Kingdom of Quiet- The New Indian Express

By admin Dec10,2023

Express News Service

Blue should be the national colour of Bhutan. The clear skies in the backdrop of virgin pine-forested mountains are a sight to behold. The crisp air, the winding pebbled brooks and the ever-smiling faces will stay a long time with you after you exit the Dragon Country. And if there is one place that encapsulates all that the tiny kingdom is, it is the Amankora lodges. Aman stands for peace and kora means circle. Guests here are encouraged to complete the ‘circle of tranquility’ across the hotel’s five lodges—Thimphu, Paro, Bumthang, Gangtey and Punakha.

Paro Dzong

For those wanting to take a break from the everyday chaos, the hotel offer solitude like no other. The Thimphu property is nestled deep inside a forest. A walk to the hotel down a pine needle-carpeted path strewn with cones can instantly calm your mind. Far from the maddening crowd, the place is a sanctuary for the soul. Indulge in forest bathing, hot stone baths and long walks. While the Thimphu property is a collection of cabins scattered around the area with brooks running in between, the Paro one is designed like a monastery. Cemented, stark floors welcome you down a passage lined with spacious and cosy rooms. There is also an art gallery displaying contemporary Bhutanese works.  

Sustainability on their Mind
Amankora set up its first lodge in Bhutan in 2004. In the next two decades, it ingrained itself into the country’s ethos. With 70 percent forest coverage, the country stresses localising the supply chain. At the resort, 80 percent of the food consumed is sourced from around it. From forest mushrooms and foraged fiddlehead ferns to butter, cheese and honey from its own Bumthang region, the dinner table overflows with the taste of Bhutan. The resort also grows food across its five lodges. Microgreens, leafy vegetables, fresh fruit preserves, fresh eggs and more from the in-house farms regularly feature in the meals. Committed to community service, the resort runs a school and many of the guests can often be found conducting a class or two here.

Sights and Sounds
In Paro, it is impossible to miss the colourful wooden Rinpung or Paro Dzong—part Buddhist monastery and part fortress built in the 15th century. Colourful strips of cloth line the overhanging ceilings fluttering in the mountain air. Then there is the oldest temple of the country, Kyichu Lhakhang built in the seventh century before Buddhism became popular in the country. The circular building or Ta Dzong—the National Museum—features ancient thangkas (Buddhist paintings done on cotton or silk depicting deities and mandalas) and royal relics dating back to 1907, when the country embraced monarchy. For the adventure-seekers, the Tiger’s Nest located 3,000 metres above the valley is a must-do trek.

the hotel room

In comparison, Thimphu does not have much to offer, save the Great Buddha Dordenma statue atop a hill. The 169-ft figure has as many as 1.25 lakh Buddha idols encased inside it. For those looking to shake things up a bit, head out to the most happening pub—Mojo Park—post-dinner, where the live band belts out Hindi, English and Bhutanese numbers. If you are looking for something less chaotic, make a beeline for actor-model Kelly Dorji’s gastro pub, The Grey Area. The band here is a tad muted.

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