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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

bhutan - the land of the blue mountains

Its a funny place, Bhutan. There is a timelessness about the land. Hundreds of years ago, this place would still have looked like it does today. The Bhutanese were either a very paranoid race or just plain fond of mountaintops. There is a certain pattern to the big monasteries that one sees there. One simple design priniciple seems to be that you pick a small mountain with big mountains around it. Then you build a fat stone building on the top of the small mountain and settle down cosily knowing that any unexpected guests would be seen miles away and would be rather tired after climbing up and down the mountainside. They valued their privacy and their solitude those monks and they built their Dzongs to ensure that. After making a building like this, i guess you dont need to ask people to call before dropping in.

I used to call my trips to Bhutan, " a walk in the clouds ". Probably because the movie of the same name was rather nicely done and very romantic and my initial trips to bhutan were inspired by a rather pretty girl who lived there. I didnt get anywhere with her, but Bhutan got to me. I had grown up close to the nepal border, and had always loved the himalayas, but Bhutan turned out to be special. The clouds trailing wispily across the mountain roads, the unspoilt green mountain forests, the cheerful faces, and the hundreds of archery and dart games going on all over the country...all of this was somehow special. Red chillis drying on roofs, steaming hot bowls of noodles at small eating places by the road, neatly dressed naughty children on their way to school..these contrast vividly with the solemn stillness of the old buildings...and create an effect like no other.

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