Posted by: Madhavi CN | May 2, 2016

Borderline Bhutan

The colorful archway of Bhutan beckoned us over the loud noise of Jaigaon’s traffic. But our stomachs growled louder and reminded us the priority. Perhaps with the foresight of

1

Bhutan Beckons

momo-full days ahead, we found ourselves ordering dosas in unison. Followed it up with a cup of Indian chai (yak chai was waiting in the hills for us) and some lemonade for my DD. We munched as we fondly looked at a country that was calling us endearingly. With just an unarmed soldier at its gigantic gate, the country looked rather friendly. The fence was defined by a 10 foot high railing which looked no different from what we have for some private buildings. After a leisurely breakfast, the three Hindustanis walked into Bhutan around 9 am through the side-gate entrance that was only for the pedestrians.  It was momentous, just as crossing any border can be!

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D-Fence

It was early but there were many Bhutanese and Indians entering into Bhutan after shopping in India. The day definitely started early here. All were toting something and if they had nothing to carry, they at least had a chubby baby tied to their back firmly in their traditional fabric. It looked like India was the place to buy toys, potatoes, pomegranates and even pyjamas! Most of them were in the traditional Bhutanese wear – women in colorful wrap-arounds and men in a long-sleeved-short-tunic with skinny legs covered in thick socks. Little boys and girls were dressed similar to their Indian counterparts.

IMG_20160501_100834

On the Bench – 1

Soon after entering Bhutan, some
of them would make a short stopover on the rock benches next to the giant gate. It is here, they exchanged pleasantries, compared notes, showcased their purchases, had a snack or just sat in silence.

I too sat on a bench there observing the new country and its people as my husband and daughter went to get the visitors’ permit for us. Looking at me and my luggage, some Guides and taxi-drivers were courteously asking me if I needed their help. There was no

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On the Bench – 2

flocking around, no pushing, no continuous enquiries – things definitely seemed different here. Cutting my reverie, my husband says ‘no Permits until Tuesday!’ Did I hear it right? This is Sunday and haven’t we read on the Internet that Bhutan’s Immigration Office is open on Sundays too?! And if Sunday was a holiday, what about Monday? The questions kept pouring until my DH shared his newly acquired knowledge about visitor’s permits. Bhutan issues permits on Sundays too for all nations except those Asian countries that enjoyed the free permit arrangement! And the Monday, i.e., the 2nd of May,

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Artistic

was the birth anniversary of their King and hence a national holiday. So we got 2 days of Bhutanese induction program to complete before we plunge into the country, is how we looked at it.

There were many hotels on either side of the border and we picked one on Bhutan’s side. We were literally a stone’s throw away from India.

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Responses

  1. Excited to read about your first hand experience in the nature’s lap😊.


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