Tosh a must visit village in Himachal Pradesh

Tosh is a village in the extreme end of Parvati Valley in Himachal. It is close to the base of the Kheerganga trek. The village is not much crowded by the tourists hence an amazing spot for a calming and relaxing vacation in the Nature. It is an hour away from Manikaran.

How did I reach Tosh?

I took a cab to the base of Tosh from Manikaran. It is an hour away from Manikaran and the cab charged me Rs 600. From the base till the top of the hill it’s about 1.5 to 2 hours of trek. It took me 1 hour and 30 mins to trek up the hill. As I was travelling in Jan, which is the peak season for snow, the entire hill was covered with 2 feet of velvet sheet of snow. The view was amazing.

Where did I stay in Tosh?

I stayed in the famous Pinky Didi Cafe. It is run by Pinky Didi who understands the need and convenience of the travellers. It is really safe for female solo travellers to stay here. I paid Rs 650 for a single room for a night including the room heater. It was bone chilling cold in Jan and heater is a must. The food is really good and the cook is an amazing singer/guitarist too. He can play for you if requested.

A nothing to do village

I’m a firm believer of the phrase ” beauty of doing nothing” and Tosh is just that place. As it was my solo travel to Himachal I can assure you that it is safe for women and men to travel anywhere in and around this beautiful state. I have covered 4 places in Himachal ~ Manali, Kasol, Tosh and Malana and always received a warm welcome every where I went. The day I was going to Tosh there was a forecast for snow fall hence the people I met while trekking up asked me to hurry up as it will get difficult to walk once it starts to snow. The cafe is located at the core of Tosh and the view from my room was doting. In the evening the common area comes to life with music and good vibes.




My first snow fall

I had my first snow fall in Tosh. The entire day I was waiting for the snow fall as per the forecast but it didn’t snow. I went to sleep that night praying for the snow fall in the next morning. The next morning there was magic happening outside my window, the magic of Mother Nature. My heart was doing somersaults with the happiness of a 2 year old when given a Barbie. I lived my fairy tale in Tosh.



Brownie Points:

1. Himachal is absolutely safe for solo female and male travellers. People here are extremely welcoming and helpful.

2. It is really reasonable in Himachal like commute, food and stay.

3. Please please please maintain the cleanliness of the valley or anywhere in the world you travel. Please use the dustbins.

4. Carry a lot of winter clothing if you’re planning to travel in the peak winters. Snow boot is a must to avoid frost bite.

My soulful trip to Himachal – Kasol

I travelled solo to Himachal this Jan. In this post I will cover about my experience in Kasol, a small hamlet situated in the Parvati Valley near the banks of the Parvati river.

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How did I reach Kasol?

I took a bus from Manali. If you’ve read my previous blogs you know I prefer travelling by local. The bus journey to Kasol was a beautiful one, with the white snow covered mountains, the green river and the blue sky. It was a gorgeous fusion of colours.

Where I stayed?

I stayed in Whoopers Hostel, in Katagla. The hostel is right on the bank of the river Parvati .

Things I did in Kasol

Chalal Trek Trail

Chalal is one of the smallest trek trails. I started the trek from katagla and ended at Chala, a small village near Kasol. Chalal is known for its trance and psychedelic parties. Trekking by the river Parvati through the nature trail surrounded by mountains is an unforgettable view.


Gurudwara Shri Manikaran Sahiba

The gurudwara is in the heart of the Parvati Valley, on the river Parvati. The hot spring in Manikaran is believed to be therapeutic. The water is so hot that food is cooked by directly placing the vessel in it and served as langar. The gurudwara has arrangement for hot spring bath separate for ladies and gents, and the langar here is satiating. I reached Manikaran after finishing Chalal trek and I was famished. First thing I had here was the famous halwa, it was scrumptious. The view from from the gurudwara of the blue mountains and green river is definitely a photographer’s paradise.

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Breakfast at the German Bakery

I had read a lot of blogs on German Bakery in Kasol. To my surprise there are more than 2 German Bakeries. Although I had breakfast at a small set up of German Bakery. The most famous Yak cheese omlette sandwich and some hot whiskey cake.

Yakk cheese sandwich
Whiskey Cake

My Soulful trip to Himachal – Manali

If you are following me on Insta, you know I travelled solo to Himachal Pradesh early this year, my first travel of the year. And if you’re not following me on Insta (read: please do, my insta handle is @universe_and_stardust), now you know that I travelled to Himachal. I covered four places out of many beautiful places ; Manali, Kasol, Tosh and Malana. Travel to the mountains are usually not recommended during the peak winter months because of road blocks due to snow, but I did because you know ‘Mountains are calling and I have to go’. December and January are the peak winters because Himachal gets the most snow during these months. And it was my first ever experience with the snow. In this post I am covering about my travel to Manali.

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Manali

Where did I stay?

I stayed in the Orchards House, Old Manali. I’m a sucker for pristine places hence I chose  Old Manali over New. It’s quite, serene and got some amazing views.  The place is surrounded by beautiful snow covered mountains. The morning I arrived Manali was covered with sheet of snow. The locals told me it had snowed the previous night. It was my first experience with snow ever and the beauty around me was spellbinding.

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Things I did in Manali

Trekking and Hiking

When in the mountains one ought to trek, that’s what I do. Words fall short to describe the beauty I saw in Himachal so I’ll keep it short and let you see through my eyes.

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Hadimba Devi Temple

Yes, it’s Hidimba from the Epic Mahabharat. The temple is located at a beautiful place. I trekked all the way from my hostel to the temple. There were times when I took wrong turns and didn’t regret it once, because the view was stunning and it’s safe too.

 

 

 

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Lunch by the Manaslu river side

Old Manali has some amazing cafes by the river side. I had lunch at the Evergreen Cafe. The food was decent and the view was breathtaking.

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Brownie Points

1. Please maintain the cleanliness and sanity of the mountains.
2. The Orchard House hostel offers amazing pancakes and one of the top rated place in Old Manali.
3. Trek as much as you can to enjoy the serenity of Old Manali.
4. Pahadi people are amazingly humble and helpful.
5. Carry winter clothing , snow trekking boots, a hot water bag, extra pair of socks, water proof gloves, dark chocolates to avoid mountain sickness, thermal socks, thermal wear, moisturizer and your own bottle of water.
6. Layer thermal wear, sweaters and jackets if you’re travelling during the peak winter.
7. Try out different river side cafes in Old Manali.

Quick Budget per person

Stay – Rs 300 per night
Food – Rs 700 to 1000 per day

2019, the life changing year

2019 has been a year full of travel, self discovery, spiritual awakening, self awareness, self love, friendship, books, cooking, adventures, positive vibes and gratitude. This post is about reflecting on 2019.

My first solo travel

If you haven’t checked my post yet, here’s the link Rishikesh – My first ever solo trip
Sitting near the banks of Ganga and watching the sunrise and sunset was one of the best experiences I had.

 My first international travel

 Last month I went to Bhutan. I trekked to the Tiger’s Nest in Paro, I stayed with farmers in Punakha and Phobjikha, I had ema datshi (Bhutan’s national food), I hiked in the agriculture field, I hiked in the Nature Trail and met some amazing people. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful souls.

Commitment toward my physical, mental and spiritual wellness

Yoga and meditation became my morning ritual along with journaling.
I started and continued eating raw for breakfast and it made a lot of difference in my  body. I cut down on junk to a great extent. Yeah not completely, I still eat little junk here and there without causing any damage. I practice gratitude every single day, starting of the day and I end the day with gratitude as well. It helped me to see good in all things and it would instantly bring positive energy. I stopped judging myself. Although I am not a judgmental person when it comes to others but to me. I took up creativity course with Ankita Shinde and she beautifully explained; it’s not our fault that we judge ourselves. The very feeling has come from a place where we grew up. We were compared to others as kids and judged. Hence we end up judging ourselves and comparing us with others even as adults. Once I understood that the game changed.

You are what you eat

I believed in it and followed it. As I decided to cut down on junk I started to cook at home regularly. I learnt making my mum’s famous fish curry, my dad’s mutton curry and I experimented with  recipes myself. I cut down on non veg and I added more colours to my meals. Sauteed veggies are my favourite this year along with kadhi chawal and prawns curry.

Traveled almost every month of this year

Yes, I have traveled every month except December. They say do something that feeds your soul. Well, traveling is one of the things that is spiritual and therapeutic for me. I will continue to travel as much I can every year.

Self Care

 More than ever this year has been my year. Understanding my self worth and walking away from toxic people was the best detox I have been through. Letting go of things that didn’t serve my purpose was relaxing. Not only I focused on good food, I also consciously chose and let people in to my circle. That was my diet. Ignoring bitterness, negativity and drama was one of the other things I learnt and implemented this year. I forgave the ones that had hurt me. Someone wise told me only a wounded can hurt others, hence forgive them to heal yourself. I forgave myself too. I will continue to do so in the upcoming years as well.

Books

I wanted to read one book per month nonetheless I read 9 books in this year. My favourite being Becoming by Michelle Obama, Norwegian Woods by Haruki Murakami and Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Also I discovered an amazing Japanese author Haruki Murakami this year.

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Bhutan Food Blog

The best way to know a place is to know its food. And what’s a better way to have food than trying out the local cuisine at the house of locals. The staple food of Bhutan is the sticky red rice, chillies and yak cheese. Here are few of my favourite foods that I had in Bhutan.

Food I had in Bhutan

1. In the picture below there is a fish curry, kewa datshi, rice and cheese pakoda. Kewa datshi is made from potato and cheese, and tasted amazing with rice. I had this delicious dinner in Phuntsholing. As the district is in the border of India and Bhutan, one can find fish items easily . As interior as you go only chicken, beef and pork are available for a non-vegetarian.

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Meal at Bhutan Residency, Phuntsholing

2. This is suja, butter tea. Unlike chai, suja is made from butter and salt, and is really good during the winters.

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Suja – butter tea

3. In the below picture there is shamu datshi, chicken maru, ezay , papad and the sticky red rice. Shamu datshi made from mushroom and cheese,  chicken maru is a boiled chicken curry without any richness of oil and masala, and ezay. Ezay is a chutney that has cherry tomatoes, chillies, cheese, red onions, garlics, green onions and salt.

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Dinner at Ama’s Village Lodge

4. That’s veg thukpa in the below picture. I had this in Paro after finishing the Tiger’s Nest trek. I was famished and the thukpa was a comfort food in the winter evening.

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Veg thukpa at Ama’s Village Lodge

5. In the below picture you can see sticky red rice, fish curry, ezay, daal and an omlette. The fish curry was amazing. I had this thali on the way to Phuntsholing from Thimphu.

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Meal at a small restaurant run by a family on the way to Phuntsholing

6.  The below meal has kewa datshi, sauteed vegetables, chicken sauteed with vegetables, ezay and ema datshi. Ema datshi has chillies and cheese. It is the national food of Bhutan and is a must try.

 

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Meal at Punakha farmstay

7.  This is Ara, a local wine. It is made from barley, rice, maze and millet or wheat. In a hot pan butter, egg and wine are added. Once it cools down the alcohol is served in a bowl and the left over butter and egg is eaten.

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Ara on a stove

 

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Ara

Phobjikha Valley – Amazing Bhutan

This blog post is dedicated to my friend, my bro, who traveled along with me to Bhutan. I don’t give away anyone’s name hence no pictures of us together in this post or any of my Bhutan posts. She had a tough time trekking and hiking with me. However, she is a strong willed woman and I admire her efforts. Had it been not for her, the travel wouldn’t have been so much fun. 

Phobjikja also known as Gangtey valley is the vast U shaped glacial valley where the sacred black necked cranes migrate from Tibet to Bhutan during the winters to roost. On the arrival the cranes circle the Gangtey Gonpa Monastery three times and also repeat the process while returning to Tibet. The valley is enclosed by mountain ranges which experience snowfall during the winters.

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How did I reach Phobjikha

From Punakha I got a cab till Bajo and from Bajo I got a shared cab till my farm stay in the Phobjikha Valley.

Things I did in Phobjikha
Nature Trail Trek

So after a light lunch I started for the Nature trail trek from the hill top overlooking the Khewang Lakhang Monastery. It’s a two hours hike easier than the Tiger’s Nest Trek. Although nothing can beat the majestic Tiger’s Nest Monastery as it literally hangs off the cliff. The nature trail is different kind of beautiful. The trail is all about pine trees, amazing views, flower meadows and gorgeous grasslands. The entire experience felt surreal being surrounded by so much beauty.

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Start of Nature Trail Trek

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Beautiful Grasslands on the way

Gangtey Gonpa Monastery

Little ahead of the end of  Nature Trail there is a monastery, Gangtey Gonpa. The black necked cranes circle three times over the monastery on their arrival to Bhutan and return to Tibet. The monastery is on top of a hill. In and around the monastery there are a lot of handicraft stores and art galleries.

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Gangtey Gonpa Monastery

 

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Stay with the locals

I stayed at Karma farm stay near Khewang Lakhang with an elderly couple who owns a farm land and are farmers. The house has a basic setup. There are no cots only double mattresses on the floor. The couple is leading a very humble lifestyle and it was one of a kind experience to have while travelling. I am so grateful to have had one of the best experiences during my travel to Bhutan. Because of extreme cold in the valley all the houses are made up of wood.

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Farm of Karma Farmstay

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View from the Farmstay

 

Black Necked Crane

These graceful birds are considered sacred in Tibetan and Bhutanese culture. It is believed if the birds fly over someone’s land they seem to have good crops that year. There is a Black Necked Crane center from where the the birds can be seen through the binoculars. But I had a good fortune of seeing them while hiking in the grassland. A flock of these birds flew right over my head circling over me. It was a blessed moment.

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Hot Stone Bath

Phobjikha valley is also famous for the hot stone bath. Stones from rivers are charred and put in the wooden bath tub along with herbs like Khempa (in Bhutanese). The minerals from the stones and herbs add medicinal value to the water which in turn removes fatigue and body pain, and relaxes body and mind.

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Brownie Points

  1. In the Black Necked Crane Center there is an injured crane. His name is Karma.
  2. These birds are of endangered species and every year the count keeps decreasing. Fortunately this year the count has increased to a great extent.
  3.  I stayed at a farmstay, Karma Farmstay. I booked it through contact@heavenlybhutan.com
  4. The couple don’t understand anything apart from Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. However their son, Karma, was in touch with us to convey our messages to the host.
  5. While starting for the Nature Trail trek keep enough time in hand. Because by the time I finished my trek and got back it was dark, and me and my friend got lost.
  6. Phobjikha is in the interiors of Bhutan. There are no street lights and few places don’t even have concrete roads. The lifestyle is simple and humble.
  7. The major source of income is through farming and renting out farmstays/homestays to travelers..
  8. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat beef or pork, please let your host know before hand.
  9. Food at the farmstay is charged per meal per person basis. If you don’t want a big meal, you can request for a smaller one and reduction in price. Like the price in the Karma farmstay for one meal is Rs 600 and we requested for 2 food items instead, for Rs 200.
  10. Hot stone bath usually is done in the evening. Hence please request for a drop till your hotel/farmstay/homestay after sunset if opted outside your  farmstay/homestay.

 

Quick Budget per person

Cab from Punakha to Bajo – Rs 200
Cab from Bajo to Phobjikha – Rs 550
Hot Stone Bath – Rs 850
Food – Rs 400 to 500 per day
Stay – Rs 1500 per person for 2 nights

Punakha – Amazing Bhutan

Prior to Thimphu, Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and one of the administrative centers of Bhutan. It’s almost 70 km away from Thimphu and takes 3 hours to reach by cab. Punakha is warmer in the winters and hot in the summers. This valley is famous for mainly rice farming both red and white. One of the main attractions of this place is Punakha Dzong which is at the confluence of the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu, making Punakha the river valley of Bhutan.

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How did I reach Punakha

I got a shared cab from Thimphu taxi stand to my farm stay in Phunakha.
Things I did in Puankha

Dochula Pass

The pass is at the elevation of 10,200 feet in the Eastern  Himalayan snow covered mountains, which is on the way from Thimphu to Punakha. The snow covered mountains over looking the 108 stupas or chortens is a sight worth seeing. The temperature around this place is really low and the view is awe-inspiring.

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Dochula Pass

 

Stay with Locals

In all my travels I want to have the local experience. I stayed at the farm stay booked on Airbnb with a family of farmers. They own a farming land and all that is served, is from their land. Starting from vegetables, fruits, all the dairy products, chicken etc all were from their farm.

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View from the farm stay

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Hiking through the farm field

This was one of a kind experience I had in Punakha. So it was not pre-planned, rather it was suggested by my host. The sun rays falling on the agricultural field giving it a golden touch was a spectacular view. I was excited to start the hike and by the time I was down I was filled with gratitude.

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Farm land

 

Suspension Bridge

The river valley, Punakha is home to the magnificent Iron Suspension Bridge, a well known landmark of Punakha. The bridge connects the administrative office Punakha Dzong to the rest of the valley. The bridge is 160 to 180 meters long and rests over the river Pho chu. The setting sun shining on the aqua green river was alluring.

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Pho Chu

 

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Suspension Bridge

 

Chimi Lakhang aka Fertility Temple

The legend has it, the lama Drukpa Kinley aka Divine Madman warded off evil with his Phallus. The entire village has paintings of Phallus in the houses, buildings and shops. Also one can find Phallus key rings and souvenirs being sold as it is considered to bring positive energy. It is also believed that couples who come here are blessed with a baby within a year.

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Brownie Points

  1. Before entering Punakha please make sure to get the permit done in Thimphu.
  2. While hiking in the farmland don’t panic, just go with the flow.
  3. Please maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the place.
  4. Punakha Dzong closes by 4:30 PM in the winters and 5:00 PM in the summers.
  5. Please be matured and have an open mind while visiting Chimi Lakhang aka Fertility temple. Please don’t hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
  6. Photography inside the temple is not allowed.

Quick Budget

Cab to Punakha farmstay from Thimphu – Rs 600
Meal at the farmstay per person for a day – Rs 650

Thimphu – Amazing Bhutan

Thimphu is the capital and urbanized city of Bhutan. It is also home to the royal family and the present king’s office known as Tashichho Dzong.

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Tashichho Dzong, office of the present king of Bhutan

How did I reach Thimphu

From Paro I boarded a bus to Thimphu. There is only one bus that leaves at 9:00 AM to Thimphu from Paro bus station.

Things I did in Thimphu

Souvenir shopping at the Handicraft Market

There is a chain of shops put up at the Handicraft market right opposite to the immigration office. One can find hand made bags to hand woven sweaters, scarves, stoles, prayer flags, meditation beads, paintings, handmade paper journals etc. These shops are mostly run by women and they can be seen weaving shawls, bags etc.

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A walk in the Coronation Park

Coronation park is 500 meters away from the immigration office. The beauty about this park is it is at the bank of Paro Chu also known as Paro river. There is a 45 feet tall statute of Walking Buddha in the middle of the park which is believed to have been constructed for the people to pursue happiness.

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View of Paro chu from the Coronation park

 

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Walking Buddha at the Coronation park

Weekend Bazaar

There is a farmers’ market that is put up every weekend where one can find local produce and almost all household materials. Starting from fresh vegetables to dry fish and meat, weekend bazaar has everything you name it.

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Farmers’ Market at the weekend Bazaar

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Buddha Point

Buddha point has a gigantic statue of the Buddha which house one hundred small statues of Buddha. The statues are made up of bronze and gold, and one of the major attractions in Thimphu not only for tourists but also for locals. My favourite was the view of snow capped mountains from the Buddha Point.

 

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Buddha Point

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Snow capped mountain view from the Buddha Point

 

Brownie Points

  1. Try to bargain at the Handicraft market.
  2. Please maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the place.
  3. If you have enough time please sit at the Coronation park facing the river. It’s peaceful.
  4. I stayed in Airbnb, it was economical.
  5. Cabs are easily found around the city at a reasonable price.

Quick Budget per person

Paro to Thimphu – Rs 60
Food – Rs 700 to Rs 1000
Cab from the Buddha Point to downhill – Rs 100 (entire cab)

Paro – Amazing Bhutan

Paro, one of the most religious towns of Bhutan is also a trekkers paradise. It is home to the celebrated Taktsang Monastery also knows as Tiger’s Nest. The monastery was built in 1692 by Guru Padmasambhava which is 10,000 feet above the sea level and my sole purpose of the visit to this town was to trek to the monastery. It took me 3.5 hours to trek up and 1.5 hours to trek down.

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How to reach Paro

From Phuntsholling I hired a shared cab to Paro. There are buses also running to Paro from Phuntsholling. However they have particular timing for the buses and I had missed the time frame hence the cab.

Where I stayed in Paro

I had stayed in Ama’s Village Lodge. This beautiful place is 5 mins away from Paro taxi stand and 15 mins away from the Taktsang Monastery base hill. They own a cute cozy cafe and serve some amazing Bhutanese food. They use all organic produces by the local farmers. The owner Ama and the staffs who work there are hospitable and helpful.

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Early morning view from the homestay

 

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Suja (butter tea) with the view from the homestay

Taktsang Monastery aka Tiger’s Nest

At the base of the hill I bought the pass for the Monastery and rented a hiking stick as well. There is a small market put up at the base with all the handicraft materials.  I started the trek at 9:19 AM. There are options for pony rides till half way through the hill and rest of the path needs to be trekked on foot. I decided to trek the entire track on foot and it was a difficult trek. I took a lot of breaks in between. There are a lot of resting places for the pilgrims and tourists. My favourite part was the view on the way to the monastery. The trek is beyond beautiful with the waterfall breaking the silence. This large waterfall drops 200 feet into the sacred pool and is crossed over by a bridge. The track to the monastery passes through the beautiful pine tree forest with garland of moss and colourful prayer flags.

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Pine Forest in Tiger’s Nest

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The colourful moss and the bird

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The scenic view that passes through the trek

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Taktsang Moanstery or Tiger’s Nest

 

Brownie Points

  1. There is a cafe called Taktsang cafe for refreshments on the way to the Monastery.
  2. There will be a point where one may want to quit. Don’t give up, take breaks, take your time and move forward.
  3. Carry dark chocolates to deal with mountain sickness and low in energy. Also carry some snacks in case the cafe is closed as was in my case while I trekking down,
  4. Make sure to trek down the hill before dusk. There’s a possibility of getting lost.
  5. Carry water bottles.
  6. While trekking it gets warmer but up in the Monastery it’s really cold. Please carry warm clothes.
  7. Maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the place.
  8. There is a dress code, if not formal, please dress appropriately. Scarves, caps, stoles etc to cover head is not allowed.
  9. Photography inside the Monastery is not allowed.
  10. There are lockers to keep our belongings including cameras and phones right below the Monastery.
  11. The home stay accepts Gpay. Hence instead of paying cash try as much to use Gpay or online banking because there are a lot of places in Bhutan where only cash is accepted. As I wanted to save the hard cash I transferred the cab money to the home stay owner and asked her to pay in cash to the driver.
  12. The home stay will arrange cabs to the Tiger’s Nest.

Quick Budget Per Person

Shared taxi to Paro from Phuntsholling = Rs 750
Stay for two nights = Rs 2000
Food for two days = Rs 700
Cab <-> Taktsang Monastery = Rs 700 (Pick up and drop)
Hiking stick = Rs 50 (Non- refundable)
Pass to the Taktsang Monastery = Rs 500

Amazing Bhutan

Bhutan, a Buddhist country on the eastern Himalayas is abode to the most breathtaking landscapes. Surrounded by countries like Nepal and India, the kingdom of Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world and soon they could become 100% organic in their produces.

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Best Time To Travel

Spring, which is Mar to May and Autumn which is September to November. Bhutan receives snow from December to February and rain from June to August.

Although I went in November and it is supposed to be autumn the temperature would go as low as 1 degree at certain villages.

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How did I reach Bhutan

I flew to Bagdogra from Bangalore, took a bus from Siliguri government bus station to Jaigaon. The bus started at 12:30 PM from Siliguri and dropped at Jaigaon bus stand at 5:30 PM. From there I took a shared taxi to Phuntsholing which was barely 200 meters away. So Jaigaon is the border in India and Phuntsholing is the border in Bhutan. To cross the border if asked one might need to show their govt. identity proof.

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How to get entry permit in Bhutan

With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa. An entry permit is a must. One can get the permit in the immigration office in Phuntsholing. There is one in Paro as well. One need to carry government photo identity proof/passport, 2 passport size photographs and photocopy of the hotel booking confirmation for the same day. This permit is valid for Paro and Thimphu, and for a week. For extension and entry to anywhere apart from these two places, one need to get the extension permit and entry permit done in Thimphu immigration office. I covered Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Phobjikha. So for Punakha and Phobjikha I had to get the entry permit in Thimphu. At every check point one need to show the entry permit.

 

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Brownie Points

  1. Cabs are available at Bagdogra airport and Siliguri taxi stand for Jaigaon/Phuntsholing.
  2. Bhutan is a beautiful place with no pollution at all. Please maintain the cleanliness.
  3. Bhutanese are among the best people I have come across. Please treat them with respect.
  4. Bhutan is a religious country, please respect the sentiments of the people and maintain the sanctity of the place.
  5. People are helpful and kind, ask for help without any hesitation.
  6. Carry winter clothes if one is travelling in Autumn and Winter.
  7. It’s a trekker’s and photographer’s paradise. Hence carry trekking shoes, track pants and click a lot of pictures. Please ask before clicking pictures of any locals.
  8. While crossing the road, please walk on the zebra crossing. Any moving vehicle will stop/slow down.
  9. Please follow the dress code in immigration office and monasteries.
  10. There will be brokers at the immigration office in Phuntsholing, ask for help if you get confused with the whole process. My hotel people introduced me with a broker who helped me around.
  11. One can fly down to Paro if travelling from Delhi. There was no direct flight from Bangalore to Paro hence the nearest airport for me was Bagdogra.
  12. People flying to Paro need to get their permit done in Paro immigration office.

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Budget per person

Siliguri to Jaigaon -> Rs 120
Cab from Jaigaon to Phuntsholing -> Rs 100 (drop at the hotel)
Broker charge at the immigration office, Phuntsholing -> Rs 150
Food -> Rs 300 – 500

This post is about how to reach Bhutan and how to get the permit to travel in and around Bhutan. In my next posts I’ll cover Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Phobjikha.