I am going to talk about a lot of things seen in the picture above since by now you must be pretty familiar with Bhutan.
- The picture is taken from a point near the National Museum located at the top of the hill above Paro Dzong. This was originally a watch-tower (as you can imagine from the picture) but was renovated to house one of the most wonderful museums I have seen. The building is circular, shaped like a conch and you enter on the fourth floor! You also have to walk along a specific route that ensures that you walk clockwise around important images. 🙂 Now isn’t that cool?
- The river in the view is the Paro chhu (chhu=river). It flows from the north-western side of the town and proceeds towards the south-west. Paro valley is fertile and beautiful.
- The point from which this photo is taken can be reached by food (which is what I did) by hiking to Paro dzong and then hiking further to the National museum. The hike is steep but not difficult, but don’t ask the locals ‘how far is it?’ They always say ‘5 minutes’. The hike from the base is atleast 30 minutes long.
- If you are not in mood for hiking, you can always drive. As the milestone (which is actually a kilometer-stone) states, the distance is 5 km. There are no shared taxis to this point, but you can hire a private taxi for Rs 120.
- The other language seen on the milestone is Dzonkha, the national language of Bhutan. English is the second language. Most educated people can speak English, and almost everyone on the street can speak Hindi.
- Paro town, neatly laid in a grid-like structure can be seen nicely from here. Also notice the metal roofs I was talking about in some previous post, a strong contrast to village houses.
- I can spot atleast 6 temples on the hills surrounding the valley. But maybe that’s because I saw the place and its hard to read details in the picture. The valley is dotted with temples – small and large.
Pffftt… I think that was a long ‘describe the picture’ game. Do you notice something else that I missed?
One of the route to the National Museum starts from Paro dzong and is quite easy to follow since it is adequately marked. No worries if you are confused, there are people walking past all the time.
On the other side wayy above the Paro dzong, we spotted a white dot in the mountain which, on investigation, we discovered was the Zuri dzong. It seemed like a charming little temple with even a better view of the valley and the airport. We hiked for 1.5 hours, but still couldn’t find Zuri. It was getting late and you may know how disastrous it could be to get lost on an unknown mountain in total darkness. Being a mountainous region, there is nothing called ‘post sunset lighting’ (if there is even a term like this!) – after the sun is gone, it gets dark in no time. Unfortunately we gave up the search for locating Zuri mountain and carefully recalling our route tried to reach the base. I think it was too dark and we ended up in a water stream (it might well be a sewage stream but I prefer not to think of that) and somehow made it back to civilization.
That brings us to the end of travel posts on Paro valley and surroundings. In the next tow posts, I explore Taksang Lhakhang or the Tigers Nest Monastery, my last adventure in Bhutan.