8
   

Off to Bhutan and India on November 4, 2008

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 04:52 pm
@cicerone imposter,
It looks like you've had another interesting trip there, c.i.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 05:15 pm
@dagmaraka,
dag, I didn't drink Indian whisky, but I bought a bottle of Bhutanese whisky that was a blend with Scottish whisky that was excellent!~ Paid only about US$5 for an excellent 1.5 ltr bottle. Had several drinks every day, shared some within our group, and gave the remaining to our tour director in India who in turn gave it to the chef at our English-style resort hotel. I was told the chef had a very big smile when he received that almost empty bottle.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Nov, 2008 06:19 pm

Welcome back, c.i., and well done with the itinerary so far.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:04 am
@McTag,
November 8: We had a two hour coach ride to Thimpu, Bhutan’s capital, located at an altitude of 7,493 feet. After a quickie rest stop at Hotel Pedling in downtown Thimpu where we were supposed to spend the night, we went to the coronation stadium where we saw the the 28 year old fifth king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, walk into the stadium and took his position on the king’s stand located on the other side of the field. There were dancing, marching band music, and wrestling contests. It was the last day of the three day event, but the stadium was packed with both citizens and foreign visitors. Bhutan was supposed to celebrate their 100-year monarchy last year, but 2007 was a black year for the Bhutanese, so it was celebrated this year in addition to the coronation.

The following was posted by the Bhutanese government:

“In 1907, after several centuries of divided rule by various influential families, his majesty Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck unified Bhutan under the name of Druk Yul " Land of the Thunder Dragon.

The year 2007 will mark 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan. But as the year 2007 is a very inauspicious year according to the Bhutanese calendar it will be only in 2008 that Bhutan will celebrate the 100 years of Kingdom. Many festivals and much revelry have been planned to celebrate this momentous occasion.”


About noon, we transferred to the archery field where they were supposed to show their skills in front of the king, but it was delayed. We were taken to the local market where we walked on an interesting pedestrian bridge, and spent time purchasing some Bhutanese women’s clothes and small prayer wheels to hang on key chains or cell phones. After our shopping, we were driven through downtown Thimpu for some browsing before we were driven to our hotel in the hills surrounding the capital city.

Drive to Thimpu.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa094.jpg

Downtown Thimpu.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa099.jpg

Young monks walking the street. Some are as young as eight years old.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa100.jpg

The crowd at the coronation festivity stadium.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa104.jpg

Coronation program.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa114.jpg

Marching band.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa121.jpg

The King Wangchuck.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa117.jpg

The archers.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa132.jpg

Japanese news team at the archery field.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa131.jpg

Archery target.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa137.jpg

Tsetim's family and Namgay #2.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa110.jpg
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:53 am
@cicerone imposter,
Nov 9, Sunday: This morning was a special treat. A visit to the takin reserve in the outskirts of town for our up and downhill hike around the fence that keeps the endangered takin in their reserve. Takin is the national animal, and the takin (Budorcas taxicolor) is a cross goat-antelope looking animal found in the Eastern Himalayas with its own DNA. We then visited a paper factory where our director showed us the process of paper-making. We then visited the small shop selling their paper and other stationary products such as greeting cards, envelopes, and notebooks. Our next visit to the Choeten or temple was interesting. People walk around the temple clock-wise in odd number of times to cleanse oneself of our sins. I walked around it once, while some in our group did three rounds (they must‘ve had many sins to cleanse). We were able to spend some time in the town if Thimpu market after our visit to a paper factory. After some leisure shopping time and picture taking, we then made the three hour drive to Punakha with drives through a forest of pines and hemlock. Driving over Dochula Pass at 10,142 feet, we had panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range and Bhutan’s tallest mountain before decending into Punahkha valley at 4,430 feet. We had a tour of the extensive Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers of Pho Chu and Mo Chu (male and female) before our overnight at Yangkhil Resort.

Sign at the takin preserve.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa159.jpg

Takin.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa157.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa146.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa124.jpg

Sign at the paper factory.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa161.jpg

Entrance to the choeten (temple).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa182.jpg

Prayer wheels.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa187.jpg

Group picture.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa199.jpg

Bridge across the river to open market.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa210.jpg

Bridge.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa206.jpg

Stalls at the market.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa211.jpg

Dochula Pass.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa218.jpg

The tallest mountain in Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa221.jpg

Other section of the Himalayan range.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa231.jpg

Another building on the summit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa236.jpg

Walking up to the restaurant at the summit for lunch.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa241.jpg

Scene from the restaurant.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa255.jpg

Boys trying their skills at archery on our way to Punahkha valley.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa258.jpg

Punahkha dzong.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa272.jpg

The bridge.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa281.jpg

Dzong entrance.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa288.jpg

Bodhi tree in the courtyard. The bodhi tree has significance to Buddhists, because there is a bodhi tree in Sarnath, India, where Buddha found enlightenment.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa295.jpg

Architecture in the dzong.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa305.jpg

Our accommodations for the night.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa312.jpg

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 01:46 am
Great photos again,c.i.! And those from the coronation were just excellent!
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 07:54 am
Wow! Keep the pics coming, Tak. Excellent!
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 08:26 am
Thanks for the beautiful photos and interesting report, c.i.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 11:54 am
@cicerone imposter,
Some catch-up pictures missed in previous posts.

Paper factory.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa173.jpg

Monk at choeten. This choeten was dedicated to the third king of Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa195.jpg

Children at the choeten.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa202.jpg

Druk 11000 local beer has 8.8% alcohol.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa242.jpg

Punahkha dzong.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa303.jpg

Typical scenes in Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa335.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa337.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa339.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa347.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa356.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa375.jpg

Location where they filmed the movie "Travelers and Magician."
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa357.jpg

A huge bee hive, 2.5' x 1.5'.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan2Nov08SDa359.jpg

More later.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:41 pm
Lovely, as usual. Looking forward to more pictures!
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:43 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Fantastic, Tak.
What are "Prayer Wheels" which you had a photo of?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 01:01 pm





Nov 10, Monday: We continued for another long travel day through a forest of oak and rhododendron and into Phobjikha Valley at 9,840 feet, the most beautiful glacial valleys of Bhutan, and also home to the famous black-necked cranes that migrates from Tibet in the winter. Unfortunately, we were unable to make the detour to see the black-necked cranes.




Nov 11, Tuesday: Our six hour drive took us through (four hours to) Trongsa and Pele la Pass at 11,045 feet, to the Bumthang Valley.

While in Trongsa valley, we visited the Trongsa Dzong (fortress) after lunch, then we stopped at Zungey village to see many weavers making woolen Yathra on pedal looms and belts on back strop looms. Buthang with its barley field and apple orchards is the name given to four valleys; Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura. The first two valleys are agricultural, and the last two are mostly animal husbandry. Buthang is also the home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa (1450-1521).

Of the five King Tertons, all named “Lingpa”, Padma Lingpa represents the direction of the west. the direction ruled by the Amitabha Buddha, of whom he is considered to be an emanation.

The present royal family and the King of Bhutan descend from Padma Lingpa as did the Sixth Dalai Lama. The three primary emanations of Padma Lingpa - Body, Speech, and Mind - continue the propagation of this extraordinary lineage in Bhutan.

November 11th is the King’s birthday which is celebrated by local schools.

We spent three nights at the River Lodge in the Bumthang Valley.

Signs along the road to Bumthang.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb003.jpg

We passed this village.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb006.jpg

Local paper about the coronation.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb011.jpg

Some scenes along the way.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb021.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb013.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb026.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb033.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb030.jpg

Our tour director's travel company name.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb015.jpg

Weaving looms at a rest stop.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb023.jpg

Trongsa dzong.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb038.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb039.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb044.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb058.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb060.jpg

Dorothy and Mickie talking to monks.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb044.jpg

Head monk calling monks to prayer by stamping his stick on the floor next to the prayer room.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb047.jpg

Monks praying.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb049.jpg

Prayer wheel house.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb064.jpg

Prayer wheel turned by water power.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb063.jpg

Farmers market in front of the prayer wheel house.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb065.jpg

Village of Bumthang.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb071.jpg

Wineshop where I purchased a bottle of good whiskey for $5.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb074.jpg

Bumthang village seen from hillside.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb082.jpg

We visited this village school.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb114.jpg

Our group gave school supplies to the school.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb105.jpg

Bhutanese alphabet. All children learn Bhutan and English.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb109.jpg

A scene of the school yard.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb104.jpg

We went for a hike in this area.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb111.jpg

cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 03:34 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Nov 12, Wednesday: Bumthang sightseeing included the Chamkhar Bazaar, Kurjey Lhakhang - where it is believed Guru Padmasambhava meditated and subdued the local diety in the 8th century, and a short hike across the suspension bridge to visit Padmassambhava Lhakhang, a meditation site.

The suspension bridge.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb117.jpg

A view from the hike.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb122.jpg

What I faced on the hike trail.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb128.jpg

Children watching the vehicles pass by.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb137.jpg


Nov 13, Thursday: We attended the Jambay Lakhang Festival, a very sacred

festival attended by local people who dress in their finest clothing and jewelry to dance in honor of Guru Rimpoche. Monks and lay people take on the aspects of wrathful and compassionate dieties, heroes, demons and animals. The festival continued into the evening with the fire blessing, and where onlookers can pass through a burning gate to cleanse one of evil spirits.

Fire blessing. Our driver, Namgay 1, ran through it twice. We ran through when the fire had died down.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb145.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb149.jpg

The internet cafe in Bumthang.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb152.jpg

In the afternoon, we visited the temples of Kurjey Lakhang, cross the river to Tamshing Lakhang, then returned to Chamkhar, the main village to visit with the local people and tour some of their shops. The ladies did some shopping.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 04:11 pm
Nov 14, Friday: The 8+-hour drive to Mongar was the most spectacular in Bhutan with lush pine forests and hemlock then to leafy forests. We traveled to the summit at 12,310 feet where we took some spectacular pictures. We passed through A valley to Thrumsingla National Park with numerous rhodes, then lower to Angkor village, and a further descent through Namling, past a water fall to the Kurichu valley. We then climbed to 5,168 feet to Mongar to spend the night at Hotel Druk Jongkhar.

Our drive to Mongar.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb161-1.jpg

Frost on the road.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb166-1.jpg

We reached the summit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb169-1.jpg

Information board at the summit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb173.jpg

Viewing of the mountain range.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb183.jpg

A couple of scenes at the summit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb176.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb184-1.jpg

A building on the summit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb182.jpg

Namgay 1, Testim, and Namgay 2.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb187-1.jpg

Poinsettia on the road.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb185.jpg

Scene from our descent.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb199-1.jpg

Waterfall.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb201-1.jpg

We visited another village school.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb208.jpg

Children praying at the end of school day.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb214.jpg

School supplies for the school.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb219.jpg

Monks on the side of the road.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb229.jpg

One of the best rooms on this trip in Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb231.jpg

cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 05:29 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Nov 15, Saturday: We had a short visit in Ongar village where we walked the short street to the large park where they were having dart contests. When a team member hit the target, they did a short dance to celebrate. We also visited their produce market near by, and some purchased local baskets made from bamboo and some food items. Testim attended school here for eight years before he moved to Thimpu. Thankfully, our drive today was a short one driving eastward for four hours through Koirala Pass and Yami to reach Tashigang. Along our drive was Sheri Chhu River. We saw some monkeys along the way. After our arrival, we checked into the Dirk Dejong Hotel, and to have lunch.

After a quick visit to Trashigang Dzong (c1667) which overlooks the confluence of Drangme Chhu and Game Chhu rivers. We were treated to dancing by a group of girls and a group boys. They seemed to be practicing for a future celebration of some kind. Carpenters and artisans were renovating the Dzong, and we had an opportunity to meet the engineer-boss of the project who works without blueprints.
He told us it was a pleasure to meet foreigners from a far away country.

A picnic lunch on the road.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb194.jpg

Mongar post office.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb234.jpg

Dart contests.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb239.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb244.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb245.jpg

Produce market.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb252.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb253.jpg

On the road again.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb266.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb267.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb272.jpg

Trashigang dzong.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb275.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb295.jpg
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb299.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb303.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb312.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb313.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb318.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb319.jpg

Trashigang.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb325.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb320.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb327.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb326.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb333.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb344.jpg
We all froze here at night. This used to be a hotel for monks.

But the scenery was outstanding.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb350.jpg

Stupas along the road. Many mix their cremated ashes with cement, and make small (1.5 to 2 inches high) 10 to 20 stupas to leave at auspacious places along the road or rivers.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb352.jpg

Two trucks along a one lane road.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb361.jpg

On our way to the border village of Samdrup Johgkhar.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb367.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb369.jpg

Our picnic lunch at this location that reminded me of the movie "The Sound of Music."
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb385.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb382.jpg

This is where our driver, Namgay 1, came from. Drivers for tourists must go through a one year driving course before they are authorized to drive tourists in Bhutan. Namgay was an exceptional driver that won our confidence early on.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb387.jpg

Some scenes during the last leg of our journey in Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb389.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb401.jpg
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb407.jpg

Hornbill.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb411.jpg

Picture from our hotel in Samdrup Johgkhar.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb416.jpg

Goodbye Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb426.jpg


Will continue tomorrow with India, and our journey home.

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:28 am
@realjohnboy,
rjb, As you have probably surmised, Buddhism in Bhutan came from Tibet. Here's a good description of prayer wheels taken from the internet.


Quote:
The Prayer Wheel plays a very important role in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Brought to our world by one of the most renowned historical Buddhist teachers, Nagarjuna, the prayer wheel has been used for over a thousand years by the great Yogis of Tibet, including Marpa and Milarepa, as well as Tibetan people from all various walks of life. The practice of turning the Prayer Wheel, or even wearing or having in one’s home, is said to be of immeasurable benefit for oneself and others. Buddhist teachers and the ancient texts expound the profound benefits of the Prayer Wheel for its ability to quickly harmonize the environment, increase compassion, encourage a peaceful state of mind, and assist practitioners on their journeys to enlightenment.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:29 am
@cicerone imposter,
And now for the final segment of this travelogue.

Nov 17, Monday: We left Bhutan right after breakfast for our six hour drive along Assam’s plains and through the colorful city of Guwhati, past the Brahmaputra river with its tea plantations, flora and fauna. then to Kaziranga National Park, for our overnight at the Wildgrass Resort, an English-style resort hotel.

Nov 18, Tuesday: We had an early start this morning for our elephant safari which allowed us to view the rhinos and deer at close distance. We had breakfast back at Wildgrass Resort, followed by a morning jeep drive to see other wildlife that included wild boars, eagles, water buffalos, more rhinos and elephants.

We returned to Wildgrass Resort for our lunch, and after a short respite, returned on jeeps to Kaziranga National Park, the UNICEF World Heritage Site to see more game. It was a very satisfying day to spend most of the day at Kaziranga.


Nov 19, Wednesday: We had a four hour morning drive to Guhawati for our one hour flight to Calcutta where we spent the night at the White Palace Hotel. The White Palace hotel in Calcutta was the worst hotel I have had the displeasure to spend the night. It had one soiled sheet on the bed, they didn’t provide towels, and the staff slept in the hallways and lobby couch. It was a minus 5-star hotel.

Nov 20, Thursday: Our two hour flight from Calcutta to Bangkok was uneventful - thankfully. We were shuttled to the Novotel near the airport where we spent the night before our flight to Narita and San Francisco.

Some good news: The Novotel was a plus 5-star hotel only two years old. It was just luxurious to take a hot bath in a clean tub, and wash my weary sense of discomfort from the after-effects from our hotel in Calcutta.

Five of us had dinner at the Japanese restaurant on the hotel property which was excellent! They also have a Thai and Chinese restaurant in addition to a coffee shop on the other side of the lobby. We all agreed we made the right choice after our meal.

November 21, Friday: My roommate had to catch an earlier flight, so he was gone when I woke up after a wake-up call from Faye at 3:30AM. We met in the lobby at 4AM for our flight home.

Border control into India. The man scolded me for taking his picture.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb431.jpg
Note: I found it curious that although India is growing in computer technology, they're still handling border control by hand written records.

An indication we were now in India. The architecture is dramatically different from Bhutan.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb443.jpg

We had lunch at this restaurant on our way to Kaziranga National Park.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb457.jpg

The bridge to the restaurant; reminded me about the bridge on the River Kwai.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb455.jpg

More scenes on our way to our destination.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb460.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb468.jpg

We were treated to cultural shows on both evenings at the resort.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb478.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb482.jpg

Note: We were told that both shows were in celebration of harvesting. The first show was performed by light-skinned Indians, and the second was
performed by dark-skinned Indians. As I understand it, there still exist some discrimination against dark-skinned Indians in India, although more inter-marry today over the past - and most look at educational background more than skin color.

The fog was still pretty heavy when we arrived for our elephant safari.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb539.jpg

Single file to the open fields.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb499.jpg

Eagle's nest.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb512.jpg

In the middle is our India escort, Allister.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb522.jpg

Remember the John Wayne movie?
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb527.jpg

Game pictures taken during the day.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb542.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb551.jpg
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb577.jpg
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb590.jpg
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb598.jpg

The whisky blend that beat more expensive ones costing over $20.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb536.jpg

Last evening's show.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb609.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb611.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb617.jpg

Wildgrass Resort.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb628.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb629.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb620.jpg
The staff.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb625.jpg

Allister, Sri Jinto, and Tsetim (our team in India).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb626.jpg

Last minute shopping in India.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb640.jpg

Scenes along the way to Guhawati.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb650.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb668.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb676.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb683.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb684.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb694.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb698.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb700.jpg

Calcutta.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb707.jpg

I need to post this part, because it has slowed down to a crawl.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:51 am
@cicerone imposter,
Continuing.

Picture of Bangkok airport from our room at the Novotel.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb713.jpg

The lobby.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb718.jpg

The Japanese restaurant.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb717.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb714.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb715.jpg

Bangkok airport.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/Bhutan3Nov08SDb729.jpg

That's it! Hope you enjoyed this "journey" to Bhutan and India.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 04:39 pm
You got out of Bangkok just in time, CI. Any experiences with Mombai, where there were attacks on hotels catering to westerners?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 04:51 pm
@realjohnboy,
Yea, none to quick. We were at a national game park for most of our stay in India, but had to travel to Calcutta to catch our plane to Bangkok. No incidents in India or Thailand while we were there.
 

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