Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6- Thimpu, Bhutan

Okay, so I have to admit that I really didn't know Bhutan was a country until about six months ago.  But it's not only a country, it's the world's only Mahayana Buddhist monarchy.

So this morning we woke up very early to catch a flight from Bangkok to Paro, where there is the country's only airport.  This is a picture of us flying through the Himalayan Mountains.

But don't worry mom, it was a big, modern plane

The nation is very rural and very spread out with small village dotting the mountainsides.

But since the 1960s Bhutan has been working to both modernize the previously secluded (self imposed) nation while simultaneously instilling a strong national identity in their people.  One of the way the government has done that is instituting a national dress.

Within the nation, it's life and religion are one.  There is no separating the two.  The prayer flags on the hill tops for the wind to carry the prayers of the people's blessings to the world is just one of the many reminders of their strong devotion.

We toured several places such as the National Library, the Indigenous Medicine Center, the Culture History Center, and the art school where students study for six years to learn how to preciously create the religious art.  Our guide told us that those who are born with deformities are believed to be artists in their past life that messed up on their projects so perfect art is very important.

Then we went to National Memorial Chorten, a place of worship that was built to honor the third king after his death.  Devotees circle the memorial (always clockwise) in an effort to earn merit that will lead them to Enlightenment. (Center in the white shirt is Dr_EAM)

At the memorial we also witnessed the monks, some as young as five or six, play worship songs on their horns and drums.

Tomorrow, our guide will be taking us on a small trek.

More then,


Summer said...

Ah! I'm speechless in wonder! Kate, I'm so glad you're taking such lovely pictures. Miss you both!

Anonymous said...

I love looking at your pics and reading your posts! Keep them coming!

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