The Curious Case Of Bhutan

People who know me well know that I do not like to travel a lot. I am not the kind of person who would go on 4-monthly vacations, sprinkled with a few weekenders in between, of which most I call – Oh that was a hectic wedding getaway! No, that’s not me. But then last week I did find myself in a paradise – Bhutan!

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Oh boy! If there is any country on this planet with every inch of it being really gawk-worthy, it has to be Bhutan! Wherever you look, whatever you see is beautiful – untouched.

Can you imagine a world without any traffic lights? Can you imagine a world without any McDonalds? Can you imagine a world without honking on street – Oh may be you could, if you are either born in the west, or an engineer from India. But, Bhutan definitely has been successful in maintaining its culture and has kept its traditions and heritage intact, with minimum or no influence from the west.

Having said that I believe that it is a perfect amalgamation of the west and the east! No, seriously! They have put together chilly from the east, and cheese from the west and made it into their delicacy! Ema Datshi (literally Chilly Cheese) is basically chilly (yes, the green, hot, raw chilies) in cheese curry, and is had with rice! However absurd it sounds, it probably is one of the most interesting local cuisines I have had, after Apli Misal of course.

This country not only has a high Gross National Happiness index, but also has a high number of pigs that are high. That’s right! Though it’s illegal, they grow a lot of marijuana there. And from what I hear, they let the pigs have a lot of it. This comes from their belief – Happy Pigs Mean Happy Pork. Woah, which is taking you-are-what-you-eat a little too far. Though I am sure a few people are now thinking that they would rather be pigs in Bhutan, than in a corporate office.

I wouldn’t say that one of the reasons of me wanting to visit Bhutan was visa on arrival, while the rest of the world pays about 200-250 dollars per day to be there! No, I am not such a sadist. But the wiser thing to do is to visit it before they give us similar treatment, because as an Indian – and a chindi Indian at that – I wouldn’t be able to afford it then! (I sense my dad raising an eyebrow at “I” and “afford” in the same sentence. I love you no but.)

Well, you must visit this country, the population of which is less than that of one Hiranandani Tower, if you are in love with nature at its purest. If you are a trekker, meditator, an explorer, a photographer, a reader, a thinker or basically anything- this country is an absolute must-do for you. If you are an introvert, this is a perfect getaway with not many disturbing creatures who don’t understand “your kind” around you. If you are lazy like me, it’s a stone’s throw away from India – provided hulk is throwing a comet in that direction. If you are none of the above, and stuck through this blog, book your tickets now!

PS- Bhutan ain’t paying me anything. This is heartfelt.