Experience Now – The Destination May Not be as Good as it is this Moment

A walk on the wavering suspension bridge, the blue water flowing beneath, white sand, and the out of this world landscape – however, my focus was only on reaching to the other side. I was hoping that I would find even more magical landscape on the other side. The other side, however, turned out to be disappointing with nothing much to see and do.

I thought, let me get back and enjoy the experience on the bridge only. The sun had suddenly become merciless, the wind had stopped and there were a lot of people waiting to cross the bridge now.

Phunakha Suspension Bridge

What’s beautiful now, may not be after a while
What’s not in focus now can be an invaluable treasure
So, why search for diamonds elsewhere
When they can be under your feet!

Bhutan – The Land of The Thunder Dragon

Bhutan - The Land of Thunder Dragon

Bhutan – the land of the thunder dragon, has the potential to both, surprise you (with its beauty and culture) and shock you (with some never-seen-before things). It is the land of rich culture, majestic architecture, handicrafts, beautiful valleys, Buddhism and lovely people. The moment you enter Bhutan, you find yourself in a different world. The most noticeable attractions are – the old world yet very captivating and majestic architecture, a unique dressing style, religious people rolling prayer wheels and chanting, and almost everyone chewing Paan (betel leaves). You feel like you have time-travelled centuries back, to reach this amazing Himalayan Kingdom – Bhutan.

Surprises are good – they keep the excitement levels up but shocks can make any trip even more interesting and memorable. Let me share with you a few such moments which shook me completely. I couldn’t close my jaws when I saw a monk with a gun in his hand (children playing), a monk buying pork at a butcher’s shop and a married monk. Even more appalling was to see monks betting their money in some of the games at a local fair and to find out that following any religion other than Buddhism is an offence to the state. The other one is more like a matter of pride than surprise, that most of the major roads in Bhutan are constructed and maintained by Indian Military (Border Road Organization called BRO) only, through a project called Dantak. There was a lot to see and do in Bhutan. So here are N things which we liked a lot, in the order they are listed, which you too might appreciate if you visit Bhutan:

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Click on the link to know more about How to Reach Bhutan?

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Paro – The Most Beautiful Valley of Bhutan

Paro, a popular valley in Bhutan, is the house to the most iconic attraction of Bhutan – Taktsang, also popular by the name – The Tiger’s Nest. It is a naturally beautiful valley with cloud touching mountains, blue sky and a river flowing through the valley – an ideal landscape that we use to paint as children.

Paro Valley (6)

Interested in the bigger picture, then read – Top 10 Things to Experience in Bhutan

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Phunakha – The Old Capital of Bhutan

Phunakha – the old capital of Bhutan should definitely be on your list if you want to see the most beautiful Dzong of Bhutan – the place from where the present king of Bhutan got married, the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan – where you can swing with the bridge and the breeze, and the Lakhang (temple) of the Divine Madman, where you can get blessed with a baby if you haven’t already got one.

Phunakha

Interested in the bigger picture, then read – Top 10 Things to Experience in Bhutan

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Choosing a right accommodation for your travel

Choosing a right accommodation takes a hell lot of time when you are planning a trip. Lucky are those who can just walk-in and stay at the cheapest available places (Hotels, motels, B&B or Hostels). However, there are people who are not as lucky and need to consider many factors before making a choice. They may be tight on budget but still wouldn’t care spending few extra bucks for a safe and comfortable stay and more importantly they want to make sure that they get a good value for their money. So how do we strike a balance? How do we get a hotel that is safe, comfortable, at a location of our choice and most importantly within our budget.

Choose a Right Accommodation or Motel

Here is the strategy that I use to identify the best accommodation for us (My wife and me):

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Cycling the Bangalore Outskirts – A 65 kms Ride to The Big Banyan Tree

Cycling is like a bread stuffed with double layers of Cheese. I could travel which I love and be physically fit, which is a prerequisite for doing things I like.

 

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What I learnt from this ride? (before I jump on to the real story)
1. Always start early morning – good weather, less traffic, less pollution – you enjoy more
2. Do not carry even an extra gram if it isn’t absolutely essential
3. Carry a portable charger if you are dependent on GPS – battery of smart phone dies quickly
4. Carry a puncture repair kit – it’s difficult to find a repair shop when you are in need of one
5. Make sure you have a comfortable seat if you are going for a long ride, else bum hurts 😉
6. Make arrangement for mounting a camera if you are into photography and video shooting
7. Carry a lot of water, Shades, sunscreen (to reapply whenever you wash your face) and an MP3 player (music makes it really easy)

A short film on our first cycle ride, for those who do not wan’t to read much. Though it is shaky one and not very professional, I feel it still captures the essence.

Cycling isn’t something I ever liked or would ever do just for the love of doing it. However, I went on a cycling ride last weekend and covered 65 kms during my first ride, which I think is pretty good achievement for a guy whose routine involves negligible physical activity. It was all because of my passion for travel and fitness (very recently developed one).

The biggest challenges were inspiration, motivation and commitment. Reading the blogs of number of people who were traveling the world by cycling was really inspiring and motivated me to cover at least the city and it’s outskirts by cycling. This was like a bread stuffed with double layers of Cheese. I could travel which I love and be physically which is a pre-requisite for doing things I like. The high level of commitment was mainly because of my need to stay physically fit and win over the lethargy that had started ruling over my body. Moreover, it was also the result of long time that I had taken to ponder over it and reach the decision. My commitment stayed strong until we rode few kms during the return ride to our homes. It was hot and I was carrying a heavy DSLR Camera on my back (the biggest mistake that I made). It felt even heavier as we moved forward during the heat of the day. There were no stretches of shades and were no scenic spots. It was a busy highway with number of stretches having steep slopes. We stopped for few minutes every kilometre or so, consumed enough water and when felt hungry had watermelons and coconut water sold by hawkers. This worked as fuel, that kept us going and more importantly as a coolant that helped us maintain our body temperature.

Somehow we managed to reach the city, however, my spirit completely broke when we were just about 18 kms away from our homes. I just wanted to sit with my bicycle on a loading rickshaw. I even tried stopping few loading rickshaws. However, my friends’ energy level was infectious and boosted my energy level as well. I took few minutes of rest and was ready to hit the road again. We played it wisely for the remaining stretch. Whenever, it would be up the slope, we would walk and whenever down the slope we will take full advantage of it and ride down. We somehow managed to ride the roller coaster to reach our homes and that was a big relief that we had reached safely 🙂

Though it became a little difficult during the first ride as we had set very high target, I feel it will help us in the future rides.

Some of the photographs of The Big Banyan Tree – our destination, also called Dodda Alada Mara.

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