The best dining options and best restaurants in Bhutan

Bhutan is not only the destination for the culture freaks and the wanderlust, it caters to the call of the food adventurers offering a wide array of Bhutan food menus. The tongue tingling cuisine of Bhutan adds to the country’s scenic appeal, it’s age-old charm, vibrant cultures, and traditions since the country has opened itself to the outside world. The quaint country known for its authenticity is also known for its bizarre methods it adopts not only in spirituality but also in their food habits. Bhutan is the only country in the world where the rice is red, and tea is richly buttered, and chilies are not just the ingredient but the main dish. The national dish of Bhutan– Ema-Datshi is prepared with the chilies cooked in cheese. The country offers a wide array of traditional dishes to choose from, at the best restaurants in Bhutan, where you can not only tease taste buds but also quell them. So, here is the list of top restaurants that serve authentic Bhutanese dishes.

1. Bukhari at COMO Uma Paro:

Bukhari-at-COMO-Uma-Paro

Location- Paro

Category- Upscale

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Specialization: Bhutanese and Continental cuisine

Bukhari at COMO Uma Paro is an award-winning and the best restaurant in Paro Bhutan, which is titled after the traditional Bhutanese fireplace with cylindrical structure and style.  A short and captivating drive from Paro, Bukhari stands on a hill facing the town, with an engrossing view of the enclosing valleys. The tongue tingling menus are based on seasonal and organic local supplies from the nearby farms. Bukhari at COMO Uma is a unique fine-dining treat in the Paro Valley where Luncheon is mostly comprised of International dishes, whereas dinner comprises of most exotic gastronomical delights.

2. Babesa Village Restaurant:

Babesa-Village-Restaurant

Location: Thimphu

Category: Mid- Range

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Specialization: Bhutanese cuisine

This is an excellent treat for the history enthusiasts and food lovers, as it is located inside 400+ year old traditional building. This restaurant not only serves excellent cuisines but also provides you a vivid knowledge of the ancient era and history of Bhutan. You will surely get fascinated by the architectural craftsmanship, brilliance, and craftsmanship that is implied by the ancient Buddhist architects. Even though the restaurants are located at a considerable distance from the town, but it makes worth the drive with less effort due to its close proximity to the highway.  The unique trait of this restaurant in Thimphu is, everything will be served in wooden bowls with spoons which are authentically traditional.  You can either sit on the chairs, if not; you can sit on the floor and relish the tongue tingling cuisines feeling completely relaxed.

3.  The Bhutan Kitchen:

The-Bhutan-Kitchen

Location: Thimphu, near the clock tower

Category: Mid- Range

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Specialization: the Authentic and local cuisine of Thimphu, Bhutan

If you want to quell your taste buds with authentic and delicious local and Bhutanese cuisines then step in at “The Bhutan Kitchen” Ideally located at the heart of the capital city, near to the clock tower of Thimphu, It is an ideal haven for enthusiastic tourists, the food lovers, and food adventurers. Known for its authenticity this restaurant is the host to the Crown Prince of Bhutan and the local celebrities.  The national food of Bhutan– Ema Datshi is one of the exotic and authentic cuisines on their menu, which is too delicious and well known to be resisted. The excellent interior decors define the traditional aspects of the Dragon Kingdom. The online reviews vividly define the excellent quality of the food prepared from the organic produce and healthy foods made of buckwheat, etc.

4. Lobesa Village Restaurant:

Lobesa Village Restaurant

Location- Lobesa Village, Punakha

Category- Upscale

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Specialization: Authentic Bhutanese cuisine and continental cuisine

Lobesa Village Restaurant is an in-house restaurant of the Lobesa Hotel which is the most reputed and the only 3-star property in the Lobesa Village Bhutan (Punakha Valley). Offering a wide range of authentic Bhutanese cuisines and the continental cuisines, this restaurant is the ideal stop for the food lovers and a perfect place to quell your hunger for the traditional Bhutanese dishes. They have provision for daily buffet comprising of momos, red rice, seasonal organic vegetables, and Ema Datshi, the national cuisine of Bhutan- with ice-cream.  Besides, the deliciousness, the Lobesa Restaurant offers a captivating view of the Himalayan ranges and the extensive paddy fields. The staffs are amazing and very friendly, who always take delight in explaining the each dish that you try here. There is also a special room for celebrations like anniversary, birthday, etc.

5. The Urban Kitchen:

The-Urban-Kitchen

Location- Phuentsholing

Category- Mid- Range

Open for: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Specialization- European cuisine, global cuisine, Chinese cuisine

Comfortably accommodating about 25 people, “The Urban Kitchen” is one of the best dining alternatives in Phuentsholing, Bhutan.  They specialize in delicious local cuisines including European, global, and Chinese cuisines.  The overall ambiance is excellent where you can quell your platter at the mid-budget price. The best thing about “The Urban Kitchen” is it charges on 15% of the tax opposed to 20% standard tax at the other restaurants in Bhutan. They’re quick, highly organized, and efficient. They serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and a wide range of smoothies and beverages as per your choice.

So, Live, Eat, Travel, repeat. Have a happy trip to the intriguing kingdom.

 

Information and aspects about Agriculture in Bhutan

Agriculture in Bhutan

The economy of Bhutan is particularly based on agriculture and forestry. The people of Bhutan practice subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Jagged mountains dominate the territory and make the construction of roads and other infrastructure expensive and difficult. About 70percent of the people live in rural areas and about 95percent of the women in Bhutan work in the agricultural sector hence making agriculture one of the main occupations of the people here.

Agricultural products= rice, corn, citrus, food grains, dairy products, and eggs.

1. Organic Agriculture-Road to Happiness

Bhutan had been striving to be the first country to convert to a 100percent organic agricultural system and in 2013 it became the first country in the world to have 100percent organic farming. Bhutan drew international attention just a few years back for saying gross national happiness should surpass gross domestic product when measuring the progress of the nation.

Sustainable and Agriculture Goals=achieve food security, end hunger, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

2. Sustainable Farming

The natural environment conditions in Bhutan as well as its global image potentially ideal for sustainable farming. Any crop imaginable can be grown somewhere in Bhutan, from the highlands of the north to the mid-latitude belt, to the subtropical lowlands in the south.

Crops are grown: rice, potato, maize, spice, and herbs.

Staple crop: rice is the staple crop and the staple food of the Bhutanese people

3. Vegetable market scenes

There are a lot of imported vegetables in the Bhutanese market most of which can be grown in Bhutan. Bhutanese local market offers good opportunities for commercial farming as more Bhutanese consumers are willing to pay a premium for local produce.

Top Bhutanese Food producing company: Druk Air Corporation Limited.

Food products: fruits, juice, jam, vegetables, and pickles

4. Animal Husbandry in Bhutan

It is one of the most important Agricultural occupations of the people in Bhutan, especially in the alpine and high altitude regions. It is the main economic activity in Bhutan

Livestock: cattle, pigs, goats, horses, and yaks.

The main goals of Agriculture in Bhutan are to increase the income of the people living mainly in the rural areas and to increase the productivity of agricultural land. Bhutan ranks first in the ease of doing business, economic freedom and peace. It is one of the least corrupted countries in the world.

What is the cost to visit Bhutan?

What is the cost to visit Bhutan?

Bhutan has long been reputed as the country of myths and legends. The last Shangri La and the only Buddhist kingdom of the world hold the spell that enchants anyone who steps in its realm. Landlocked between India, China, and the Himalayas, the kingdom of happiness ardently maintains its timeless cultures and traditions. Intentionally isolating itself from the rest of the world, Bhutan became accessible to tourists only from 1974.

Why Bhutan?

Why Bhutan?

Bhutan evokes a sense of wonder and admiration and caters to the call of the wanderlusts, adventurers, peace seekers, and pilgrims. Whether it is the landscapes or the magnificent monasteries and Dzongs, be it the mask dances or the mushroom harvesting festivals and rhododendron festivals, Bhutan will surely leave you enthralled. You’ll surely forget the world behind while you revel in the incredible festivities, you’ll find your strength while trekking amid the offbeat destinations with both extreme and moderate trails.  The ambiance of serenity and the natural endowments like the hot springs, or be it the spiritual meditation with the monks, you’ll surely discover your bliss and peace in Bhutan.

How to get there?

Being the landlocked country and due to its geographical isolation, Bhutan authorizes only two modes of accessibility.

  • By Air- to Paro Airport, Bhutan’s only international airport
  • By Road- via Jaigaon in India to Phuentsholing, the second largest city of Bhutan after Thimphu

Things to remember before traveling to Bhutan

Now, before packing your bags there are certain things that require your attention to make your trip to Bhutan an ideal one. Planning is the foremost thing, which is followed by your hunt for accommodations, car rentals, tickets, permits, luggage, visas (not applicable for ones traveling from India, Maldives, and Bangladesh), etc. Above all the major things that are mentioned cost to visit Bhutan needs specific attention because Bhutan is not a budget-friendly destination as you think it to be.

What is the cost of visiting Bhutan?

As per Bhutan’s Tourism Policy, the cost to visit Bhutan is as follows-

In peak seasons

March to May and September to November- the cost of visiting Bhutan is US$250 per person/a day. If you are a solo traveler, you need to pay a surplus of US$40 per day, bringing you a total sum of US$290/a day.

During the fall/off-seasons

December to February and June to August- Bhutan travel cost is reduced to US$200 per person/a day. However, if you are traveling solo, you again need to pay a surplus that still stands US$40, costing you US$ 240/a day.

Are there any discounts available for children and the students on Bhutan tour cost?

Yes. Luckily, there are discounts available for children and students that are worth focusing into. Please note that if you’re traveling to Bhutan with kids, or, if you’re a full-time student and less than 25 years old, you’ll get 25% discount on daily Bhutan tourism cost.

Is Bhutan trip worth your US$200- US$290 a day?

Hi there, Bhutan cost of travel seems too expensive, especially, if you’re looking for a budget trip to Bhutan, but let me tell you where your money goes! Your daily Bhutan tour cost covers the following:

1. Luxury accommodations/hotels/resorts

2. All meals (exception alcohol)

3. Car rentals with experienced drivers

4. Sightseeing and festivals celebrations

5. Activities- adventure, leisurely, spiritual, rejuvenation

6. English speaking tour guide

7. Mediation sessions and hot stone baths, spa

8. Passes, permits, tickets for sanctuaries, fishing, and sacred places

9. Porter and mules for offbeat treks and hikes

10. Outdoor activities and provision of equipment

11. Doctor on call

12. Room service

13. 24*7 help and assistance

I meant, your daily tourism fees comprise everything in addition to the mesmerizing realm of magic and spirituality. You can discover more of this secluded kingdom with the excellent and courteous Bhutan tour guide.

However, there are certain things that aren’t covered by your everyday Bhutan tourism fees. They are:

1.Medical insurance

2.Tipping your guide and driver

3.Shopping- buying souvenirs, crafts

4.Donation in the monasteries

5.Flight tickets

6.Visa

Who are all exempted from paying the everyday Bhutan vacation cost as per the rules of Bhutan Tourism Council?

Travelers traveling to Bhutan from India, Maldives, and Bangladesh are exempted from paying the everyday tourism fees in Bhutan. Interestingly, Indians are exempted from obtaining costly visas and showing their passports while visiting Bhutan. However, they need to obtain a valid tourist permit, without which their accessibility will be denied.

So, have a happy traveling to the realm of intrigue and bliss.

Interesting facts about Buddha Point in Thimphu, Bhutan

Interesting facts about Buddha Point in Thimphu, Bhutan

Buddha point in Bhutan alias Kuensel Phodrang is a gigantic statue of a Shakyamuni Buddha. It is constructed in the mountains of Bhutan and is one of the most happening points in Thimphu. It is located at a short driving distance from the Thimphu City centre.

The Buddha Point Bhutan draws its name from the gigantic Buddha statue which stands tall and is also the largest in Bhutan. People come here to offer prayers to Lord Buddha and also enjoy the beautiful glimpse of the valley.

The Buddha point Bhutan or Kuensel Phodrang has a list of things you must know before visiting:

1)  The statue of Shakyamuni Buddha stands tall with a height of 51.5 meters and is made up of bronze. It is the tallest statue in the whole of Bhutan

2)  The country has a beautifully paved road leading to the statue and besides followers, the road is used for drives, jogging, cycling and walks beside payment of homage to Buddha.

3) The statue of Buddha has a secret that is hidden inside the huge Buddha statue. The statue in Buddha point Bhutan has been filled with around 125000 smaller statues of Bronze made of bronze too.

4) The tall Buddha statue is located in Nature Park on top of a hill and offers the view of the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley.

5) The statue was started building at the end of 2004 by Aerosun Corporation of China. The statue took longer than expected and was finished by September 2015.

6)  The statue was built in the mountains to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the fourth King of Bhutan.

7)  The statue is so tall that it can be clearly seen from anywhere in the valley.

8) The statue fulfils two prophecies about the statue which were as follows :

– In the 20th century, a renowned yogi whose name was Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Buddha Padmasambhava or of Phurba would be built in the region to spread peace and happiness on the whole world.

– The statue is said to have been mentioned by Guru Padmasambhava himself. Guru Padmasambhava is said to refer the statue as the “second Buddha” in the eighth century.

The Buddha point attracts a lot of tourist especially Buddhist pilgrims who come to pay homage to the Giant Buddha. Though it is an architecture excellence, its statue is said to look even beautiful during the early mornings and secondly when the statue is illuminated at night.

Travel Guide from Punakha to Phobjikha Valley

Travel-Guide-from-Punakha-t

Know where you are:

Punakha:

One of the historic Dzongs of the country along the confluence of two rivers, Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu.

Located at an elevation of 1200 metre above sea level, Punakha is one of the 20 districts in Bhutan. It was also the capital of the country until 1955 when the capital was changed to Thimpu. It was beautiful structures also known as Dzong and in 2011 the wedding of the present king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and his fiancé Jetsun Pema took place here at the Punakha Dzong.

Quick Escape

Before you head to the valley of Phobjikha, here are a few places you can check out here at Punakha.

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong

It is a riverside fortress which was built during the 17 the century at the junction of the rivers Pho and Mo Chhu.

Punakha Suspension Bridge

Punakha-Suspension-Bridge
`

This is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan built over the river Mo Chhu and it connects two nearby villages.

Chimi Lhakhang Temple

Chimi-Lhakhang-Temple

It is a unique temple which is dedicated to fertility and is visited by people who are childless. In the path of the temple, you come to a beautiful village where they sell vegetables and handmade artefacts for some money.

How to reach the Valley of Phobjikha

It is really important to plan your visit and schedule your time before you visit someplace. So you must know that the distance from Punakha to Phobjikha Valley will be 78 km.

You cannot take buses until Phobjika as it is not available so

the best option to reach there will be by car rentals which take around 3 hours to reach the valley.

 A guide to car rental options:

There are a lot of car rental agencies with an option to hire a guide to make your journey till the valley easier. You must have a look at the Bhutan car rental rates before you already book one.

Car hire in Bhutan has been made very simple and systematic compared to the facility a few years ago. There are a lot of car rentals which will help you with the journey at an affordable price which can range anything from 2500 INR to 3000 INR, depending upon the rush of tourist around the time of your visit.

Here we go / what to expect from this road trip

As Bhutan is considered a virgin country where the environment is much important than the development and the Living style of people here are calculated by Gross National Happiness and not the GDP.

These things add to the beauty of Bhutan and so you can expect a pure scenery and forest and vegetation growing without any interference from the Bhutan government. The 3-hour road trip to the valley shall brief you about the country and its practices. You shall also notice why this small country is appreciated throughout the world for its environment strategies.

Know your Destination

 Phobjika valley :

  A peaceful and calm place known for the migratory black neck cranes whose loud voices echo the valley along with the breeze.

The valley is one of the few well preserved glacial valleys. Your eyes are blessed with the scenic beauty of the valley comprising of mountains, trees, animals and shrubs.

It stands at an altitude of about 3000 m above sea level on the western end of the Black Mountain range in Bhutan.

Before you go, just know

 Climate – The valley is a glacial valley so we can expect cold weathers here. Being enclosed by mountains, the valley is sometimes covered in beautiful snow during the winter seasons. The lowest temperature recorded in the valley was -4.8 deg Celsius and the hottest it has ever got here was 19.9 deg Celsius.

Note: So travellers, pack your clothes after taking note of the temperatures you can expect from this glacial valley.

 What to expect here/ Where to go

This Glacial valley is a well-preserved valley with a huge reservoir of the greenery and some rare species of birds which are in danger of extinction. Besides these, there are some things you should not afford to miss here. Make sure to take off things you cannot miss here.

Black-necked crane

Black-necked-crane

These birds which are usually scarce have been well protected within their Valley. They are vulnerable species of cranes that migrate to the valley during the winter time. They usually migrate during winters between the months of October to mid-February.

Rivers in the valley

Rivers-in-the-valley
`

There is a myth about the valley which spices up the two beautiful flowing rivers namely Nakay Chhu ( represents snake) and Gay Chhu (represents boar). People say the two animals once raced each other and decided upon an agreement which stated that if the snake won the race, the valley would be able to grow rice and if the boar won, rice could never be calculated in the valley. They say rice still cannot be cultivated as the snake lost the race and the deal.

You can check out the two beautiful rivers and decide for yourself about the authenticity of the myth.

Gangtey Gumba or Monastery

Gangtey-Gumba-or-Monastery

It is built on a small hill which rises from the valley. It is the only Nyingmapa monastery situated on the western side of the Gangtey valley of the black mountains.

Highlight:

             There are just a few places which you can visit here as this valley is kept protected without much interference or development. The nature lovers can find peace among the open grassland and the thickets of dwarf bamboo.

Let’s call it a day!

 After you have explored in and around the valley, you now seek a hotel to call it a day and relax after a tiring day. Travellers must note that the valley has few home stays which cannot confirm availability. Other homestays can be found as close as 27 km from the valley. There are lots of homestay options outside the valley, so if you are travelling here make sure you have booked the homestay beforehand. It should ease your visit to the valley and if the home stays in the valley are unavailable, make sure you have also managed a car rental to reach you till the home stays. Bhutan car rentals provide options for of easy car rental in Bhutan.  

The Budget of home stays made easy for you

There are homestays in and around the valley and you can book one according to your preferences.

Note – The hotels in the valley do not offer many services unlike home stays outside the valley. However, you can find a room starting from approx 3800 INR and the rates may fluctuate depending upon the flow of tourist there.

If you choose to stay near the valley for any reason, the closest you could find would be 20 km away from the valley. You can expect standard hotel services and the range of the rooms for a day would start from a minimum of 5000 INR.

If you wish to stay at least 50 km away from the valley, in places like Thimpu, you can expect hotels to charge you a minimum of 3000 INR for a day. Again the hotel services would be standard unlike the homestays in the valley.

 An end to the wonderful road trip

            You must keep in mind that the return tickets from Phobjika to Punakha must be booked before you start your journey from Punakha. The tickets can be booked from RSTA Thimpu.

Note: It is kindly advised that you check the availability of the return tickets and book them from RSTA Thimpu, before actually travelling to them. This is to avoid the unwanted problem and non-availability of tickets from the valley while returning back as the return tickets are sometimes booked one month before the actual journey.

“So don’t listen to what they say, go see yourself”

This road trip would amaze you in all possible ways. And gift you with a peace of mind as you return back to your daily life.

Complete guide about 13 Arts and Crafts of Bhutan

Complete guide about 13 Arts and Crafts of Bhutan

Bhutan is the realm of un-exploited traditions, and arts and crafts are another matter of significance for Bhutanese cultural heritage. The last existing Shangri La is where you can discover happiness in every nook and corners. It is where getting off the beaten path fills you with joy. It’s a country where exploring Dzongs, monasteries, museums will make you marvel at their craftsmanship and skills in their arts and crafts.  So, if arts and crafts fascinate you, then venture on a trip to a country where Buddhism and traditions is a way of life. So, here’s the list of 13 arts and crafts in Bhutan-

1.  Thag-Zo (textile weaving):

 Thag-Zo (textile weaving):

Bhutanese culture and life are immensely impacted by the textile industry. Hence, Bhutanese are skilled in weaving. Silk, raw cotton, cotton are used in weaving by using intricate motifs, some of which are highly priced. Textile weaving pattern varies from one region to the other. Bhutanese women from the east are considered highly skilled in weaving textiles, and Bhutanese men contribute in spinning sheep wool and yak hair into the thread.

2. Tsha-Zo (bamboo and cane weaving):

Tsha-Zo

As Bhutan is endowed by bamboos and canes in abundance, Bhutanese citizens have taken advantage of natural resources. Popularly called as Tshar-Zo, the art and skill of weaving with bamboo and cane are widely spread across the kingdom. Amongst all, the people from eastern Bhutan are pioneers and skilled in this craft of waving. With high demands of goods, they can earn themselves additional income and keep their craftsmanship alive.

3. Shag-Zo (the art of wood carving):

 Shag-Zo

In former days, it was a traditional practice of the people of eastern Bhutan. Trashiyangtse is skilled for their dynamic art on wooden bowls and cups.  Traditionally called as phobs and dapas, these bowls that are made of special wooden knots are greatly valued.  Until the emergence of brass and steel utensils, these wooden bowls are widely used. Today, it is sold at arts and crafts shops as gifts and souvenirs.

4. Lha-Zo (Bhutanese Paintings):

Lha-Zo

Paintings are the significant element of arts and crafts, and traditions in Bhutan. Even the oldest generations have practiced the art of painting, mostly capturing the landscapes imagery.  Paintings of the eminent Bhutanese painters can be seen in the magnificent Dzongs, monasteries, temples, and sometimes at the small Bhutanese houses. Bhutanese paintings are exceptional with a varied infusion of vibrant colors that clearly define the dynamism of Bhutanese arts and crafts.

5. Shing-Zo (carpentry crafts):

Shing-Zo

Shing-Zo is about the carpentry carvings and craftsmanship. Carpentry has contributed immensely in construction and it is evident from the intricate designs on Bhutan’s massive Dzongs, fortresses, monasteries, temples, palaces, bridges, house, etc.

6. Do-Zo (the craft of masonry):

Do-Zo

Masonry is craftsmanship in materials like brick, stones, tiles, etc. Do-Zo is still practiced today. Monasteries, Dzongs, temples, Chortens or Stupas, farm-houses are all built using stones in Butan. If you want o witness an ancient or classic example, then visit Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse in east and Chendebji Chorten in Central region.

7. Par-Zo (carving on stone, wood, and slate):

 Par-Zo

It is a traditional Bhutanese art that is improved over generations. Significant carvings are carried out on stone, slate, wood as the traditional designs carved on these materials form distinct and beautiful artworks that are rare and unique. The best wood carvings that are engraved are the wooden masks that are seen during annual religious celebrations and Tshechus.  Stones carvings engraved are grinding mills, which are still used by the people in remotest villages, and hollowed out stones that are used feeding horses, cattle, and pounding grains.

8. Jim-Zo (clay work):

Jim-Zo

This ancient craft of clay work is practiced and passed down from the ancestors over centuries. This art form is widely anticipated and prioritized than other metal sculpture work such as bronze and others. The instances are evident from the clay statues of deities and other significant religious figures in Bhutan.

9. Lug-Zo (arts and crafts with bronze):

Lug-Zo

This practice began between the Stone Age and the Iron Age that was around about 3,500 BC. Bronze casting in Bhutan was introduced by Newari Artisans from Nepal in the 17th century. Bronze was mainly used for making cups, vases, urns, etc.  People even made armors and weapons like shields, helmets, swords, knives, battle-axes, etc.

10. Gar-Zo (the art of Ironwork and blacksmithing):

Gar-Zo

Its inception has been traced back to 19th century and is believed to be a Tibetan saint as Dupthob Thangtong Gyalpo regarded by the Bhutanese people as a skilled engineer in casting iron chains and erecting them as bridges over canyons. The bridges intersecting over Paro Chhu, on the enroute to Thimphu from Paro and connecting the highway to famous Tachog Lhakhang are the existing works.

11.  Troe-Ko (the craft of traditional ornament making):

Troe-Ko

It is a vibrant craft of traditional ornament making, which are the main element that is worn by the Bhutanese women.  Tro Ko Lopen is highly skilled in shaping ornaments.  The embellishments and ornaments like earrings, necklaces, brooches, rings, amulets to contain ritual objects, traditional containers to keep the much-chewed beetle nut, etc were made using precious stones and metals, such as gold, silver, turquoise, corals, etc.

12. De-Zo (paper making):

De-Zo

Bhutan is famous for producing traditional Bhutanese papermaking art. The bark of Daphne tree was used in traditional paper making. In olden times, religious scriptures were written on Dezho, using traditional Bhutanese ink and with gold on occasions. In modern day, Dezho is still produced to make carry bags, envelopes, gift wrapping purposes, etc.

13.  Tshem-Zo (the art of tailoring):

Tshem-Zo

Tshem-Zo is one of the most popular arts amongst the Bhutanese. It is classified as the art of embroidery, the art of appliqué, and traditional boot making.

Tailoring craftsmanship means skills in sewing traditional and national costumes of Bhutan, called Kira and Gho.

The traditional art of appliqué is practiced by monks to produce Thangkhas-or religious scrolls, etc.

Bootmaking is the task of Bhutanese laymen. Leather and cloth are used in making boots for the officials, to be worn during special functions. Bootmaking origin is unknown; still, some skilled craftsmen in villages make boots with uncured leather.

 

Hope this will be helpful in identifying the arts and crafts during your trip to Bhutan.

 

How to reach Siliguri from Phuentsholing by road trip?

How to reach Siliguri from Phuentsholing by road trip?

Are you wondering about how to go to Siliguri from Phuentsholing, Bhutan? Worry not! Keep calm and get everything sorted out with car hire in Bhutan. Since traveling to Bhutan and reverting home has only two modes, one is by air and other is by flight, you need to book early to avoid hassles.

If you have thought about traveling back home enjoying sightseeing from Phuentsholing to Siliguri then you’re at the right place!  Road trips from Bhutan to Siliguri, India can be great as you can enjoy an extended drive via vast plains, enchanting woods, rivers, and sun-kissed horizons against the dazzling skies.

Venture in a road trip from Phuentsholing to Siliguri with Bhutan car rental

Phuentsholing to Siliguri

Bhutan is every traveler’s dream destination. Despite its high costing that is levied upon the foreign tourists, which is US$ 250/day, Bhutan witnesses a large number of tourists during peak seasons. However, this daily charge is not applicable to those traveling from India, Maldives, and Bangladesh. If you’re traveling to Bhutan, we recommend booking your flights and accommodation at the earliest for great discounts and best choices. Booking early will also keep the hassles at bay.  However, if you extend your vacation in Bhutan and plan your revert by road trip without knowing about the route and bookings, then we’ve got you!  Drop your worries and keep calm because you can travel to Siliguri from Phuentsholing without any trouble with Bhutan car rental at best rates and discounts.

Want to know more? 

Phuentsholing is the border town in Bhutan and the gateway to India via land. The second largest city after Thimphu shares border with the Indian town- Jaigaon in the state of West Bengal. Phuentsholing is commercially important and has a great role in contributing to the economy of the country via border trade with India and by tourism. This quaint own has a plethora of travel and transport agencies for Bhutan car rental provision, hotels for journey break, eateries and restaurants for quelling your hunger and platter, and sightseeing places and shopping hubs. You can book Bhutan cars for road tripping and transfer from Phuentsholing to Siliguri at the best prices.

Why travel to Siliguri from Phuentsholing?

Siliguri is the en route to the major hill stations, Northeast states in India, Dooars region, and to Bhutan. This second largest city after Guwahati in Northeast India is often called the “gateway” to Bhutan and the Northeastern regions. Siliguri is well equipped with road networks, rail routes, and airways.  Your requirement for travel and transport will be well catered here, as Siliguri has plenty of travel and tourism agencies.  So, either you prefer to fly back home, or catch up with the Indian railway, or simply continue road tripping, then Siliguri provides them all.  You just need to avail cars in Bhutan from Phuentsholing to Siliguri for your journey ahead.

Details about the car/taxi hire charges in Bhutan for traveling to Siliguri?

Car rentals are available from Phuentsholing to Siliguri at best deals and discounts. As far as the rates are concerned, it may vary according to the peak season and offseason, the type of vehicle that you choose, and the uncertain fluctuation in fuel price.  Car rental in Bhutan fare from Phuentsholing to Siliguri s will be approx. Nu. 4000 – Nu. 5000. The fare will be lesser if you will opt for smaller cars, and when discounts are available.

So, get yourself booked for a happy and convenient journey back home!

Significance of mesmerizing mask dances in Bhutan

Significance-of-mesmerizing

Bhutan is long been known as the mysterious country, which has intentionally secluded itself from the rest of the world in order to protect its unique cultures and sacred traditions. The country is well known for mesmerizing the pilgrims and explorers from worldwide. Apart from the enchanting landscapes, Dzongs, hot springs, and monasteries, Bhutan has long treasured traditions that feature dazzling and vibrant religious dances and festivals. Tshechu or annual festivals are regarded as un-miss-able and top attractions in Bhutan. Amongst all the activities mask dances are considered most anticipated activities during Tshechus. So, while on your trip to Bhutan make sure you attend one that is presented to invoke their deities and ward off the evils. So, here are some facts and significance of the magical and mysterious mask dances in Bhutan.

1. History or origin of mask dance in Bhutan

Bhutanese mask dances have been evolved in 3 periods.

  • 1st introduced by Guru Padmasambhava
  • 2nd by Saint Pema Lingpa
  • 3rd by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of Bhutan

In the second period, in Pema Lingpa’s tenure, a path to paradise was created by various sets of attendant and acrobats. In the third stage, mask dances were inducted as crucial activities on annual festivities in Thimphu. Mask dances are greatly associated with the spiritual affair and each celebration features mask dances.

2. Mask dances are the epitome of spirituality, victory, prosperity, and joy

Mask dances are performed in order to invoke male and female deities, sages and saints and all the mythical and legendary personalities. It is performed with devotion with drums, cymbals, conch shells, drums, horns, and bells that rips the air. It may appear very entertaining externally, but when seen with better insight, symbolizes victory, wealth, joy, spirituality, and various stages of life.

3. Significance of the mask dances in Bhutan

Dance and music are culturally significant to the Bhutanese people. Mask dance or Chhams are usually performed during Tshechus celebrations. Mask dance personify communal occasions, passing seasons, and shared feelings and experiences. Mask dances that are performed in the Dzongs are crucial for unifying people and help them know more about their place, culture, and history. Besides, mask dances also deliver religious messages to people. It is believed that they ward off evils and misfortunes by invoking to their deities during the performance.

3. The performance of mask dance in Bhutan

The significance of mask dance performance is immense. These dance steps are not created but regarded as the representation of divinities and celestial dances that have been felt by the spiritual leaders when they were in intense meditative trances. It is believed that a dancer is purified of the sins while he performs, but women are exempted from performing the mask dance. Bhutanese believe that their souls and sins will be purified, and prosperity and good luck will be bestowed upon their lives by witnessing the mask dances. So, don’t you dare miss the mask dance performances during your Bhutan tour!

4. Different types of mask dances in Bhutan

Chhams or religious mask dances have been classified into 3 groups.

i. Dramatic dances that push morality

ii. Dances that protect people from harmful spirits

iii. One that celebrates victories

5. Mask dances performed today

Mask dances are basically performed during Tshechus in every important Dzongs, monasteries, and temple. The celebrations usually last from 3 days to a week. Tshechus are most anticipated events of Bhutan that is celebrated every 10th day of the months and attracts massive crowds from across the kingdom. People attend the festivals to attend the mask dances in their best of traditional attires and anticipate blessings and spiritual well being.

6. Major places where Tshechus and mask dances are performed:

Paro during spring, Thimphu and Bumthang in autumn, Punakha, and Trongsa in winter

So, prepare to get blessed with these mask dance performances in Bhutan. You can avail Bhutan culture trip and measure your journey to Bhutan at the best holiday in Bhutan cost at best deals and discounts.

Interesting facts about untold history of Dzongs in Bhutan

Interesting facts about untold history of Dzongs in Bhutan

Bhutan is the realm of mystery, mountains, monasteries, and Dzongs.  Dzong is a typical kind of architectural fortress style utilized mainly in Bhutan and the ancient Tibet. The architecture is tremendous in style with lofty surface walls including a network of temples, courtyards, administrative offices, and priests’ dwelling place. Dzongs or Bhutanese fortresses are architectural gems established in the era gone by to attend many requirements. They served as governmental centers and as residences for the priests. They were also utilized as blockhouses by the soldiers and people assembled in the Dzong yards during Tshechus and celebrations. Presently, it has charmed the travel fanatics and history enthusiasts from worldwide. It has never failed to awe-struck the spectators with its mysterious and intricate designs. The craftsmanship, devotion, and the brilliance of the Bhutanese rulers and architectures is clearly detected in these Dzongs. So, here are some interesting facts about these historical relics and the reason behind its emergence and establishment across the Dragon Kingdom.

1.  Classification of Dzongs: Dzongs are of 3 types –

Classification of Dzongs

  • Pre-Zhabdrung Dzongs,
  • Zhabdrung-era Dzongs, and
  • Post-Zhabdrung Dzongs.

However, the Dzongs established during the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel beginning from the Simtokha Dzong in 1629 are most significant in Bhutanese history.

2.  The origin and the purpose of the Bhutanese Dzongs: 

 The origin and the purpose of the Bhutanese Dzongs

Bhutanese fortresses or Dzongs emerged in the 12th century and its main purpose was to repel enemy’s invasions and to serve as the quarters of central authority. Thus, Dzongs were mostly built on the top of mountains, facing a valley or conflux of two rivers, the most unprotected regions from where the invaders are likely to enter into Bhutanese dominion.

3. Dzongs are the personification of victory:

Dzongs are the personification of victory

Dzongs in Bhutan speaks of the battles fought between Bhutanese and the Tibetans from the north, Bhutanese, and British-Indians from the south. Dzongs are the logo and the epitome of victory over the invasions that Bhutanese achieved during ancient times.

4. Dzongs are the treasure chest and museums:

Dzongs are the treasure chest and museums

Dzongs are also museums containing religious, cultural, and historical evidence that is beyond the worth. Besides, Dzongs or fortresses are where the answer to the complex queries about myths and legends lay in.

5. Dzongs are the governing center, spiritual center, and habitation for the priests:

Dzongs are the governing center, spiritual center, and habitation for the priests

Dzongs have always served both as the centers of power and also as centers of culture and religion. Maximum Dzongs have monasteries that serve as a home for monks and provide them a spiritual education. Despite, official section of a Dzong and the religious sector are clearly separated.

6.  Physical features of Bhutanese Dzongs:

Physical features of Bhutanese Dzongs

Dzongs were normally built of stone and hammered clay. It owns only one entrance and it is commonly made of wood. The governmental offices, armories, apartments for the priests and the storerooms are constructed in the outward walls of the Dzong. The pillars holding the gallery are lavishly embellished with themes such as lotus flowers, clouds, and the head of a sea-beast called Makara. A broad red band called the ‘khemar’ just under the roof of the structure indicates the spiritual nature of the Dzong. The rooftops of the Dzong have a moderate slope and are built one or two meters high above the last gallery and create large overhanging eaves. Bhutanese fortresses or Dzongs are architecturally brilliant and treasures some of the exceptional paintings, carvings, sculptures, antique hand calligraphed texts, rare artifacts, and textiles. The stone walls of fortresses are magnificent, coated in white, and with raised windows that are entirely unreachable from outside. The windows are coated in black. Lowest windows are extremely narrow and allow-in just a little light, while the higher ones are broader and open into the living areas. The large stone flags known as ‘dochen’ cover the lawn. In Tibet, ‘Dzongs’ indicate barrack-like erections used by local authority and soldiers. When Dzongs were first established in Bhutan, noble and influential families used them as their ‘royal castles’ for centuries.

7. The oldest Dzong of Bhutan:

The oldest Dzong of Bhutan

The oldest Dzong of Bhutan is the Simtokha Dzong, which was constructed in 1629. Most of the Dzongs are built in the identical pattern but there are provincial variations due to the landscape and ambiance of the place.

8. The most majestic Dzong:

The most majestic Dzong

Trongsa Dzong is the most imposing Dzong of Bhutan with its 20 temples that are remarkable illustrations of Bhutanese architecture. It is constructed into the hillside in many stages and faces the stream underneath.

9. Dzongs are not just historically priceless but, also crucial in a democratic society of Bhutan:

Dzongs are not just historically priceless but, also crucial in a democratic society of Bhutan

Bhutanese Dzong is magnificent in terms of structure, planning than the Tibetan counterparts. Dzongs are historically compelling and also essential part of Bhutan’s independent society.

10. Important Dzongs of Bhutan:

Important Dzongs of Bhutan:

Druk Dechen Yangtse Dzong- Built in the 17th century

Drukgyel Dzong- Located in Paro District- Built in 1649

Punakha Dzong- Located in Punakha- Built-in 1637-1638- Second oldest and the second largest

Simtokha Dzong- Located in Thimphu- Built in 1629

Tashichho Dzong- Located in Thimphu- Built in 1641

Trashiyangtse Dzong-Trashiyangtse District, Yangtse Gewog- Built in the 15th century

Trongsa Dzong- Located in Trongsa District- Built in 1543

Zhongar Dzong-Located in Thimphu- Built in the 17th century

So, venture on your quest to find out more of the magnificent Dzongs. These fortresses not only stand as relics but also speak beyond the folklore and legends. They vividly define the architectural craftsmanship of the Bhutanese people and their way of life.

7 PLACES IN BHUTAN YOU CAN COVER IN A CAR-TRIP

7 PLACES IN BHUTAN YOU CAN COVER IN A CAR-TRIP

If you’re a lover of landscapes, who has always ditched the airplane and hopped inside a car to admire nature from a closer proximity, then we reckon that it’s time for you to head towards the Last Shangri La – Bhutan. This Buddhist kingdom that sits majestically amidst the undulating folds of the Himalayas, is an explorer’s haven. From blue-hued valleys that reverberate with seasonal thunders, to the calm, white-peaked mountains that decorate the Bhutanese skyline, Bhutan’s appeal is unfailingly grand. The moment you step within its premises, the sheer magnitude of its beauty is bound to leave you tongue-tied. And what best way to admire a thing of beauty, than an endless car-ride?

But before you embark on a trip of a lifetime, go ahead & read the list of 7 absolutely astounding locations we suggest, that are sure to fulfill your thirst for wanderlust, and let you soak in the magnificence of Bhutan to the fullest with just 7 stops –

1. Soak in the visual grandeur of the Punakha Dzong –

Soak in the visual grandeur of the Punakha Dzong

Allegedly known as the “most beautiful” dzong (fortress) in the Shangri La, this huge establishment is visible from a good distance as you ride into the roads of Punakha & enter the premises that encompass the fort. Amidst the scenic backdrop of green & blue hills, stands the stark white structure of the dzong, toppled with golden roofs. Drive by this ancient beauty during Spring & watch this spectacular structure tower the purpling jacaranda trees. The view is spell-binding.

Before you set out to Punakha, it’s always better to get informed about the place beforehand. If you’re planning on touring through Punakha, make sure you know more about car hire charges in Bhutan. Read more at (link).

2. See how old traditions merge with new philosophies in Thimphu –

See how old traditions merge with new philosophies in Thimphu

Bhutan’s capital is perhaps some of those rare locations where you can witness the slow ingress of modernity in a nation that has remained close to the outside world since times immemorial. As the town makes its own improvisations, the most exquisite element you will run into in the streets of Thimphu is the “human traffic light” – a male traffic controller wearing white gloves who acts as a traffic light because the red light in the system caused discomfort to the Bhutanese locals.

Make sure you catch a glimpse of the best pieces of Thimphu by booking an exclusive Bhutan Car Rental with us.

3. Lay your hands on the exotic offerings of the Weekend Market –

Lay your hands on the exotic offerings of the Weekend Market

When you tear your eyes away from the quaint surroundings of Bhutan, walk into the Weekend Market to stock up on some extremely endearing collectibles. Browse for some fresh produce like Bhutan’s famous soft cheese, curly edible ferns, exotic fruits, meat cuts, dried pork strips, hand-rolled organic incenses, high-quality woolens, richly embroidered apparels, colorful accessories, cute prayer flags, prayer wheels, miniature Buddhas & much more.

4. Get amazed by the architectural wonder of the Tiger’s Nest –

Get amazed by the architectural wonder of the Tiger’s Nest

The Taktsang Monastery, globally known as the Tiger’s Nest, earned its name from a famous folklore that narrates the story of Saint Padmasambhava, who flew to meditate inside this monastery on the back of a shape-shifting flying tigress. The monastery is perched on an 8,000 feet tall granite cliff and radiates an aura of danger, challenge & extreme adventure. Drive to this destination & undertake a challenging trek to reach to the top. The view up there is inherently rewarding.

5. Cruise by the scenic Valley of Haa –

Cruise by the scenic Valley of Haa

The Haa Valley, which lies in the southern chunk of Bhutan, is a warmer, brighter suburb, decked with the most brilliant of shallow valleys & rice fields dotted by the exotic Black-Necked cranes of Bhutan. Drive past the orange skies and lush greenery that ensues as you run into the famous Black & White Temples. An ideal time to visit Haa is during the Summer Festival when the indigenous tribes come together to celebrate their culture.

We arrange reliable car hire services for you throughout the year in Bhutan at reasonable prices.

6. Watch the unfurling of the giant Buddhist Thangka –

Watch the unfurling of the giant Buddhist Thangka

Every year, the monasteries of Bhutan celebrate the birthday of their patron saint – Guru Padmasambhava. The premises of these religious locations come alight with merrymaking, epic performances by monks, elaborate mask dances and narrative recitals. It is a visual delight to watch the locals get dressed in their candid best, their costumes a work of oriental art & intricacy. During the ceremony, a larger-than-life scroll, hand-painted to every hurtful detail, is unfurled in front of the public. This spectacle is worth witnessing once in your lifetime.

Visit Bhutan in the time of Tsechu & avail our exclusive vehicle hire services in Bhutan.

7. Count the Chortens on the Dochu La Pass –

Count the Chortens on the Dochu La Pass

When you hop from Thimphu to Punakha, you will encounter one of the highest passes in the western topography, 23 kilometers ahead of the capital city. Riddled with thousands of colorful prayer flags that flutter through the flawless Bhutanese skyline, the Dochu La Pass is dotted with 108 stupas. These stupas, known as “Chortens”, were erected by the Queen Mother in memory of the fallen soldiers of Bhutan who sacrificed their lives for their motherland.

With this, we’re sure you will cover ample of Bhutan’s virginal beauty on four wheels!

Happy journey to you.