Had a terrific three-day stay in Bumthang showing off the true and authentic Bhutan to my friends.
They were totally blown away. From the hotel they stayed in (Mountain Resort) to drinking teas with the monks at Karchu Dratshang; from bumping into the deity proptiating rituals at Bebzur anim dratshang to the grandeurs of Ogyencholing Nagtsgang, Bumthang has so much to offer beyond the classic pilgrimage tours.
Bumthang is that humble and hospitable Bhutan – one thing that is slowly eroding in the much-urbanised Thimphu or Phuntsholing. There people invite random stangers to their houses, they feel blessed to have guests, and the service is genuine – from the heart.
At Kharchu Dratshang we stumbled upon monks doing sand mandala. We were so mesmerised that we stood around for, maybe, too long that they started preparing tea and snacks for us. My friends were shocked. In their countries, they said they would be kicked if you stay for far too long.
In Bebzur anim dratshang, I used a contact in Thimphu to check if we were allowed to visit because monastic centers are conducting their annual exams and they could be closed for visitors.
Not only we we allowed, the nuns received us as if we were VIPs and hoped we would find the visit worthwhile. You bet! With the most exquisite clay works of Guru, Tara and Vajrasattva, I could not take my eyes off the statues and the mural paintings. (Check the photos).
As we talk about transformations and tourism rethinkings, I hope that people in Bhutan will always remember as to what makes Bhutan special. Visitors don’t come for anything but to see, feel, dive into the sense of humanity and hospitality they are missing in their societies. Driven by a broken economic model, westerners, especially, are longing for that authentic human connections and care. And see our culture abd customs.
Basic service standards have to be met for which regulators may throw the rule books at you. But if authentic Bhutanese hospitality and humanity are lost, no amount of stars ratings or rebranding will attract the visitors.
Bumthang is the birth place of Vajrayana Buddhism – the essence of Bhutan. I pray that Bumthang continues to be beacon of hope and humanity for eons to come
Bumthang is connected by domestic flight from Paro. By road it takes 8 hours to get there.
Bebzur Anim Dratshang
The nunnery is just few minutes drive above the famed Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake). There is a signboard on the left. A must-visit.
The nunnery is under the patronage of His Holiness (only other lama to get this title in Bhutan) Gangteng Trulku Rimpoche of the Peling tradition.
https://bhutanmountainresort.com/ is a family-run 3/4-star hotel in the main Chankhar Valley. The mother heads the kitchen, the daughter is at the front desk, and the sons help being handymen wherever extra hands are needed. Truly a homely feeling one gets being there.
Ogyencholing is at an hour drive from Chamkhar, where the airport is. The drive has some spectacular views too.
#mountainresort #wangdichholing #moutainlodge #hospitality #bumthangvalley