Tourism in Bhutan, a freak accident, and the flower pots in our balcony
Bhutan seems to have woken up to the reality of over-tourism without suffering the wisdom of hindsight. Its policy of charging $250 per day for foreign tourists (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian nationals) is a big put off for the budget adventurers.
As Indian nationals we have other advantages. Indian rupee is accepted at par with the Bhutanese currency and we don’t even need a passport. In spite of that we do not crowd around the few popular tourist spots of Bhutan as we do in India during weekends and festival seasons.
In the last two decades, due to the rise of surplus income of the Indian middle class, any place of interest, which could be a weekend getaway from a major city, becomes over crowded during long weekends. However, traditionally the places to attract crowds in India have been the places of pilgrimage. Forget about places of pilgrimage for Hindus, Bhutan, being a Buddhist nation, does not offer any place of pilgrimage even to Indian Buddhists who don’t practice the forms of Buddhism prevalent in Bhutan.
Ironically, most of the hot destinations of Bhutan are its monasteries. So, people travel to Bhutan mainly to enjoy the journey which is full of natural beauty. Roads seem to be reasonably good and places are maintained neat and clean. Like me if you hate crowds, Bhutan could be an ideal place to spend a few weeks.
Unlike Nepal, Bhutan’s lack of eagerness to encourage tourism could be linked to its concept of development which is measured not in terms of Gross National Product but Gross National Happiness. What good are a few extra Dollars if people have to sacrifice their traditional values and the serene atmosphere of their dwelling and religious places.
I have never been to Bhutan. But I started this blog post as if I was going to start a travelogue. Of course I took a lot of virtual tours. What happened was that a freak accident during one of my leisurely evening walks confined me to the house for two weeks (more of that later). As a result among other things that I did to fill my idle hours, I read a lot of blogs and watched a lot videos about Bhutan .
Depending upon the circumstances a simple meal of half cooked rice and dal could become the meal of life as expressed by many of our blogger friends in response to an indispire prompt. Same way, being confined to the house, the greatest pleasure I could derive from the world of nature was through the flower pots in our balcony. Coincidentally, this year all the plants are performing better under the active care my wife (with occasional assistance from me).
I would be happy to share other watchings of my idle hours. I am also planning to share the pleasures derived from reading a few books that had been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time. To gain a little sympathy and to rant against the state of our Indian Roads I may also share how I got injured.
All posts in the series can be accessed under the tag #watchingsofidlehours