Heading to Thimphu

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As befits the  Kingdom of The Thunder Dragon where prosperity is measured in gross national happiness rather than GNP, the people have no problem expressing their affection for King and country

 
On the road again.  We drove to the government check point at Chuzom where the unlucky confluence of rivers warrants the erection of three chorten/stupa to ward off evil spirits

One Bhutanese in style, the others Tibetan and Nepali

This looked familiar!  Just the beginning of our road trip and the  awful state of the road to Thimpu became apparent 

Kinley told us the road to Thimpu 'dances' which it surely did.  Fortunately Kinley is an expert dancer 

Motithang W.W.F. Park

Here he is again, The Divine Madman working his miracles. The Takin is probably one or the ugliest beasts I have ever seen but the locals are very proud of it and it is unique. to Bhutan.   I would see more at the Yangon Zoo a few months later

 


Defying  categorization,  it's in a class of its own.


 

Chiles figure prominently in Bhutanese cuisine.  Their national dish is emadatse a spicy chillies and cheese sauce dish. 
Red and white rice,  a variety of vegetables, meat and fish stews along with emadatse were served to us twice a day, sometimes buffet style. 
All meals were included in the price of the tour and only once did we go to a restaurant of our choice and eat a la carte.  We invited Bhim and Kinley and to our surprise they turned up in western clothing.  Apparently gho is only compulsory during daylight hours!

 
 Changangkha Monastery
The oldest monastery in Thimphu founded in the 12th century.  Most babies born in Thimphu will be brought to the monastery to be blessed.

 

 

The khemar or red band around the top of a building indicates it is monastic rather than secular. The golden disc may be  painted as in the image above or brass.  It represents the sun

Here I remember noting the difference between Tibetan and Bhutanese monasteries.  The interiors are brighter and lighter, less oppressive and  without the overpowering smell of butter lamps   

Because there is no photography allowed inside, there were no rapacious monks demanding payment.   It may be the difference between the two peoples or perhaps the Tibetan monks were fed up of boorish tourists trying to evade the fees

 A group of visitors from Chennai
Being from a Himalayan country they had special privileges in Bhutan. They were free to travel without a guide and were not required to pay the draconian tourist tax we had to pay.  Although I can certainly see the advantage of keeping the costs high and the number of tourists low 
 Queen Mothers Memorial Chorten

Folk Heritage Museum

 

 A gathering place for older residents

 
Founded by her majesty Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo,  the delightful museum was one of my favourite places  visited whilst in Thimphu  

They have refurbished a traditional three storey rural home to reflect the living standards past and present of a fairly well off Thimphu family

It was a great pity that here too we were denied the chance to take photographs indoors.  

 

The Divine Madman strikes again, this time over the entrance


 
 

We haven't had many opportunities to photograph flowers.  

Here is the smallest and Bhim next to the tallest

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