Punakha Dzong

Monks at Punakha Dzong
Night arrives at Punakha Dzong

Punakha to Bumthang

Trongsa Dzong

Domkhar festival (Chumey Valley)

Dhomkhar Festival — spirituality + Entertainment for the village
The cool bunch that soon turned willing subjects for portraits

URA Valley Festival (Yakchoe)

The old man removes his hat and nods, startling me as we roll past
  • He welcomes all and introduced himself with a brief background, spoke impeccable English, and had spent 15 years at Cambridge, UK and 5 in a US university.
  • He was candid about Bhutani conception of history: written tradition only started from the 18th century, before that it was only oral/ word of mouth from generation to generation.
  • Cleared the rules of photography: mutual respect, leave the backdrop clean.
  • Donations of Indian rupees 500/ per guest essential–it helps keep these traditions alive.
  • The black-masked Joker is the most prominent character in the dance. He is the narrator, the raconteur. Follow him and you’ll have no trouble in understanding the story.
  • All stories here and elsewhere are about exorcising the negativity: these dances exhort the viewer to deal with the negativism that lies within.
  • He recommended partaking in their hospitality and trying local butter tea served at the festival. If it doesn’t taste like tea, then sip it as exotic soup, and all will be fine. The narrative can influence our minds and emotions.
  • Tashi Delek!! (That’s a Tibetan expression for greetings, good luck, and best wishes)

Heading back to Punakha

Tiger’s nest (or Taktsang monastery)

Hot stone bath for NU 1500

Epilogue (April 2020)




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Ajay Goel

Ajay Goel

This is a place where I post essays and random musings.

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