This half kira was given to me by my friend as a parting gift. It is hand woven and I am in love with the colours, the texture and the authentic vibe and feel of it 💙
My three months volunteering work in Bhutan is coming to an end this week. I am going to miss Bhutan terribly, especially the people and friends I made here in the capital. It’s going to be a bit difficult adjusting to my new life that awaits me. The people in this country are some of the most generous people I have ever met, and Thimphu has to be one of the safest capital in the world, I have never felt this calm in my life. I am a practising Buddhist from Chile and the depth of spirituality in this country has completely changed me, every home i have visited, rich or poor have a shrine in it, Buddhist practise here isn’t just a religion here, it’s a way of life 💙
I leave in a week’s time and I am already sad, but the memories I will take back home will balm my soul for a lifetime. I hope to visit Bhutan again one day 💙
The takin is Bhutan’s national animal, and quite a weird looking one at that. It essentially has the body of a cow, with the head of a goat. On the outskirts of Thimphu is a small preserve holding some of these takins, which are hard to spot in the wild. This mini-zoo also has deer and some mountain goats. The takin can be found in the Himalayas, mainly in Bhutan and parts of Tibet. In the early 2000s, the decision was made to release the preserve’s takins back into the wild, but the tamed animals wandered back towards Thimphu, roaming the streets looking for food. Eventually they were brought back to the zoo. I am really glad that I splurged for a new 18-300mm lens for my DSLR camera before this trip, or I would have been unable to photograph these creatures. They were all huddled together well over 100m/300ft away from the visitor path, towards the opposite side of their enclosure.
The National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimphu is one of Bhutan’s main vocational schools for the traditional arts. School students who don’t earn grades sufficient to enroll in competitive universities, or with a passion for arts, come here to get an education focusing on one of 13 different art subjects. These include painting, embroidery, woodcarving, sculpture-making and silversmithing. Courses take between two to five years to complete, and most graduates will earn jobs with the government, primarily making art for Bhutan’s numerous religious buildings. Often times, the students have to prepare art pieces on paper, before getting started with their respective projects. The school is open for guests, and you can enter the classrooms and interact with the students, even though they are technically in class! At least as long as the teachers don’t mind you visiting. Quite a cool experience.
Laced up the hiking boots, and went with my guide and our driver for the 2-hour roundtrip hike up to the Tango Monastery, north of Thimphu. Like a lot of other monasteries, Tango Goemba, as the locals call it, was built in a remote location, to offer the monks peace and refuge from city life. A temple was first built here in the 12th century, but in the 15th century, Lama Drukpe Kunley, who’s been nicknamed the “Divine Madman”, built the monastery that is here now. Today it houses a university of Buddhist Studies. Unfortunately, the caretaker for the main temple inside the monastery was nowhere to be found, so that part was locked. Oh well, a bit of hiking is always nice. The hillsides are full of prayer flags, and dotted with shrines.
Atop a hill in #Thimphu
is a massive, golden Buddha sitting atop a gilded meditation hall. But the monument holds an invisible secret: Unbeknownst to many people viewing the statue, they aren’t actually looking at one Buddha, they’re looking at 125,000 of them.
Inside of Thimphu’s 169 foot #Buddha
Dordenma statue, there are 125,000 miniature Buddhas encapsulated inside of its enlightened bronze chest, ranging from 8 to 12 inches tall. This means that in Thimphu, which has a population of around 100,000, there are more Buddhas than there are human beings.
On a hilltop south of Thimphu sits one of the world’s largest Buddha statues, 54 m (177 ft) tall. The statue was constructed in China, sponsored by Singaporeans, and then driven via India to Bhutan piece-by-piece to be assembled on the hill. There is one open temple underneath (no photos), with plans for another five temples in different levels of the statue underway, as well as an adjacent monastery. The drive up to the statue offers great views of the Bhutanese capital Thimphu, as well as parts of the Himalayas.
Days Plan #Todsy
, where do you want to go #Bhutan #Thimphu #Paro #Bucket
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the fields of Sopsokha village to Chimi Lhakhang
Bhutan might be one of the largest countries in the world without a traffic light. It is home to almost 750,000 people, with over 100,000 of them living in Thimphu, the capital. The government tried to introduce one single traffic light in 1994, but the drivers weren’t used to it, and didn’t know how to interpret it. It probably caused an accident or two, and the locals anyway thought it was too impersonal to have a machine telling them what to do. The traffic light was removed, and ever since, Thimphu has had what my guide calls “dancing traffic lights”.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, and the country first appeared at the 1984 Olympics fielding a team of archers. If you visit Changlimithang Archery Stadium in Thimphu, there will usually be either a match ongoing or a practice. Today was just practice. Matches get a lot more lively, with crowds cheering on, and the opponents taunting the archer as he takes aim for the target at the other end of the stadium. Winning prizes sometimes include scooters and flat-screen TVs.
The National Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 as a memorial for the third Bhutanese king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who died in 1972. He is regarded as the creator of modern Bhutan, as he brought the country out of isolation. A lot of locals come here to worship.
Random photos from the road today, as my guide, our driver and I traveled from Paro to the capital Thimphu. It includes the confluence of two rivers at Chhuzom. This is believed to be auspicious in Bhutanese Buddhism, so there’s three shrines at the other side of the river, to keep away any evil forces that may thwart that. Today also happened to be a Hindu holiday, Vishwakarma Puja, which Bhutan’s Hindu minority celebrated by decorating their cars, among other things. Some Bhutanese Buddhists decided to get in on the fun too, including our driver.