Dr B. B. Das
Bhutan, a small and very beautiful country on our northern border has been recognised as the land of happiness. In today’s materialistic world when everyone is longing for peace and happiness, it is inspiring to know how Bhutanese have been able to live so happily.
On 07 Nov 2019, in a small group of 13 couples, we visited Bhutan for 06 days. Around 12:45 am, we landed at Paro international airport, the most difficult air corridor for manoeuvring aircrafts during landing and take-off. Therefore very few pilots are qualified to operate on that airfield.
After getting down from the aircraft, we were thrilled to inhale fresh air under the blue sky of Bhutan. We were highly enthralled to see Paro airport decorated with colourful art work, paintings and display of models, depicting their architectural marvel.
From highly polluted atmosphere of Delhi, to absolutely clean air in Bhutan was an incredible change for us.
Outside the airport the guide Tashi was waiting enthusiastically to receive us. While interacting with people at the airport, we could sense the overall behaviour of Bhutanese, highly imposing and pleasant.
Our journey started in a bus. It was very impressive to see the way Bhutanese respect the law of the land. No one can stand in a running bus. The country has no traffic lights, yet vehicles run smoothly on the road without overtaking or honking. Pedestrians can only cross the road at zebra crossings. Even for one person, the vehicles are to stop and allow the person to cross the road. Their sense of discipline was clearly visible everywhere.
On the way we enjoyed the scenic views of the mountain ranges of the Himalaya. Throughout the journey the guide was giving running commentary about his country as well as the landmarks coming on both sides of the road. We travelled a distance more than 50 km to reach our hotel Gakyil at Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, a beautiful city situated at an altitude of 2334m.
The hospitality of hotel staff was amazing. They made our stay extremely comfortable. In next two days, we visited number of monuments such as King’s Memorial Chorten, Tashichoe Dzong, Buddha Point, National Library, Folk Heritage Museum, and Changangkha Monastery.
Everywhere we were admiring their unique building design, colour scheme, display of fine arts on wooden doors, windows, pillars, ceiling and pelmets.
It was fascinating to look at cluster of houses built on top of the hills and in valleys, from Sangaygang view point situated at an altitude of 2685m. The multi-coloured houses surrounded by lush green trees on the back drop of mountains, were like master strokes of famous painters.
Thereafter we travelled to Punakha valley, 77km from Thimpu and at an altitude of 1242m. On the way we reached Dochu – la – pass at an altitude of 3100m to behold the beautiful Himalaya range of mountains covered with white veil of snow. It was a wonderful experience for us to witness the magnificent panoramic view of snow covered Himalaya. We then visited the longest suspension bridge and Punakha dzong the most beautiful dzong amongst all dzongs in Bhutan. Dzong
architecture is a distinctive type of fortress in Bhutan.
At Punakha, we stayed in a beautiful resort, Damchen on the bank of Puna-Chhu, the ever flowing river with crystal clear water. People of Bhutan pay highest respect to rivers and therefore they have been able to maintain river waters very neat and clean. However, the industrialisation is causing threat to river waters. Even then, all five major rivers of Bhutan are maintained very clean throughout their flow.
Next day we travelled back to Paro a distance of 125km. This was the last leg of our trip. Here we visited Paro Dzong, Kyichu Lakgang, and Tiger’s Nest View point.
We had a wonderful exposer during our short stay in that colourful and happy country. But all the time we were trying to fathom out the hidden secret of Bhutanese happiness.
The people of Bhutan follow the path of nonviolence and peace, preached by Gautama Buddha. They believe that desires are the main cause of unhappiness. Hence rise in desires, upsurge unhappiness in life. They, therefore, lead a very simple life to instil inner happiness.
People are religious, peace loving and value oriented. Even being a Buddhist country, people from different religions live together in peace and harmony without harming national pride.
The life style of Bhutanese has been aligned with the nature so as to realise the gift of God. The environment of the whole country is maintained exceedingly neat, clean and pollution free, which ultimately makes the country so beautiful and attractive.
They hardly get involved in argument, quarrel, fight and criticism. The country has very low crime rate due to strong and honest legal system and peoples’ respect for the guidelines to be followed. Men and women, boys and girls proudly wear national dress during working hours. Education and healthcare are free for all. However, everyone has to work to earn his/her living and to maintain their life style. They marry early by selecting their life partners and lead a blissful married life. Having strong social moral code and respect for humanity, people are friendly, highly contented and lead a stress free life.
The country has a dedicated ministry of happiness to ensure everyone is happy and comfortable. The government instead of trying for GNP is concerned for achieving GNH (gross national happiness). People are motivated to have deep love for each other and their motherland. So the focus is for all-out respect for human relation and their welfare.
What is the purpose of our ambition for developments, if at the end, we are unable to achieve real happiness? We can only achieve happiness and peace by creating a world embedded with love, affection, sacrifice and mutual understanding and compassion.
We can learn from Bhutanese how to achieve peace and harmony in life to live happily.