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Venturing Into the Kingdom of the Dragon

May 12, 2023

The remote and landlocked kingdom of Bhutan is perched on the shoulder of India on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, with Tibet to the north. A rare clear day flying in offered views of Mt. Everest.

I had read that landing in Paro is a hair-raising experience, which I suppose it could be during bad weather. On approach we arced closely around a forested mountainside with a shawl of clouds. Paro is not the capital, but is close to Thimpu, where we spent our first two nights; Paro has the only sufficient flat terrain to accommodate runways for big jets.

We met our local guide, Ugyen, and driver, Top Gey,, with whom we will spend the next ten days. Top Gey will prove to be extraordinarily skilled behind the wheel, as we will learn when we venture into the mountains and countryside.

Our first of countless temple visits is in Thimpu, This workshop will be all about shooting faces — and dzongs and prayer flags.

The monks at the monastery in Thimphu range in age from about ten to infinity. The young boys are as rambunctious as 10-12 year-olds at home are, they are just garbed in red robes. I had had a vision of devout young men praying — but no!

At the southernmost edge of the city, a giant (169- foot) sitting Buddha is the city’s most famous landmark. Inside are another 100,000+ small gold and brass Buddha figures. The Buddha Dordenma was erected to honor the king’s 60th anniversary in 2010. in his forehead is a giant diamond.

The next morning we returned for more artistic shots of the Buddha.

I have a lot more to catch up on when we move on to our last hotel this afternoon, so stay tuned.

One Comment
  1. I love that the boy monks aren’t restricted in their activities. The faces are beautiful, especially surrounded by their red robes. The Buddha is huge! I checked and it is taller than the Statue of Liberty, not including her pedestal. That’s big so the diamond must be huge! Love your photos and look forward to more.

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