“Haa mane Hawa (Haa means wind)” he said and laughed to his heart. He has derived the statement after through observation. The newly coined relation of Haa with Hawa was interesting and I wholeheartedly accepted the new meaning. The tiny valley of Haa in the Haa district is seated at the foot of three mighty mountains together known as the Miri Punsum also called the three brother’s hill. The Haa river quietly meanders through this quaint valley originating from some glacier in Jomolhari. The valley is home to many ancient temples and dzong and is the place of origin of many legends.
Perched on a precarious mountain cliff, the religious icon of Bhutan – the famous monastery of Taktsang Palphug, popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest is not just a popular hill destination in Paro but is an adventurous trek that involves perseverance and faith. Here I share the story of our struggle to reach the Tiger’s Nest and the ultimate realisation of the need for fitness.
The wind was gearing up. The chill in the air was biting the exposed skin. Fast came out the jackets to cover us up. The wind had a strange howling sound echoing in the mountains. The sun was playing hide and seek as the clouds were congregating on the top of the mountains. We were moving on the rough serpentine road to see the black-necked cranes. With the winters ready to leave we kept our fingers crossed for our luck with the cranes in the Phobjikha valley. It was probably the last wintery bite before it dies. No, it was not the precursor of any storm it was the preparation of the hail storm.
Punakha the erstwhile capital of Bhutan still holds the status as the religious capital of the kingdom. The sleepy town of Punakha is located by the river basin of the two tributaries called the Mo Chhu (mother river) and the Pho Chhu (father river) uniting to form the Punatsangchhu river. The rich alluvial plains and the low altitude favours the perennial green cover of the valley. Within this tiny green hamlet lies the magnificent Punakha Dzong, around which revolves all the activities in Punakha.
Thimphu being the capital and the largest city in Bhutan, it is also a popular tourist destination. It is one of the few highest national capitals in the world in terms of elevation. The city is built on the hilly slopes while the adjoining valley houses the important buildings like the Tashichho Dzong, the King’s Palace, the High Court and the Great Buddha Dordenma looks upon Thimphu from above the mountain. Among the many rivers of Bhutan, The Wang Chhu also known as the Thimphu Chhu flows through the district of Thimphu. Popular but unique, busy yet serene, Thimphu is thus an ideal destination to suit every taste.
Bhutan never stops to awe the world. This kingdom of happiness brings life and spreads happiness among every living entity. Thus an incomparable range of wildlife is found here. The climate, altitude, conservation, the local tradition of respect for living creatures and their efforts for peaceful coexistence and harmony have all come together to support such varied life forms here; transforming this landmass to the Garden of Eden.
I was in the Druk Yul, the Land of Thunder Dragon. Where people have deep faith in ‘Tak Seng Chung Druk’ (Tiger, Snow Lion, Garuda, Dragon). Where Buddhism is the mode of life. Where the King and Queen protect their citizen as their children. The people respect them as their parents. Where nature has bestowed innumerable gifts on mankind. Where the nation leaves behind a negative Carbon footprint. Where the national development is measured in the terms happiness, not in terms of GNP. Yes, you got it right. I was in the kingdom of happiness. I was in Bhutan.