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Bhutan Thimphu Festival Tour Itinerary


Bhutan Thimphu Festival Tour

 

Join the colorful Thimphu Festival Tour. Visit Bhutan at the time of Thimphu Tsechu the grandest festivals in Bhutan. The Thimphu Festival is a religious festival where masked dances are performed to instruct the onlookers in the ways of Dharma. These are also occasions where Bhutanese people dress in their finest ethnic costumes. During the Thimphu Festival Tour you can witness various religious masked dances performed in the courtyards of the Dzong of the area. Our special festival tours visit Bhutan during the famous and colorful Thimphu Festival.

Day 1: Arrival Paro International Airport.
During the journey to Paro, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane, breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On the arrival at Paro International Airport, The representative, your tour guide and driver will receive you and escort you to the hotel. After a brief rest at the hotel and tea/coffee, drive to the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). This was actually the Watch Tower of Paro Rinpung Dzong. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. Visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress is located on a hill top above the Pachu (Paro River) of Paro Valley. You have to walk about 15 minutes by crossing an ancient wooden bridge built in typical Bhutanese architect. The Dzong houses the District Administration Office and the District Monk Body. It was built in 1645 A.D. Lunch at Hotel. After Lunch Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means Monastery). Kyichu Lhakhang was built in 659 A.D. by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country. It is one of the 108 such temples built by him for spreading Buddhism in this region. Drive to the Paro village town and explore the town. Altitude of Paro is 2260m.

Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Paro – Paro
Drive for 15kms and reach the base of Famous Tiger’s Nest “TAKTSANG” Monastery and hike up which would take Two Hours up and approximately One Hour down. Stop at Taktsang Tea House “Cafeteria” for refreshment of Tea & Coffee. Taktsang is at 2900mts. Hike for another half an hour and you reach the Great and Magnificent Taktsang where you will be greets by the monks who live there and Special Bhutanese Butter Tea will be served with Snacks. Visit the most important monastery were the Guru Rimpoche was flying on a Flamming Tigress from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to here and meditated for Three Months and flourishment of Buddhism in Paro started from 8th Century. Walk down hill and drive to Drugyal Dzong and on the way enjoys the view of the Taktsang Monastery, also known as “Tiger’s Nest temple”. Near the Drugyal Dzong, if the sky is clear we can see the Mt. Chomolhari on the background.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
Thimphu is the Capital City of Bhutan but for the Buddhist Monk body moves to Punakha in winter and their Summer Capital District is Thimphu but Winter s Punakha because it is cold in Thimphu during winter and Punakha is just perfect at 1300mts

Day 3: Paro – Thimphu

 

The drive to Thimphu will take roughly Two Hours. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan since from 1974. Punakha used to the capital city of Bhutan before that.
For the first one hour you will follow the Pa-Chu (Paro River) and reach Chuzom where the Thimphu River meets the Paro River and forms Wang-Chu (Chu means Water, River or Stream). Chuzom is a four direction motor road junction where one road leads to Thimphu, one to Phuentsholing the border town to India, one to Haa valley and one where you drove from Paro. It will take another One hour from here to Capital city, Thimphu. Check in the Hotel and after short rest visit National Memorial Stupa, built in 1874 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the father of Modern Bhutan, the Late His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan. The Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the Father of Modern Bhutan, The Third King of Bhutan. This Tibetan & Bhutanese Architecture mixed Stupa has got three different sects of Buddhism such as Gongdu on the Top floor, Drukpa Kagyud on Middle with Second Buddha figure facing the Sun Rise and on the Ground Floor it is the Phurba.

Day 4: Thimphu – Thimphu

 

Full Day Thimphu Festival

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Day 5: Thimphu – Thimphu
Full Day Thimphu Festival

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Day 6: Thimphu – Thimphu
A.M Thimphu Festival, Lunch in Town, after lunch drive to BBS Tower to get the magnificent picture and view of Thimphu and you can also see our Queens Palaces. Visit to Thimphu Mini Zoo where you can see our National Animal “TAKIN” which has a head of a goat and body of a cow, believed to be made by great Devine Madman in the 16th Century. Visit national Library, School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts, National institute of Traditional Medicines.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 7: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast drive to Winter Capital for the Monastic Body, Punakha at 1300m.
One hour drive reach you to Dochula Pass at 3150mts where you can see and enjoy the Eastern Himalayas in a Panoramic View and best picture time for group of Bhutanese Style of Stupas, as there are 108 Stupas built by Her Majesty for the well being of the Nation and Love Live His Majesty. It descends to Punakha and Wangdue at 1300mts which will take another two hours. Visit Historic and one of the most beautiful Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Great Zhabdrung Rimpoche who unified Bhutan in 17th Century.

Overnight: Hotel in Punakha


Day 8: Punakha – Punakha

After breakfast walk to the famous Devine Madman’s Monastery The Chhimi Lhakhang “No Dog Monastery” built in 1499. Today it is very popular because couples who are married for so many years and don’t have childrens but always desired go there and get blessed from the wodden Phallus and in another Nine months the wife gets pregnant. We will visit the monastery and meditate and picnic lunch will be served outside the monastery in a lush green ground. After Lunch drive to Punakha and visit the beautiful and legendary Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen mother of our Crown Prince.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Day 9: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro. Stop in Thimphu for lunch. After lunch further drive to Paro
Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Day 10: Depart Bhutan
After breakfast drive to Paro International Airport to board.

Thank You very much for visiting Bhutan with us and we look forward in hearing and re-organizing same Pilgrimage Tour for you, your family members and Friends!!!

 

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Bhutan Honeymoon Tour Itinerary for 14 Days


Private Bhutan Honeymoon 14days

Day 1: Arrival Paro International Airport.

During the journey to Paro, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane, breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On the arrival at Paro International Airport, The representative of Bhutan Historic Tour, your tour guide will receive you and escort you to the hotel. After brief rest, tea/coffee drives to the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). This was actually the Watch Tower of Paro Rinpung Dzong. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. Visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress is located on a hill top above the Pachu (Paro River) of Paro Valley. You have to walk about 15 minutes by crossing an ancient wooden bridge built in typical Bhutanese architect. The Dzong houses the District Administration Office and the District Monk Body. It was built in 1645 A.D.

Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 2: Paro – Paro.

Drive for 15kms and reach the base of Famous Tiger’s Nest “TAKTSANG” Monastery and hike up which would take Two Hours up and approximately One Hour down. Stop at Taktsang Tea House “Cafeteria” for refreshment of Tea & Coffee and on your return back from monastery you will have your Lunch here.

Taktsang is at 2900mts. Hike for another half an hour and you reach the Great and Magnificent Taktsang where you will be greets by the monks who live there and Special Bhutanese Butter Tea will be served with Snacks.

Visit the most important monastery were the Guru Rimpoche was flying on a Flamming Tigress from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to here and meditated for Three Months and flourishment of Buddhism in Paro started from 8th Century.

Walk down to the Tea House for Vegetarian Lunch.

After Lunch walk down hill and drive to Drugyal Dzong and on the way enjoys the view of the Taktsang Monastery, also known as “Tiger’s Nest temple”. Near the Drugyal Dzong, if the sky is clear we can see the Mt. Chomolhari on the background. Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means Monastery). Kyichu Lhakhang was built in 659 A.D. by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country. It is one of the 108 such temples built by him for spreading Buddhism in this region. Drive to the Paro village town and explore the town. Altitude of Paro is 2260m.

Overnight: Hotel in Paro.

 

Thimphu is the Capital City of Bhutan but for the Buddhist Monk body moves to Punakha in Winter and their Summer Capital District is Thimphu but Winter s Punakha because it is cold in Thimphu during winter and Punakha is just perfect at 1300mts

 

Day 3: Paro – Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu will take roughly Two Hours. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan since from 1974. Punakha used to the capital city of Bhutan before that.

For the first one hour you will follow the Pa-Chu (Paro River) and reach Chuzom where the Thimphu River meets the Paro River and forms Wang-Chu (Chu means Water, River or Stream). Chuzom is a four direction motor road junction where one road leads to Thimphu, one to Phuentsholing the border town to India, one to Haa valley and one where you drove from Paro. It will take another One hour from here to Capital city, Thimphu. Check in the Hotel. After a brief rest tea/coffee drive to National Memorial Stupa, built in 1874 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the father of Modern Bhutan, the Late His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan. Visit the Post Office with Money exchange as the bank is next door. BBS Tower to get the magnificent picture and view of Thimphu and you can also see our Queens Palaces.

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

 

Day 4: Thimphu – Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu Mini Zoo where you can see our National Animal “TAKIN” which has a head of a goat and body of a cow, believed to be made by great Devine Madman in the 16th Century.  Visit to Thimphu Tashi Cho Dzong, the office of the King and the Throne Room and also the Summer Capital of Monastic Body lead by His Holiness the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) who spend six months here during summer and move to Punakha for winter for another six months.

Visit national Library, School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts, National institute of Traditional Medicines. Visit the Simtokha Dzong (Dzong means Fortress). Simtokha Dzong is one of the oldest Dzongs in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D. by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel the founder of Bhutan, and was the first Dzong to be built by him.

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

 

Day 5: Thimphu – Punakha 142kms 5Hours

After breakfast drive to Winter Capital for the Monastic Body, Punakha at 1300m.

One hour drive reach you to Dochula Pass at 3150mts where you can see and enjoy the Eastern Himalayas in a Panoramic View and best picture time for group of Bhutanese Style of Stupas, as there are 108 Stupas built by Her Majesty for the well being of the Nation and Love Live His Majesty. It descends to Punakha and Wangdue at 1300mts which will take another two hours. The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female river “. It is one of the most important Dzongs in Bhutan and now houses the District Administration office of the Punakha district and the winter residence of the Monk Body and its Chief Abbot. It was built in 1637 A.D.

Overnight: Hotel in Punakha

Day 6: Punakha – Trongsa

After an early breakfast, drive to Trongsa (142kms). The journey takes about 6 hrs with lunch stop on the way. After crossing Pelela at 3340 mts. Decend down to Rukhubji and then to Chendibji where your lunch will be served and circumambulate the Nepalese Style Stupa built in 15th Century.

Overnight: Hotel in Trongsa

Day 7: Trongsa – Bumthang

Morning visits the Trongsa Dzong and the Watch Tower.The Trongsa Dzong was the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. It is also the district administration office of the Trongsa district. It was built in 1648 A.D. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular, and for miles on end the Dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing on to the mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many kilometers and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Furthermore, the Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveler came from, he was obliged to pass by the Dzong. This helped to augment its importance as it thus had complete control over all east-west traffic. The Ta-Dzong, an ancient Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong is located on top of a steep hill about 1 km beyond the Trongsa Dzong. The watch tower displays many interesting armors used by the Bhutanese soldiers during the olden days. Lunch at the hotel and leave for Bumthang. The Journey takes about 3 hrs (68kms.) and is over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan. Check in at the Guest house. (Bumthang has only guest houses but they are very comfortable with good facilities.)

Day 8: Bumthang –Bumthang

Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm and the Member Tso” The flaming Lake” which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots.
Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

Day 9: Bumthang – Bumthang

Day excursion to remote and beautiful Ura Valley. Picnic lunch will be served.
Overnight hotel in Bumthang

Day 10: Bumthang – Gangtey

After an early breakfast, drive to Gangtey. 174kms from Bumthang. Overnight in Gangtey. Gangtey is a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in the country. During winters, we can also see the famous Black Necked Cranes there. Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey

Day 11: Gangtey – Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu (1250kms.) Lunch at Dochula Pass 3150m.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 12: Thimphu – Thimphu

After breakfast hike to Tango and Cheri
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 13: Thimphu – Paro

After breakfast drive to Paro. Check in Hotel and excursions to Chelela pass.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 14: Drive to Airport Depart Bhutan

Early morning drive to border gate and exit Bhutan for onward destination.

Wishing you safe journey and thanks for visiting Bhutan with us

 

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Bhutan’s first news report on GNH: John Elliot


John Elliot

John Elliot is one of three foreign journalists to have interviewed the fourth Druk Gyalpo. The interview, which took place in 1987, resulted in an article that is believed to be the first news report on GNH. John was recently in the country for the Mountain Echoes literary festival. Currently, he is the India contributor for Fortune magazine.

As a journalist, you’ve had the rare privilege of interviewing the fourth Druk Gyalpo. What did you talk about?
I didn’t realise until I came back to Bhutan a few days ago for the first time since 1987, that the interview that I had was so unusual. I knew at the time that I had a scoop. I knew that I had a very rare privilege of an interview as a foreign correspondent based in Delhi with the fourth King. But I didn’t realise at the time how few interviews His Majesty had given during his reign. And GNH was the story to be talked about then.

His Majesty’s concerns were about tourism. That was the big issue then, just like the issue now might be the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and TV programs changing the culture of Bhutan. The issue then was tourism because you had just started letting tourists in and the Tiger’s nest had just been closed because of too many people going there. And the tops of the mountains had just been closed because of people thinking that their traditions were being spoilt. There had been a lot of theft, I believe, of various treasures.

And GNH, it was pegged, as I mentioned in the article, mostly to Nepal. Bhutan didn’t want to become like Nepal. Now remember, Nepal at that time had a stable monarchy. It was simply in reference to the way Nepal had opened its doors to tourism, backpackers, and all the other problems that come with it.

His Majesty was thinking about how to look after this great inheritance that he had received. How to steer Bhutan into the modern world, while at the same time maintaining traditions. The same issue that is an issue now, but then, I felt when I sat with him that I was listening to a young man, who was really puzzled, or maybe he wasn’t puzzled, but he was thinking his way into the problem, of how to manage the conflicting pressures of inevitably having to open up but at the same time, being determined to keep the country with its traditions as much as possible.

How were you able to set up the interview? Anything specific you were looking for?
I met your foreign minister at a SAARC conference at Bangalore, and I said that I was a Financial Times correspondent in New Delhi, and that I would like to come to Bhutan, and write about development and life in Bhutan. I mentioned that I would like to, if possible, interview the king, as well other senior ministers and officials. I brought my family because it was a rare chance. So I brought my wife and two sons, we took them out of school because they may never get the chance again.

So we came and the foreign minister was very helpful. And Kinley Dorji had just launched Kuensel. He was helpful and I learnt as I went. Like a reporter, I don’t think I had any books to read at the time on Bhutan. I may have had a world bank report or something like that but I think I came in, which is often as a reporter the best way to do something, is just to come in and follow the story and see what you find.

You found GNH. Will it work?
The instinctive view of an outsider has to be that there’s little chance because of all the outside pressures. The pressures of the young, the youth, who haven’t got the traditions, who in their teens have not been brought up in the traditions, even guys in their late 20s or 30s, who haven’t got their base. On top of that, the pressures of democracy and political parties, that will need to be more policy oriented and different and have to prove themselves every five years. The pressures of growing consumerism and wealth. The growing pressures of business, and business is not totally honest in any country, not many anyway. With all these pressures how could you possibly, the instinctive reaction of the outsider, think that it could last.

On the other hand, I keep on hearing stories as I’ve heard from your prime minister and other people about how the young are interested in traditions. How there is a strong base and despite all the things that I’ve just said, and all I’ve said is what I’ve heard from other people, there is a strong enough belief in Bhutan for the thing to survive.

Since your last visit what changes have you noticed?
Thimphu – I didn’t recognise. The only place I recognised in Thimphu was when I stood outside the Taj hotel and looked up the hill and thought, “Ah that’s where I stayed, in that hotel.” I couldn’t remember the name of it, so I asked Kinley Dorji and he said, “That’s my office, it’s the ministry of information and that used to be the Bhutan hotel.”

The way the buildings are spreading along the hillsides, along the valley, is in a way awful because it’s a sign of what’s happened to the hill stations in India. I think the thing that I’ve been struck by is this great debate of what you do to this place to keep it as it is, and will the young generation who may be rebelling against it now, and wanting all the benefits of the consumer society, be converted, as they get older to the benefits of Bhutan. I think that’s the main issue. What strikes me is the westernisation, the consumerism, but alongside that, this continuing debate. And it’s fantastic to have a country, which is debating this. I’ve lived in India for many years and there, things are just allowed to happen. There’s no planning, as one has seen with all sorts of things, it all just happens. But here, you’re trying to plan, here you are really thinking of the future, there is a debate, I sense everyone’s involved.

Your impressions of the fourth Druk Gyalpo in 1987?
A very quiet, thoughtful man. I walked into the room in the palace, and it was quite dark, big windows, and I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t see where he was, and I turned around and there he was standing in a window, and I said, “Oh, there you are”, which I guess is not the way to address His Majesty when you first meet him. Then I sat down with him and he was informal, discursive, interested and concerned. I need to go back to my notebook, now I’ve realised how important that interview is in the history of Bhutan…

Source:kuenselonline

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Bhutan

 

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Bhutan royal wedding in October will have befitting celebrations


The royal wedding in October will have befitting celebrations for the occasion, although not extravagant or overly grand, according to works and human settlement minister, Yeshey Zimba.

This, the minister announced yesterday, during the meet-the-press meeting in Thimphu. His Majesty the King on May 23, at the opening session of the parliament, announced that he would wed Jetsun Pema, and emphasised that the wedding would happen in a simple traditional ceremony.

“This is a very historic occasion and all the people in the country would like to join the celebrations,” said Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba. “His Majesty wants it simple, but the people will be disappointed, as they have awaited it for so long. It must be something that the people of Bhutan would be happy with.”

The minister, wearing an excited look as he shared the plans, said that everyone, from the people in the villages to the prime minister, would have their own roles. “From the prime minister downward, everyone would be assuming a full responsibility for the arrangements,” he said.

The prime minister is personally coordinating the celebrations. The cabinet had already met once for planning and distributing the roles. The prime minister is meeting the secretaries of the ministries today to give directions as to how things have to be done, said Lyonpo.

The home ministry and the zhung dratshang, as expected, were handed the responsibility of arranging the traditional and cultural arrangements.

The home and culture affairs minister, Minjur Dorji, said the celebration was always on his mind. “It’s a very important aspect of our culture,” he said. “We should maintain the tradition and culture. So the events are also being planned, keeping in mind, how best the people could participate in the celebrations.”

The centenary and coronation celebrations, two significant events in the past three years, economic affairs minister, Khandu Wangchuk said, were grand, as people from all walks of life joined and rejoiced the occasions, but it was not expensive.

“There is no celebration in the country without the schools and children involved,” education minister Thakur Singh Powdyel said. He said that the schools would be celebrating in a befitting way.

Source: Kuenselonline

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Bhutan, Kings of Bhutan, News

 

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Traditional cultural aspects of Bhutan


By the last session, the audience had thinned significantly. Only a few seats remained occupied.

Despite the poor attendance, the last two speakers of the Mountain Echoes literary festival got their small audience singing and clapping along to some traditional Bhutanese songs.

Kencho Lham, a farmer from Paro, and Chang Dorji, a local author, ended their session on oral traditions, with a plea to the youth to appreciate traditional cultural aspects of Bhutan and continue its practices. They expressed the worry that Bhutanese youth are today more appreciative of foreign cultures. Perhaps, reflecting their concern, only a few young Bhutanese were seated in the audience, almost all of them media personnel.

The last day of the literary festival also saw a lively exchange of opinions between eminent Indian literalist Shobhaa De, Lily Wangchuk, the executive director of the Bhutan Media Foundation, and the Indian ambassador to Bhutan, Pavan Varma. They were speaking on empowerment and representation of women in decision-making positions.

Lily Wangchuk said that, while the position of women in Bhutan is better, when compared to other countries in the region, there are still wide gender gaps. “Till now we’ve never had a single woman minister, we’ve never had a single woman dzongda, we’ve never a single female ambassador, at the grassroots level, the representation of woman is 0.5 percent against 99.5 male.”

She attributed the wide gender gaps to social, cultural, and religious barriers. She said, as a GNH country, all policies should be looked at with a “gender lens” rather than a gender neutral approach. “It’s very crucial for us to have more women in governance.”

Shobhaa De said that, based on her experience, creating such filters or ‘gender lens’ instead created barriers. “Any kind of quota system eventually backfires, any policy based on a bias, in the case of women of course, the counter argument is we require that leg up, but at what cost?”

She said she preferred gender become a non-issue and that only merit is taken into account. “If we’re going to get women in parliament, who are actually going to be contributing, I’d rather have someone who’s in parliament representing not just women but men,” she said, “and doing so, because that person deserves to be there, not because that person happens to be born a woman.

Ambassador Pavan Varma disagreed with Shobhaa De. He said that saying that affirmative action or the quota system means an absence of merit is a “false assumption”. He added, “The fact that there was reservation and affirmative action for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, who for 2000 years had suffered kinds of oppression, which has not been seen by most societies in the world, has helped in their empowerment.” He pointed out that in the first constituent assembly the two groups had only 4 percent representation. As a result of affirmative action, he said the groups had more seats than they had reserved for them today.

“Affirmative action has given India Mayawati,” said Shobhaa De, referring to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. She added, “That’s one of the offshoots of the reservation system we have.” Mayawati, a product of the Indian reservation system, faces allegations of using her status to amass personal wealth. Lily Wangchuk said that, in Bhutan, situations, where financially challenged families keep their daughters at home to work, rather than educating them still occurred.

The literary festival also presented the opportunity for book launches by local authors. Kunzang Choden, the author of Folk tales of Bhutan, launched two story books for children: Aunty Mouse and Room in your Heart. Gopilal Acharya launched a collection of poems, Dancing to Death.

Source: Kuenselonline

 
 

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Dried red chilies are a must have ingredient in many Bhutanese dishes


Red Dried Chili must for Bhutanese dishes

The sun dried red chilies are a must have ingredient in many Bhutanese dishes but with their price soaring through the roof of the centenary farmers market, it may have to saved only for rare and special occasions.

A kilogram of red chilies costs Nu.800 to Nu.1000.

Karma Wangmo, a customer, came all the way from Soe Naro in Paro to buy red chilies at the centenary farmers market. She went home without buying a single kilogram. It is simply beyond her meager means.

“There is a huge difference between last year and this year. Last year, a kilogram cost Nu.400. Now it is double,” she said.

Yeshey Namgay, a teacher, cannot do without chilies. “For the Bhutanese, chili is a must. The price has increased but we have no choice,” he said.

Aum Singey Bidha has been selling chilies at the Centennial Farmer’s Market in Thimphu for almost 11 years now. She has never seen the price of dried chilies rise so high.

“The chili yield was poor. I bought at Nu.700 from the wholesale dealer and sell for Nu.800.”

With the Monsoon around the corner, farmers in chili growing areas are already preparing their fields for chili cultivation. The harvest will be dried and sold next year. One can only pray that this year, the rains will come on time and the harvest will be bountiful.

Source: BBS

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Bhutan, News

 

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Bhutan: Teachers, educationists share their view on religious objects


At a recent education seminar, some principals and teachers said they had placed choshams or altars, and portraits of religious figures, in their classrooms as part of the ‘education for GNH’ program.

A teacher at the seminar raised concerns on the possible implications of including religion in the classroom, especially when it composed of students with different religious backgrounds.

The teacher who raised the concern, Tobgay of Daga HSS, said, “instead of creating a conducive learning environment, it would rather create commotion in the classrooms”.

The practice of installing religious objects and the practice of religion led by teachers in their classrooms, is taking place in some Bhutanese schools.

Teachers of a Paro School where at least one classroom, a grade V, had placed a Buddhist altar and posted religious portraits were divided on the practice.

Two of these teachers agreed that religious objects, such as altars, are useful in introducing students to “values”, but they disagreed on whether all religions should be allowed in the classroom.

One grade V teacher allowed objects of any religion to be placed in the classroom. She said this allowed students to develop a respect and tolerance for other religions. She pointed out that if such mutual respect of religions is not allowed to develop in the classroom, then “biases”, maybe created outside the classroom. But she said that an altar and religious objects was only installed if everyone in the class agreed.

A grade I teacher said she would only allow Buddhist objects in her classroom based on the Constitution of the country. Article 3 of the constitution declares Buddhism as the spiritual heritage of Bhutan.

She said the chosham is used to teach her students “simple” aspects of Buddhism adding that students belonging to another religion had the right to not take part during such sessions.

A third teacher pointed out that the placing of religious objects in classrooms should be limited to only a brief period. He said that religious objects could be placed in a classroom when the teacher is teaching about the religion, but not for practice of the religion.

While such practices are not part of the ‘educating for GNH’ program, they are being followed as part of it. “We’ve never said that you should bring the chosham in the classroom,” the coordinator of the GNH program, Phuntsho Lhamo, said.

While the program does encourage the use of “mind-training”, she said, it’s not necessary to have the altar or statue in front of you, that must be the teacher’s initiative.” She added that there is a “misconception, they have still not properly understood.”

Teachers have not “properly understood” the GNH program because most of them have received little or no training for the program. Phuntsho Lhamo said that school principals had received training. The principals were supposed to train the teachers.

While a guidebook on the GNH program does exist, it mostly concerns the principles of the program. As a result, most teachers are responsible for coming up with their own ideas. These ideas are not screened by the education ministry, before implementation.

Phuntsho Lhamo pointed out that efforts are underway to train teachers. A train the trainer program took place in January. “Gradually there will be more clarifications filtering through, it is not the fault of the teachers,” she said.

When asked on the role of the class teacher the education minister, Thakur S Powdyel, said, “While we want our children’s lives to be spiritually fulfilling, we do not impart religious education in the formal school curriculum. As a deeply inward-looking country, home to some of the oldest spiritual traditions of the world, we have a well-established religious order nurtured over many centuries by highly enlightened and accomplished figures.”

Lyonpo added, “Our schools should, therefore, focus their heart and mind to achieving excellence in the many dimensions of life that equip our children with the minimum qualities of usefulness and gracefulness that all educated people are expected to have.” He said, “Our schools are not equipped well enough with the necessary sensitivity and appreciation to handle complex issues of religion that are best left to the right institutions to do justice.”

Religion should not be in the classroom, rather classrooms should be spiritual the Paro College of education dean, Dr Dorji Thinley, said. He added that GNH classrooms should be environments where compassion is pervasive, and multiculturalism and different languages are respected without the need for religion.

Source: Kuenselonline

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Bhutan

 

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