru Dongmar Lake in North Sikkim

Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan-dscf9939.jpg


and no she does not has a Sikkim number plate.

In fact do a quick search on TBHP and you would find many non WB vehicles of TBHPians which have traversed Bhutan or non SK vehicles which have traversed Sikkim

Last edited by YanTra Makto : 15th April 2016 at 21:37.
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Old 15th April 2016, 22:21   #30
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Default Re: Alto'ed: Blessed in Bhutan

Awesome travelogue and awesome pictures. Bhutan seems to be a great place to holiday seeing its natural beauty. Hills, greenery, snow what more can one ask for when on a holiday. You have surely increased my bucket list.
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