Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bhutan | Hotels - Some Recommendations

Tenzinling Resort at dusk
On a recent visit to Bhutan I stayed at some very nice boutique properties in Paro, Thimpu and Punakha. I am reviewing these hotels below as this would be useful for visitors to Bhutan.

Tenzinling Resort, Paro
Located about six km away from Paro town up on a hill the Tenzinling is a stylish resort with large spotless rooms, wooden flooring and modern bathrooms. Most of the rooms have a small balcony as a sit-out with views overlooking the valley. Breakfast is usually included in the tariff and is a fairly extensive buffet. There is a bar as well. During our visit the wifi was working only in the reception and lobby areas but not in the rooms. However, this is likely to be resolved soon. Recommended.
Tariff - Nu 4000 with breakfast plus taxes  for a double room Tel: +975 8 272503 www.tenzinling.com
Tenzinling Resort
Kisa Villa Thimpu
This is one of the finest small boutique hotels that I have stayed in. Having only fifteen rooms in two small buildings, it has a lovely small garden overlooking the Thimpu Dzong which when lit up at night presents a fairly tale view. The double rooms are large some with a small kitchen unit with refrigerator and microwave, toaster, and electric kettle. The bathrooms are large and perfectly well equipped. Wifi works perfectly both in the lobby area and in the rooms. The small restaurant has a surprisingly well equipped menu with excellent Chinese food. Highly recommended.
Tariff - Nu 5,500 including breakfast for a double room plus taxes. +975 2 338811/22 and +975 17115580. kisavilla01@gmail.com

Lobby Kisa Villa


View of Thimpu Dzong from Kisa Villa garden
Meri Puensum  Punakha
This hotel set up in 1999 is one of the oldest establishments in Punakha. Situated above the river about 6 km from the Punakha Dzong it has rooms in cottages located on the hillside. Punakha has a semi tropical climate with an altitude of only 1275 metres so the garden has tropical bougainvillea, hibiscus, poinsettia and other tropical plants. The rooms have fans and the bathrooms though small are equipped with bathtubs.
Nu 4,000 plus taxes without breakfast; www.meripuensum.com.bt ; Tel: +975 2 584195.

The main building of Meri Puensum 

The rooms are in separate units around the main building 

Terraced paddy fields near Punakha
 Hotel Olathang, Paro
This is one of the oldest hotels in Paro built in 1974 to accommodate guests at the time of the coronation of the 4th King. It is built in a grand dzong style with corridors and rooms around a central courtyard. There are also separate cottages on the expansive grounds for families and couples. The rooms are well appointed and have definitely been refurbished - the downside is that the rooms in the main hotel tend to be a little dark which is accentuated by the dark colours used on the walls and the ceilings.
Tariff: Nu 4,500  to 6,000 per night depending on the rooms/cottages plus taxes; hotelolathang@gmail.com; Tel: +975 8 271304/271305 www.bhutanhotels.com.bt
Olathang garden 
For more photographs from Bhutan please do visit
http://sujoyrdas.blogspot.in/2017/10/bhutan-photographs-from-land-of.html

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bhutan | Photographs from the Land of Happiness

Prayer wheels at Chimi Lakhang near Punakha
I was recently in Bhutan for a week doing some planning and reconnaisance for a South Col trek in the spring of 2018. I travelled in the valleys of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha. Here are some photographs from this beautiful country.

Taktshang  Tigers Nest Monastery

Prayer wheels made out of bottles Tigers Nest in the background

Close up of a prayer wheel

Students working on wood carving at the Zoric Chisum Institute Thimpu

Punakha Dzong in the late afternoon

Doorway at Punakha Dzong

Chortens at the Dochu La pass

A woman leaves the butter lamp room at the Changangkha Lakhang in Thimpu

Dechen Phodrang interior Thimpu

Entrance to a restaurant Paro

Paro valley in the autumn with paddy ready for harvesting

Drying red chillies in a Paro street

Paro Dzong and the National Museum (on top) at night

Bonde Lakhang outside Paro

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Moods of Tso Moriri



Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri (Tibetanལྷ་མོའི་བླ་མཚོWylielha mo bla mtsho) or "Mountain Lake", is a lake in the Ladakhi part of the Changthang Plateau (literally: northern plains) in Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. The lake and surrounding area are protected as the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.
The lake is at an altitude of 4,522 m (14,836 ft). It is the largest of the high altitude lakes entirely within India and entirely within Ladakh in this Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region. It is about 16 miles (26 km) north to south in length and two to three miles (3 to 5 km) wide. The lake has no outlet at present and the water is brackish though not very perceptible to taste.
The lake is fed by springs and snow-melt from neighboring mountains. Most water enters the lake in two major stream systems, one entering the lake from the north, the other from the southwest. Both stream systems include extensive marshes where they enter the lake. It formerly had an outlet to the south, but this has become blocked and the lake has become a endorheic lake. The lake is oligotrophic in nature, and its waters are alkaline.
Accessibility to the lake is largely limited to summer season, though Karzok on the northwest shore and the military facilities on the eastern shores have year-round habitation.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some photographs from my visits to Tso Moriri over the years including a visit in September 2017






Thursday, September 21, 2017

Puppet Theatre of Indonesia





Wayang (Krama Javanese: Ringgit ꦫꦶꦁꦒꦶꦠ꧀, "Shadow"), also known as Wajang, is a form of puppet theatre art found in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, wherein a dramatic story is told through shadows thrown by puppets and sometimes combined with human characters. The art form celebrates the Indonesian culture and artistic talent, its origins are traced to medieval era spread of Hinduism and the arrival of leather-based puppet arts called Tholu bommalata from southern India.

Wayang refers to the entire dramatic show. Sometimes the leather puppet itself is referred to as wayang. Performances of shadow puppet theatre are accompanied by a gamelan orchestra in Java, and by gender wayang in Bali. The dramatic stories play out mythologies, such as episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana, the Mahabharata as well as local adapations of cultural legends.Traditionally, a wayang is played out in a ritualized midnight to dawn show by a dalang – an artist and spiritual leader, and people watch the show from both sides of the screen.

UNESCO designated wayang kulit, a shadow puppet theatre and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. In return for the acknowledgment, UNESCO required Indonesians to preserve their heritage. Wayang has also been a significant historical art form in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some photographs  of puppets and puppet making are below:






Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Orchids | Singapore Changi Airport



The Singapore  Orchid Garden  at Changi Airport Terminal 2 features more than 700 orchids of 30 species grouped by their various colours and shapes, representing the 4 elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire and Air. White orchids displayed with floating glass bubbles represent 'Air', while rare brown and green orchids displayed with tree root sculptures represent 'Earth'.  Floral columns simulating giant candles represent 'Fire' while clustered blue and violet orchids represent the 'Water' element.

Some photographs of the stunning orchids in bloom:








Monday, September 4, 2017

Manaslu Magic | Black and White

View from Samagaon monastery looking south 
 The circuit of Manaslu the eight highest mountain in the world now qualifies as one of the finest treks in the Nepal Himalaya. A team from South Col Expeditions trekked the Manaslu circuit in April 2017. This is a monochrome look at the circuit.

Manaslu from Samagaon

On the trail to Manaslu Base Camp from Samagaon

The Budhi Gandaki river near Dovan

Campsite at Deng

Birendra Tal lake

Tree near Samagaon

Peak 29 from the village of Sho

For more information on the Manaslu circuit, routes and timings please see the links below.

Useful Links
http://sujoyrdas.blogspot.in/2017/07/manaslu-circuit-part-i-route-and-timings.html

http://sujoyrdas.blogspot.in/2017/07/manaslu-circuit-part-ii-route-and.html

http://www.sujoydas.com/Nepal-Himalaya/The-Manaslu-Circuit-Trek/

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/destinations/bistare-bistare-around-manaslu/

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