blurb about bhutan

Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon : 2009

Chillies drying on the rooftop of a home along the road to Thimphu.

Colours of Bhutan

Magical view of Thimphu from between thousands of prayer flags.

Bhutan - Tashigang Goenpa

The head monk looking a little unimpressed with our distracting the young students.

Thimphu, Butan

Clock at the main square.

Masters of the Crafts

Spectacular intricately hand carved and painted architecture.

The Wheel of Five Elements in Healing and Treatment

Mural at the Royal Gov & EU Medicinal Plants Project Centre. It illustrates "The fundamental ignorances giving rise to desire, hatred and delusion (depicted by the cock, snake and pig in the center). The three humors wind, bile and phlegm respectively. Diseases are caused when there are imbalances in these three humors."

Palace monks praying

Rows of shoes line the doorways of these amazing monasteries. Punches of vibrant coloured robes, and intricate designs and details everywhere one looks .. and so spectacularly preserved and maintained ... I found myself wondering if here I was experiencing among the last of the civilisations with skilled craftsmen capable of such detail and dedication to traditional beauty ? Wondering how-breath taking the ancient worlds we only see in museums now must have been in the real.

Land of the Divine Madman

Spectacular views on the trek out to visit the temple of the Divine Madman.

Nangay Zam : General Shop Cum Bar, Sobsukha Lobeysa

You may like to jump to the assumption that what you are seeing here is a vulgar bit of graffiti or vandalism ... well you couldn't be further from the truth ... this proud display is of one of the sacred phalluses commonly, if unexpectedly, found ornamenting the sides of Bhutanese buildings. Here we are in the region of the Divine Madman himself who introduced this symbol of fertility to Bhutan with a most bizarre legend of seduction of evil fem-spirits and slaughter of the male ones.

Night falls on the General Shop Cum Bar, Sobsukha Lobeysa

This image really brings home the contrast of cultures, expectation, perception and just how much of what we know to be acceptable or right is embedded in us without question. Such displays couldn't be further from expectation for a westerner like I in a place so sacred and full of spiritual tradition... although I can't help wondering if they see the humor in the name - gold!

Spot anything out of place?

... and yes, majority of these fabulous features are no less then a piece of ornamental art sitting along folk designs of more familiar a nature like these deer and 8 Lucky Signs. Also, interesting to note the bamboo platform/ stairs shown here ... its kind of part of the scaffolding used on construction sites.

Children's spirit and sense of fun has no cultural barriers!

A gorgeous cheeky boy in training to become a monk at the Temple of the Divine Madman - a moment captured. We were however shocked to see how little he was wearing in the freezing cold - we literally were rugged up for the snow compared to this little fellow.

Trucks with eyes

What I love about this part of the world is the desire to make the most ordinary of things unique and beautiful ... personified even ...

The Mystical Tigers Nest Monastery

This trek almost killed me .. it was a massive day and unexpectedly hot and humid ... we had not expected it to be nearly as far as it turned out either and were totally unprepared with our food supplies ie not bringing anything ! ... luckily Effie had her little tin of tuna to save the day - again.

Monk Jazhalpa

A scene straight out of the Lord of the Rings ! As we pulled up about to start our trek to the Tigers Nest, I could hardly believe my eyes spotting this character sitting cross legged on the ground. It was a split second decision to run down and take my chances to see if somehow he would let me draw him as my buddies started on their way. It was worth every moment - not only did Monk Jazhalpa allow me to draw him resulting with one of my favorite pieces, but when I asked for a photo he whipped out this one in a million pose ... which can I add was only more extraordinary as I realised as I was walking away that he couldn't actually walk and was being helped up and onto a mule by his assistants ....

Curious ..

A wave at children playing in the distance sparks off magic.

New found friends

I often travel with Aussie stickers, these of tropical fish and marine life which were quite a hit ... it occurred to me somewhere about here that these children living in the Himalayas have never been to a beach ... such different realities we live in ...

Who would have thought ...

a hello can turn into such an amazing adventure.

Electric colour

Quite an extraordinary sight - I'd not seen a monk in pink and yellow before or since ... and the desaturated elements around him made his presence jump out

Spectacular Rhododendron forest

Some of the oldest uncut forests with unforgettable views of the Himalayas paved our way across the Dochu-la Pass up to Lungchutse.

Spirit guides

We were adopted by 4 dogs right at the beginning of our trek up to to Lungchutse. They barely left our side the whole day trek.

Spectacular send-off

No less than via 3 of the worlds highest peaks ... one of them Mt Everest herself ...