It was a pleasant October and Kolkata was preparing for its biggest festival, five friends decided to explore the land of thunder dragon. We took our passes for Bhutan from Bhutan House, Kolkata and just started our journey. Got down from train at New Alipurduar and soon reached the India –bhutan border, Phuentsholing. At the very first sight you’ll like the country, the Bhutan part of the border, so clean and beautiful and our Indian part – Jaigaon, you know, I don’t have to tell you what. Then and then we started our journey of a lifetime, all credit goes to Mr. Madan Tamang, our driver cum guide for the tour.
Taking a long 7 hrs drive to Paro, and before checking into a hotel, we went to the Bhutan national museum situated at the top of the Paro valley. It’s a seven storied building engraved with authentic life, history and culture of Bhutan. The museum took us to a spellbind state. The view of Paro valley from the top of the museum premises is enthralling. Came back to the Paro square, and found a hotel so cheap yet exotic. Next day we roamed around the Paro square, a small valley, so serine it is with Paddy fields around and the Paro chu (Chu means River) running beside the Paro valley, makes the scene even captivating. Unlike other hill stations I had ever been to, Paro came to me as a unique landscape with its flat lands at such a high altitude. We started our tour to a series of Monasteries and Dzongs (means Forts). First went to Kyichu Lhakhang , a small but beautiful monastery campus ornamented with apple and orange trees and purple flowers. Further up the Paro valley, the Drukgyel Dzong, now in ruins, recalls the days when Bhutan was frequently, and successfully, attacked by armies from the north. The Drukgyel Dzong was built by in 1649 to commemorate a victory over an invasion from Tibet. The word “Druk” means Thunder Dragon and symbolically refers to Bhutan whereas “Gyel” indicates victory. Paro Dzong is just in the heart of the Paro square. It’s a real pleasure to take a walk around the Paro valley as the small yet serine town has very less number of hotels and population, you can see the whole town just on your feet.
It is worth mentioning that the people of Bhutan are very humble in nature and very co-operative. You will notice their effort to maintain their culture through wearing their national dress everywhere and trying out their national sport archery and through their food. Though many of us had to struggle having their foods like authentic Thukpa and local dishes like Jasa Maru (Jasa means Chicken), I kind of enjoyed having their local cuisine. The town and local business of Bhutan mainly run by their women. You’ll find all your hotel managers and hospitality personnel are ladies, even we found beautiful young teenage girls selling wine at the wine shops, shows how safe the town is for ladies.
The third day was the day of parting. Paro stood as the beautiful charming lady from famous novel, my heart cried thinking of the soon coming forthcoming breakup with Paro. We went towards Thimpu and came back to Kolkata within few days, but my love for Paro is still alive like I met her just yesterday.
Travel: By air from Kolkata to Paro or by train to Alipurduar or Hashimara and then hire a car.
Stay: There are several nice hotels at Paro square, generally available don’t need to book in advance.