Posted by: Madhavi CN | May 6, 2016

Strolling in Phuentsholing

11With lot of time on hand and nothing much to do, my daughter’s eyes were glued to the TV, while I was in a chatty monologue about what to expect in the next two weeks and my husband was searching for the optimum wireless signal (the hotel assured us of the wi-fi but it did not tell us how weak it was!) Some magazines were read, enough channels surfed and catnaps taken. Monotony was slowly entering the monarchy. To beat that, the obvious majority decided to avoid the room-service and take a stroll out – first for some mineral water, next for lunch, then for the evening chai, later for some evening walk and finally for dinner ;).

The roads are clean and all buildings look similar to one another. They are like colorful stacked boxes of blues, greens, yellows and purples with plain glass windows that had no grills. Only the ground floors had windows with lattices. The general belief seemed to be that thieves in Bhutan do not climb through windows… or even better, there were no thefts! All the buildings had built-in pipes for rainwater harvesting. This is the first initiative to be implemented for our Indian cities.street-1

All the shops have standardized name boards in dark green with white letters. Only the font changed. And every shop, however small it is, has its own colorful dust bin. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the streets are so clean. DD and I had a game of trying to spot a shop without a dustbin as we walked around the streets aimlessly. There were some shops without customers and a couple of them without the shopkeepers (!) but all had the litterbin steadfast at their doors. This is the second initiative that must be implemented for our country.

There are plenty of alcohol shops and bars around. It was amusing to see women on both sides of the counter animatedly buying and selling a wide range of Bhutanese brands of rums, gins, whiskeys and wines. I felt free flowing spirits made a contribution to the nation’s high spirit (read Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness). Do I hear someone saying that this should be the third initiative?!? LOL

cinema-1

Close to the hotel is a rickety movie theatre where we need to pay for watching the movie (duh) but hearing the movie is free for all in the 30-yard perimeter. No-cost acoustics!

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There is a quiet trickle of a stream flowing in the middle of the town with a giant bridge across it. We walked by that rivulet after lunch and it looked as if we had that entire area for ourselves. My DD was pretty scared to walk around without the permit. We had to continuously give assurances to all the possibilities that her little head conjured.

temple-1

We went to the temple – Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang, in the city centre. It had statues and paintings of their Guru Rinpoche and Buddha. People were relaxing in the lawns of the temple and it looked as much a park as it was a temple.

By the night the ornate gate was all decked up with lights and looked like the entrance to a wedding plaza. As such the town is in a festive mood over their King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck’s birthday celebrations the next day, May 2nd. It was beautiful.

gate-1

With our permit still pending, we are limited to a 3 Km radius of Phuentsholing, the supposedly second largest town in Bhutan and the entry point from Jaigaon.

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