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  Bhutan  
     
 

The name ‘Bhutan’ appears to derive from the Sanskrit ‘Bhotant’ meaning ‘the end of Tibet’ or from ‘Bhu-uttan’ meaning ‘high land’. Though known as Bhutan to the outside world, the Bhutanese themselves refer to their country as Druk Yul or the Land of the Thunder Dragon. ‘Druk’ meaning ‘Dragon’ and extending from the predominant Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The documented history of the Kingdom begins with 747 A.D. with Guru Padsambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche who made his legendary trip from Tibet across the mountains flying on a tigress’s back. He arrived in Paro valley at Taktsang Lhakhang also known as Tiger’s Nest. Guru Rinpoche is not only recognized as the founder of the Nyingmapa religious school but also considered to be second Buddha. In the ensuing centuries, many great masters preached the faith resulting in full bloom of Buddhism by the middle ages. Although sectarian at first, the country was eventually unified under Drukpa Kagyupa sect of Mahayana Buddhism by saint/administrator Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century. Ngawang Namgyal codified a comprehensive system of laws and built a chain of Dzongs which guarded each valley during unsettled times and now serving as the religious and administrative centre of the region.

 
     
  Entry Points to Bhutan  
 

There are only two entry points to Bhutan. Most travelers arrive by air at Paro; some arrive by road at Phuntsholing on the southern border with India.

 
     
 

By Air
The easiest way for visitors to enter Bhutan is by air on Druk Air, Bhutan's national carrier and the only airline operating in Bhutan. Druk Air's fleet consists of two British Aerospace jets, BAe 146s, which are specially specially designed for Bhutan.

 
     
 

Flights to Bhutan are available from Bangkok in Thailand, Kathmandu in Nepal, Delhi & Calcutta in India, and Dhaka in Bangladesh several times each week. Latest flight schedules are available on request.

 
     
 

On clear days the flight into Paro offers spectacular views of the Himalayan mountain range, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari, Kula Kangri and many other peaks of the Himalayas. Paro Airport, located in the mountains, is subject to the vagaries of nature, and weather conditions sometimes prevent flight landing and take off. Druk Air itself has an impeccable safety record, without a single mishap since its inception in 1983. We can book your air-seats in and out of Bhutan well in advance, avoiding last-minute rush during the peak tourist seasons of Spring and Autumn.

 
     
 

By Road
Tourists wanting to combine a visit to Bhutan with Sikkim & Darjeeling (or other places in India) can enter Bhutan by surface through the border town of Phuentsoling. This is the only other entry point to Bhutan other than flying into Paro airport. In the reverse order visitors can fly into Bhutan and exit by surface to India through Phuentsoling.

 
     
 

For those travelling to far Eastern Bhutan there is a option to exit out of the country through the border town of Samdrup Dzonkar to Guwahati Airport in Assam of India. Only exiting out of Bhutan is allowed from here not entry. From Guwahati there are flights available to Calcutta and Delhi.

 
     
  PLACES OF INTEREST  
 

Paro
The first thing you will notice as you disembark is the transparent purity of air and the absence of noise. The Paro Valley has kept its bucolic nature in spite of the airport and the existence of development projects. Fields, brown or green depending on the season, cover most of the valley floor, while hamlets and isolated farms dot the countryside. The houses of Paro Valley are considered to be among the most beautiful in the country. Paro is believed to be one of the first valleys to have received the imprint of Buddhism.

 
     
  Places to visit in Paro
● Kyichu Lhakhang [Lhakhang means Temple]
● Taksang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)
● Drugyel Dzong [Dzong means Fortress]
● Dungtse Lhakhang
● Ta Dzong [National Museum]
● Paro Dzong
 
     
 

Thimphu
Thimphu lies in a wooded valley, sprawling up a hillside on the West Bank of the Thimphu Chhu [Chhu means River]. Thimphu is unlike any other world capital. Small and secluded the city is quiet and there are never the traffic jams familiar in other Asian Capitals. It is often said that Thimphu is the only world capital without traffic lights. Thimphu's main shopping street is a delight not so much for what you can buy there, but for the picturesqueness of the architecture and national costume. Beautiful weaves in wool, silk and cotton, basketwork, silver jewelry, thangkas and other traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available in various Handicraft Emporiums.

 
     
  Places to visit in Thimphu  
  ● The Memorial Chorten [Chorten means Stupa]
● Changlimithang [Battle Ground]
● Weekly Market [Saturdays and Sundays]
● Tashichoe Dzong [The biggest fortress in Bhutan]
● National Library
● School of Arts and Crafts
● Royal Academy of Performing Arts
● National Institute of Traditional Medicine
● Zangto Pelri Lhakhang
● Zoo
● Changangkha Lhakhang
● Drubthob Goemba [Nunnery]
● Dechencholing Palace
● Pangri Zampa Temple
● Tango Goemba
● Chari Goemba
● Simthoka Dzong
 
     
 

Punakha
Rinchen build a temple there which can still be seen today opposite to the great Dzong. Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel a key figure in the History of Bhutan built the Punakha Dzong and his body is preserved in one of the Dzongs temples, Machen Lhakhang. The Dzong was damaged six times by fire, once by floods and once by earthquake. The coronation of Ugyen Wangchuk, the first king of Bhutan, took place at Punakha Dzong on 17th December 1907.

 
     
  Places to visit in Punakha  
  ● Punakha Dzong  
     
     
     
 

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