Bhutan, the Last Shangri-La

On the Go

Nirvi shares his impressions and photographs of Bhutan, which to him appears like the last Shangri-La

I always wanted to visit this Himalayan Kingdom, where the well-being of the people is lived through the gross national happiness and not through the income; where Milarepa was practicing his meditation and the ‘the Divine Mad Monk’ was wandering around. Bhutan was never under foreign rulers, so it preserved all its beauty and innocence.

Already the flight from Delhi to Paro with Druk Air was fantastic, seeing Mount Everest and all the many other white peaks looking out of a sea of fog. The guide Tashi and driver Tandin from Retty Tours welcomed me and we travelled together through Bhutan for the next twelve days.

Buddhism is very alive and present everywhere in the country. Guru Padma Sambhava entered Bhutan from India in the eighth century, bringing Buddha’s teachings with him. There are so many beautiful paintings about the stories of the Buddhas and the people are so peaceful and innocent in their hearts. To meet the people is a meeting from heart to heart, often no word was spoken, but the presence of each other felt. I always sensed that they have nothing to hide.

Women and men are living playfully together, some live still like hundreds of years ago and others in a more modern way of life. I was surprised that during my stay I never saw any heavy conflicts between the people. My guide told me that I am no longer a tourist to him, I’m more like a family member. He brought me to his home, and to his sister’s home, so I could see how they live and have some experiences of their daily life. These people of Bhutan will always have a special place in my heart, a place of pureness.

To travel around and see the amazing flora and fauna (in their planning, 70% of the forest must always remain), all the animals (more than 700 species of birds are known to live in Bhutan), all the mountains and valleys, all the monasteries, tsongs (castles) and stupas are just wonderful and so mysterious. I was filled with joy that a place like this still exists. It appears like the last Shangri-La, a paradise in the heart of the Himalayas the size of Switzerland. It feels really difficult to write about this, the photos are more truthful. However, to know and feel this jewel, you have to go there and experience it.

Nirvi (aka Nirvikar) was a long-time member of the Zurich Kota commune in Switzerland, working as a distributor of Osho’s books, a job he had done many years before on his own. After working for nine years as an accountant at an art gallery, he is presently on a sabbatical and just doing what he loves. nirvinoll@yahoo.de

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