Dragon Tales-Paro and free history lessons

My  travel agent Singey stays in Paro and I decided to go there in his car. This would be   a good way to get to know this country and its people.Singey had done his high school and college from Kolkata and he is immensely proud of his home land.Over the next few days he and his family  took me around and  they  won me over with their hospitality and warmth.

Paro is 175 km from Phuntsholing and it is a  pleasant  5 hour drive through well maintained  winding roads   with majestic mountains , lush green valleys and sparkling  free flowing rivers.  The weather was perfect with clear blue skies and cool winds.There  was not much traffic and  over here people  seemed to be in no hurry.Bhutan is a  carbon sink( a fact most seem to know) and about 72 % of the land is forested.

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Paro Chhu

 

Singey  patiently tried to  answer my queries .  It was  more interesting to learn from a local  and I was glad that I opted out of having  a registered tour guide. Hydropower  projects  and tourism are the main  revenue earners and more than three fourth  of the electricity  generated is exported to India.So India is an important  regional ally.Most of the roads are built and maintained by  the Indian BRO(Border Road Organisation).Till 1960 there were no schools,hospitals,proper roads,currency or electricity.Tourism was introduced only in 1974.High value low volume tourism is their mantra.

The population is  about 780000. Education upto  highschool  and health care  are free.The medium is English and Dzongkha. Depending on the  high schoolgrades the college education is also supported by the government.Many go to India ,USA,UK and Thailand for higher studies.Singey told me that most of them prefer to come back after completing their education.But unemployment is an issue.

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Prayer flags and stupas are regular sights.After crossing this bridge at the confluence of Wang Chhu and Paro Chuu(chhu is river)  we are in the Paro valley. Soon the airport came into view.This is the only international airport and was opened in 1983 and is considered  to be one of the most  challenging.It would have been thrilling to come by air but now I can just look at the tiny airport and admire.

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Paro Airport

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Look like toy planes

I checked into Hotel Drukchen   near the airport.All the buildings in Bhutan are required to have  traditional Bhutanse designs  and this was a fine example.

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Hotel Drukchen

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Room with a view

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Dragon Tales-Paro and free history lessons

  1. There is nothing like learning about a place and it’s history from the locals, right?

    Bhutan has been there in my must explore places list for long time and I am still waiting 🙂

    As you rightly mentioned, Indo-Bhutan ties are time tested and very cordial, even some of my relatives worked in Bhutan for some of the hydro electric projects…

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with you.Locals can teach you more and I dont mind not knowing all the dates and the complicated history.How did your relatives find Bhutan?I felt Bhutanese people have genuine regards for us .

      Liked by 1 person

      • They stayed there for years and I have a good collection of stamps from Bhutan 🙂

        They have only good things to tell about this magnificent land and it’s people …

        I have been hearing those stories from my childhood and it has become an obsession for me 🙂 No wonder I was drawn to your incredible series here 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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