Updated on 10 Nov 2021, 12:19 pm
Punakha Dzong, Bhutan (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)
Indeed there is something in the air of Bhutan which makes the beautiful country so magnificent and enchanting with its charming landscapes, gurgling rivers, valleys, unique architecture, Chortens and of course warm polite dignified common Bhutanese people.
The National Memorial Chorten, Handicrafts Museum and National Library make Thimphu an extremely attractive tourist destination. Motithang Zoo deserves special praise for providing open air and free grazing ground for taking --- an animal unique to Bhutan. Now let me recount a memorable experience. As I noticed the large Tasichho Dzong from a cliff, I thought that it was the residence of Bhutan royals! I got rectified by our guide and came to know that it is actually the seat of Bhutanese government! When I asked where the King lives, the guide pointed out a few cottages near the Dzong. It was indeed an eye-opener for Indians like us who are habituated to viewing the luxurious and opulent lifestyles of the politicians, rich and those possessing "blue blood" in their veins. No less than the King of Bhutan leads such a simple lifestyle! No wonder why the Royals are so revered in Bhutan and occupy sacred place in the hearts of common Bhutanese citizens who adorn the badges of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Queen Jetsun Pema on their traditional attire named 'Gho' and 'Kira' and place their pictures in homes, shops and hotels. And no words to describe the awe-inspiring giant statue of Lord Buddha. Buddha point vividly reflects the sartorial tastes of the Bhutanese people. What a place to erect the statue of the Lord! Surrounded by the giant Himalayan ridges on all sides with the Thimphu valley down below --- indeed the place where Gods reside!
Punakha Dzong remains another illustrious example of the Bhutanese sense of beauty. Built on the confluence of Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu, the Dzong resembles a large ship floating on a river if seen from a distance.
Perhaps no country in the history of the world has seen that an unchallenged monarch is voluntarily sacrificing his power and authority so that his subjects are provided the taste of democracy and equality. Next, when the whole world measures its prosperity through materialistic wealth, economic growth or Gross Domestic Product; Bhutan has presented a new concept to the human civilization named Gross National Happiness which measures prosperity through non-economic aspects of well-being like health, education, ecology etc . Despite embracing modern amenities for smoother life, Bhutan has not forsaken its cultural roots and heritage in the guise of "progress". While 'Gho' and 'Kira' find deep following even among the urban youth; each and every building --- be it bus terminus, petrol pumps, hotels, restaurant, markets or offices --- remain true to indigenous Bhutanese architectural style. And what can I say about the gentle, polite and dignified behaviour of the common Bhutanese people! No where did I observe anyone shouting or fighting at/with each other. No one talks at the top of his/her voice in public places. No one loudly speaks through mobile phones inconveniencing others. No visual pollution through advertisement boards portraying the female body in a vulgar fashion to boost the sale of any product. No smoking or littering in streets. Traffic moving slowly but steadily. No overtaking, no honking. Never can such civilized behaviour and highest regard to rules and regulations be witnessed in Indian streets or public places. India and the whole world needs to learn from Bhutan what civilised behaviour and courtesy are all about.
Bhutan is indeed unique as it can simply mesmerise all through its natural beauty, architecture, cleanliness which is next to Godliness and warm disciplined dignified smiling people. Paradise can teach all human beings the real essence of life and has the ability of changing the philosophy of our life for the better.
Special Contributor, KOLKATA, West Bengal