Beautiful Bhutan


Dochula Pass, Bhutan (3050 m)


Bhutan is a country of only 46,500 square kilometres, most of them vertical. If it was flattened out, they say, it would be about the size of India. The Himalayas border the northern regions of Bhutan, and the country has some great remote hiking. In fact, to reach many of the temples (or chortens) perched in the mountains, hiking is necessary. In the picturesque and fertile river valleys, family farms still grow rice, millet and vegetables, and keep cows and other livestock. Continue reading

Tiger’s Nest: Bhutan


Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan



In the last post, all about dzongs, you may have been intrigued by the story of Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century AD, who is said to have flown on the back of a tiger (curiously, his consort in tiger form) to establish a monastery on the side of a cliff. That monastery is called Tiger’s Nest (or Taktsang Palphug Monastery), and once you see it you realise why someone might need a flying tiger to reach it. Continue reading

What’s a Dzong?


Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

Possibly the most recognisable image of Bhutan is a colourful, carved dzong with squat roofs and white walls. These unusual buildings formed the heart of settlements in ancient Bhutan. They were temples, administrative headquarters and fortresses, ruling over the farming villages in the valleys. Today they are hardly needed as fortresses, but they still house both the sacred and the secular, the temples and the government offices. Continue reading