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The Kingdom of Bhutan 2019 Trip Report

 

 

 

 

          

A Country Poised Between the Ancient and the Modern: Exploring Bhutan

Over March Break 2019, ALIVE Outdoors is very excited to be working with Good Karma Travel to provide a group from RSGC and SMLS with an outstanding learning experience in the Kingdom of Bhutan.  Travelling through Bhutan will offer students a rare and unique opportunity to see the last Himalayan Kingdom, which is said to be one of the most unique and isolated locations in the world.

Some of the goals of our journey are:
•To evaluate and examine our own perspectives and our personal values.
•To learn from and share with the Ugyen Academy Higher Secondary School students.
•To deepen and expand our worldview.
•To be immersed in a society that will contrast the difference in pace and values between a life centered in Western consumerism vs. intentional and unhurried living.
•To appreciate Buddhist cultural traditions and spirituality.

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March 2019

We Like Big Buddhas and We Cannot Lie!


One of the many lessons of today was that Gross National Happiness (GNH) is, in part, an emphasis on living from a spiritual place rather focusing on the material side of life.

We started our day at 8:00am for breakfast and then headed straight to the National Memorial Chorten, which is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu. We wandered around for about half an hour looking at and into the Chorten, walking clockwise around the building with other worshippers as they quietly chanted and counted their prayer beads. We spun prayer wheels and listened to music by the monks that was flowing out of a nearby temple. We found it very interesting that there are no retirement homes in Bhutan. Instead, the grown children of the elderly drop their parents off at the Chorten where they spend their days praying and chanting. Their elder years provide them an opportunity to pray and prepare themselves for their hope of reincarnation. Afterwards, we headed to Buddha Point, where we saw the largest sitting Buddha in the whole world! It is made of steel and painted gold. It sits 50 meters tall. When we went inside we were surprised to learn that it is filled with nearly 125,000 smaller baby Buddha statues. The ceiling is painted with intricate mandalas,  and the hand carving in there is indescribable. The craftsmanship in the Kingdom is surreal.

 

 

Early afternoon, we headed to a living cultural museum called Simply Bhutan. There, we fully immersed in the Bhutanese culture and watched many live demonstrations, including several traditional dances.  Our group was invited to learn one of the dances, however some of us picked it up quicker than others! We will spare you the video footage for now. We wrapped up our day with a tour through art school, and the purchase of our traditional Ghos and Kira's. We had a full day! Everyone is very tired, but it was a day well spent.  Tomorrow morning we are off to Punakha. For now, we are off to bed with the hopes of a good sleep. 

 
-       Hilary & Sally

 


  

 

 

 

Photos from the Field

 

 

 

 

 

 


For those that have the password to our inReach, you can follow along to see where we are at this link:

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