After our 6 day trek in the mountains we drove to Thimpu, which is the capital of the country and by far the largest (or only) city of Buthan. Traditional houses are increasingly being replaced by apartment buildings but the small village feeling still reigns in the streets with children playing on the roads and food carts parked on every corner. We visited Thimpu during (another) special Buddhist festival, so there were monks literally everywhere which gave the city and extra dose of charm.
We started our visit of the city with the Buddha Dordenma, a magnificent golden Buddha statue of 50 meters high built on a little hilltop soaring above the roofs of Thimpu. We were surrounded by a sea of praying people and monks, with buddhistic chants flowing out of the microphones – an incredible experience.
We also visited the Thimpu Dzong, which like in Paro used to be a fortress to protect the district of Thimpu against Tibetan invasions. It’s a vast and magnificent building, which hosts among others the offices of the King! A large number of Buddhist monks live inside this Dzong, dedicating their lives to prayers and worshiping. They were as curious about us as we were about them 🙂
On our last day we were lucky enough to attend the ‘Tsechu’ festival where we could observe traditional dances sitting close to the King, the Queen and the little prince of Bhutan! The Queen is dubbed as the ‘Kate Middleton’ of the Himalayas because of her striking beauty – which is definitely not exaggerated :-). We watched monks performing dramatic dances mimicking deities with elaborate masks and decorated robes, accompanied by live Buddhist music and singers, what a show!