After almost a week of traveling, I finally arrived at Paro, Bhutan, at around noon local time on Friday. Our flight from Thailand left early in the morning and we had one layover in Bagdograh, India. As we took off from Bagdograh, I had my first experience viewing the Himalayas. Looking out over the vast plains of Northern India, they rose terrifyingly high. Once we’d reached our cruising altitude, the silhouettes of the mountains still challenged our aircraft for superiority in the sky.
Arriving at the airport in Paro was an emotional moment for me and the other students who had been delayed from our destination for almost a week. The plane tucked between mountain passes and then the airstrip was upon us. Even though the final turn into Paro was a bit harrowing, it was like something out a dream once we landed. Bhutan’s pristine mountain valleys stretched endlessly before us as we made our way from Paro to Bhutan’s capital of Thimphu. Along the way, we saw countless prayer flags and beautiful mountainside temples. Once in Thimphu, we resumed our classes which include everything from lectures on Buddhism, language lessons given by the locals and the environmental challenges Bhutan faces today. It has been a very immersive learning experience. Our lecture on Buddhism was presented in front of the Buddha Dardenma, a massive gold-plated Buddha that overlooks Thimphu from the mountainside.
Apart from the incredible learning experience, we’ve gone on multiple hikes through the mountains here for field exercises and classes. Yesterday, we also purchased our traditional Bhutanese clothing (Gho for men and Kira for women). I went with a traditional black with green embroidery on the collar while some of my peers went for the more colorful options. So far, I am in amazement of all Bhutan has to offer.
A look at our group in the traditional Gho - I'm third from the right.