Dooars Tour....................
Hiamalayan Lake at freezing temperature
Terrain Hills .............
kalimpong................
Baranti ............... the unexplored
Toy Train through Darjeeling Himalayan.............
Hiamalayan.................
A fall of 300 mtr straight down in Simlipal Tiger Reserve .......
Jaldapara National park.....................
Himalayan Hills ....................
I - Bhutan

1. Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing is a border town in southern Bhutan, and is the administrative seat (dzongkhag thromde) of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog. Phuentsholing lies opposite the Indian town of Jaigaon, and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy. For example, the town serves as headquarters for the Bank of Bhutan. Approachable only by road, the city is connected to major Indian Railways node, NJP (New Jalpaiguri) being the biggest and major junction. Apart from that, there are also stations at HSA (Hasimara) and NOQ (New Alipurduar)Jn, the former being the most nearest railway station (only 18km from Phuntsholing). From the northern towns of West Bengal, one has to take a bus from any of the local bus terminals to Phuentsholing. Buses are run both by travel Indian and Bhutanese government operators. Once at Phuntsholing, the Lateral Road gives travelers access to the rest of Bhutan. There is a stark contrast in the culture across the border, which is separated by a long wall with a single Bhutanese gate. Locals can sometimes even cross without being asked for papers, but visitors without an Indian passport will need a visa presented by a hired registered tour guide; even one's Indian Voter ID card will suffice within the town of Phuntsholing, but beyond that one needs the above mentioned documents. The gate is manned by Bhutanese Army guards. The terrain inclines soon after the gate. The border clearly separates two very different peoples and cultures. Jaigaon is bustling and loud, similar to many other West Bengal centers of commerce, albeit with many conspicuous Bhutanese shoppers. Phuntsholing is uniquely more urban than other Bhutanese towns, having absorbed the neighboring culture, but distinctly far more quiet and orderly than its neighbor. Simply looking at a satellite photo, Jaigaon is packed with small buildings whereas Phuntsholing is dominated by larger edifices placed in rows. Phuntsholing also hosts Bhutan's housing projects for Bhutanese refugees.

2. Thimphu
Thimphu, also in the past spelled as Thimpu, is the capital and largest city of Bhutan. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and the surrounding valley is one of Bhutan's dzongkhags, the Thimphu District. The city became the capital of Bhutan in 1961. As of 2005 it had a population of 79,185, with 98,676 people living in the entire Thimphu district. The city is spread out longitudinally in a north-south direction on the west bank of the valley formed by the Wang Chuu, also known as the Thimphu Chuu River.Thimphu, as the political and economic center of Bhutan, has a dominant agricultural and livestock base, which contributes to 45% of the country's GNP.[8] Tourism, though a contributor to the economy, is strictly regulated, maintaining a balance between the traditional, development and modernization. Thimphu contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King, located to the north of the city. As a metropolis and capital city, Thimphu is coordinated by the "Thimphu Structure Plan", an Urban Development Plan which evolved in 1998 with the objective of protecting the fragile ecology of the valley. This development is ongoing with financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimphu in respect of literature, religion, customs, and national dress code, the monastic practices of the monasteries, music, dance, literature and in the media. Tsechu festival is an important festival when mask dances, popularly known as Cham dances, are performed in the courtyards of the Tashichhoe Dzong in Thimphu. It is a four-day festival held every year during Autumn (September/October), on dates corresponding to the Bhutanese calendar.
Initially, when Bhutan was opened up for Tourism in 1974, the Government-owned Tourism Corporation was set up in Thimphu to encourage and organise individual and group tours to destinations of cultural importance in Bhutan, concentrating on Buddhism, weaving, birds, nature and trekking, and any special package. This organization was privatised in 1994 and named as Bhutan Tourism Development Corporation. The corporation also owns and manages hotels and tourist lodges at all major tourist centres in Bhutan. It has its own fleet of cars and also interpreters in several international languages to cater to tourists of various denominations.

3. Paro
Paro is a town and seat of Paro District in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. It is home to Paro Airport, Bhutan's only international airport. Rinpung Dzong a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley has a long history. A monastery was first built on the site by Padma Sambhava at the beginning of the tenth century, but it wasn't until 1646 that Ngawang Namgyal built a larger monastery on the old foundations, and for centuries this imposing five storey building served as an effective defence against numerous invasion attempts by the Tibetans. Built with stones instead of clay, the Dzong was named Rinpung, meaning "heaps of jewels" but Rinpung and all its treasures were destroyed by the fire in 1907. Only one thangka, known as Thongdel, was saved. The Paro Dzong was rebuilt by the penlop dawa Penjor after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes. Some date back several centuries; others were contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor in recent times. On the hill above the Dzong stands an ancient watchtower called Ta Dzong which since 1967, has been the National Museum of Bhutan. Across a medieval bridge below the Dzong stands the Ugyenpelri Palace, a royal residence constructed by penlop Tshering Penjor. Along the main street there is a complex of traditional architecture with richly decorated buildings housing small shops, institutions and restaurants. The Dungtse Lhakhang is a 15th century temple situated by the new bridge, and the Ugyen Perli Palace is visible through the fence. Members of royal family lodge in the palace when passing.[3] Nearby is the old bridge by the Rinpung Dzong. Notable hotels include the Olathang Hotel built in an ornate style. 10 km outside Paro is the famous Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) Hermitage on the face of a sheer 1000 m cliff. The place is highly sacred to the Bhutanese in that they believe Guru Rinpoche, the father of Bhutanese Buddhism landed here on the back of tigress.[3] A 16 km road passes up the valley to the ruins of other fortress-monastery Drukyel Dzong, partly destroyed by fire in 1951.

4. Punakha
Punakha is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is about 72 km away from Thimphu and it takes about 3 hours by car from the capital Thimphu. Unlike Thimphu it is quite warm in winter and hot in summer. It is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Dzongkha is widely spoken in this district. Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness) or Punakha Dzong was constructed by Tuebi Zaow Balip under the great command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637 and believed to have been completed in two years of time period. It is also the country's most beautiful Dzong.It is the winter residence of Bhutan's Central Monastic Body led by HH the Je Khenpo. The Dzong houses the most sacred relics of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu school including the Rangjung Kasarpani, and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Padma Lingpa. In 1907, Punakha Dzong was the site of the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first King of Bhutan. Three years later, a treaty was signed at Punankha whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. Due to its location at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in the Punakha-Wangdue valley, the dzong is vulnerable to flash flooding caused by glacier lakes (GLOF). According to a recent report, flash flood damage to Punakha Dzong occurred in 1957, 1960 and 1994. Currently (March 2010) work is in progress to protect the dzong from future flood damage by deepening the river channels and raising the embankments using four large steam shovels. A covered wooden cantilever bridge crossing the Mo Chhu river was built together with the Dzong in the 17th century. This bridge was washed away by a flash flood in 1957 or 1958. In 2006 work started on a new covered wooden cantilever bridge of traditional construction with a free span of 55 meters which was completed in 2008 with the help from the Germans. Punakha valley is famous in Bhutan for rice farming. Both red and white rice are grown along the river valley of Pho and Mo Chu, two of the most prominent rivers in Bhutan. Ritsha (meaning at the base of a hill) is a typical village in Punakha. The village houses are made of pounded mud with stone foundations. Each house is only two storeys high. Surrounding the houses are the gardens and the rice fields. The gardens also usually have fruit bearing plants like oranges and papaya among the organic vegetables. In the recent years, the farming work is mechanized and power-tillers instead of bullocks are used to plough the fields and villagers have become relatively prosperous. This is a model rice growing village in western Bhutan.


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