Wonderful Bhutan

By | Jul 29, 2017 | Views: 328
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(By Tsem Rinpoche and Beatrix Ooi)

Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is the smallest state located within the Himalaya mountain range. It is located in the Eastern Himalayas, bordered by China and India. Within the South Asia region, after the Maldives, Bhutan is the second least populous nation, with no more than 800,000 residents living in the small landlocked country. The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu and it is also the country’s largest and only city. Bhutanese history is an admirable record of centuries of independence, having never been colonised by external forces or foreign nations.

A map indicating the location of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A map indicating the location of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A closeup map on Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A map of the various regions of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

Bhutan is divided into 20 districts (dzongkhags) and 205 village blocks, which is then further divided into numerous municipalities for administrative purposes. Formerly an absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008 and is currently governed by the King of Bhutan and the nation’s parliament.

The country is famous for pioneering the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), instead of the more commonly-touted Gross National Product (GNP). GNH is both a development philosophy and a measurement of the nation’s collective happiness. As a development philosophy, GNH is used to guide the government when they make decisions of national importance. The GNH philosophy emphasises harmony with nature and traditional values.

Bhutan is well-known for their conservation efforts and visitors will definitely understand why, when they see what Bhutanese nature has to offer. The country benefits from a wide range of climates and incredible landscapes. Mountain peaks in Bhutan can easily reach 7,000 metres (22,966 feet). The highest peak in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which stands at 7,570 metres (24,840 feet) and holds the record of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. Since 1994, climbing mountains higher than 6,000 metres in Bhutan has been prohibited due to their respect for local spiritual beliefs; later, starting from 2003, mountaineering was completely prohibited.

 

Weather

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The climate in Bhutan varies depending on the altitude and time of the year. In the south, the climate is generally subtropical; in the highlands, it is generally temperate; and in the north, there is year-round snow. Bhutan experiences five seasons through the year, comprising of summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring. March to May is spring, when the weather is comparably pleasant; June to August is summer, which also overlaps with the monsoon season when there will be heavy downpours. Therefore if you are planning a trip to Bhutan, it is strongly encouraged that you visit the country during March to May.

 

Culture

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Till this day, the culture of Bhutan remains largely unchanged, thanks to their relative isolation from the world until the 20th Century. Visitors to Bhutan who are familiar with Tibetan culture may be pleasantly surprised by the similarities between Bhutanese and Tibetan culture. Like the Tibetans, the Bhutanese culture stems from the ancient religion of Buddhism and it has particularly influenced the growth and development of this country. The concept of Gross National Happiness, for example, is not found anywhere else in the world but it is particularly important in Bhutan, thanks to their cultural and religious heritage.

The official Bhutanese languages, Dzongkha and Sharchop are relatively affiliated to the Tibetan language. Those familiar with the Tibetan script, for example, will be able to read Bhutanese script, although they may not necessarily understand it. An ancestor of the Tibetan language called chhokey (“Dharma language”) is widely used by the Bhutanese monks.

Another similarity between Tibetan and Bhutanese culture that visitors might notice is that both populations highly revere Padmasambhava, an 8th Century Buddhist master and the founder of the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. In Bhutan, there are many pilgrimage places associated with Padmasambhava.

 

Religion

In general, 75% of the Bhutanese population identify as Buddhist so it should be no surprise that the official state religion is Buddhism. In the south of the country, there is a Hindu majority. In fact, approximately 23% of the Bhutanese population is Hindu.

Other religions account for less than 1% of the country’s population. For example, there is also a small population of Muslims in Bhutan (0.2% of the population) while 0.4% practise other religions such as Bon and other indigenous faiths.

It is said that Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century through the works of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. A convert to Buddhism himself, King Songtsen Gampo had ordered for the construction of two huge Buddhist temples at Bumthang in central Bhutan and Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro Valley.

 

Religious Festivals

The traditional Cham dance

The traditional cham dance

On the tenth day of a particular month in the lunar Tibetan calendar, each dzongkhag will hold a religious festival known as the tsechu. The tsechu is a tradition of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and the day upon which it is held differs from one dzongkhag to another.

During the tsechu, villagers from the surrounding districts will gather together for several days for religious purposes and to socialise. They will contribute auspicious offerings to the lama in charge or monastery during the festival. The main activity of the tsechu is a series of religious dances called cham which are usually held in a large courtyard. Each part of the dance may take up to a few hours to complete, and it may take two to four days for each dance to finish completely. One of the purposes of this dance is to bless the audience directly and to spread the principles of tantric Buddhism.

The tsechus arose from Padmasambhava, the great scholar who visited Tibet and Bhutan in the 8th and 9th Centuries. Padmasambhava is famous for subduing spirits and wild environments, and converting people to Buddhism. He did this by performing rites and rituals, reciting mantras, and performing dances to subdue the local spirits and gods who were malevolent in nature.

During Padmasambhava’s visit to Bhutan, he came to the aid of King Sindhu Raja who was dying. In the Bumthang Valley, he performed a series of subjugation dances intended to restore the king’s health. The king was immensely grateful and went on to help spread Buddhism throughout Bhutan.

After this, to commemorate the acts performed in Bumthang, Padmasambhava organised the first tsechu. During the tsechu, eight manifestations of Padmasambhava were reflected in the eight forms of dance. These dances later developed to become the cham dances which tell the story of Padmasambhava and his miraculous deeds. The Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava is performed on the fourth and final day of the festival, as a culmination of events, depicting the triumph of good over evil.

The unfurling of the thongdrel

The unfurling of the thongdrel

Following the dance is the unfurling of the thongdrel. Early in the morning, amidst prayers and intense supplication, this very large thangka is unfurled. The thongdrel measures 30 metres by 45 metres, and it depicts Padmasambhava flanked by his two consorts and surrounded by his eight incarnations. It is said that those who witness the unfurling of the thongdrel are cleansed of their negative karma. The thangka is left unfurled until it is rolled up again just before sunrise, to be kept in the monastery until the next tsechu during the following year.

 

The Monastery

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In a country where Buddhism is the state religion, it should come as no surprise that the landscape is dotted with monasteries. Monasteries in Bhutan benefit from financial support from the government through annual subsidies.

The government’s support for monasteries has continued into the modern era and monasteries in Bhutan continue to thrive. By the late 1980s, Bhutan had registered some 12,000 monks, and there were also active congregations of nuns but no accurate figures are available.

The process of becoming a monk in Bhutan is quite similar to the rest of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Young boys typically join the monastery around six to nine years old and are placed under the direct tutelage and guidance of a headmaster. From this headmaster they will learn to read chhokey, which is identical to classical Tibetan, as well as Dzongkha, and English. Ultimately, the monks will have to choose between two paths: to study Buddhist theory or to take on the path of becoming proficient in rituals and personal spiritual practice.

Each monastery is headed by a khenpo (abbot) who is usually a lama. The highest-ranking khenpo in the country is known as the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and in theory, his status is equivalent to the king’s. The Je Khenpo is assisted by the Five Lopons (or masters) and they are in charge of religious tradition, logic, liturgy and prayers, lexicography, and the universities. When the Je Khenpo passes on, the Dorji Lopon (the chief lopon) is appointed to succeed him.

Unlike the Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama, the position of Je Khenpo is never held by a child but always by an experienced monk. This position is awarded to the monk on the basis of merit, through an election and it is usually the most respected monk of the Dratshang Lhentshog (Commission for the Monastic Affairs) who is elected into position.

 

Clothing

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One of the characteristics of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress. It is an easily-recognisable outfit which continues to be worn by everyone in Bhutan, young or old. Bhutanese men wear the gho, a knee-length robe that is tied around the waist with a traditional belt known as kera. The pouch that forms in front of the robe was traditionally used to carry food bowls and a small dagger. Today it is used to carry small items like mobile phones, wallets and doma (betel nut).

Women wear the kira, a long, ankle-length dress along with a light outer jacket known as a tego with an inner layer known as wonju.

When the Bhutanese visit the dzongs (temples) and other administrative centres, they wear long scarves. The scarves are varied in colour, indicating the wearer’s status. The scarf worn by men is known as kabney and those worn by women are known as rachus. The rachu is hung over the woman’s shoulders and it does not have any specific status associated with its colour. They are made from raw silk and brocaded with beautiful patterns.

Rank Kabney/ Scarf
The King Yellow / Saffron
Je Khenpo (Head Abbot) Yellow / Saffron
Minister Orange
Judge Green
District Administrator Red with a small white stripe
Commoner White

 

Do’s and Don’ts

DO’S

  • Have a printed visa clearance copy at the time of check-in for the flight to Bhutan.
  • Do remember that some of the Himalayan mountains in Bhutan are considered to be the dwelling place of gods and are therefore not open to tourists.
  • Do remember that credit cards are not accepted in small shops. So remember to carry Bhutanese currency with you though Indian Rupee is also widely accepted.
  • Do be cautious about purchasing anything old or antique in Bhutan since the export of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
  • Do remember to keep your mobile on silent mode or switched off completely while entering monasteries and other religious places.
  • Do refrain from touching any murals, paintings and any other ritual objects.
  • Do refrain from uttering any negative comments on either the royal family, the country’s religion or the chief abbot.
  • Do ensure you walk in a clockwise direction when visiting and touring religious places.
  • Do refrain from giving sweets or money to children.
  • Do note that GSM phones work well in Bhutan but most Indian networks do not have roaming services in Bhutan. Airtel is the only Indian service provider that works in Bhutan on international roaming.

DON’TS

  • Don’t wear tight or revealing clothes while visiting religious areas as it is considered to be extremely rude.
  • Remove hats and caps while visiting temples.
  • Don’t forget that all electronic devices including cameras, laptops, video recorders and even mobiles need to be registered with the customs authorities upon arriving in Bhutan. There is a checking again on departure so be sure to declare all electronic items upon arrival.
  • Don’t forget that smoking is strictly prohibited in most areas in Bhutan. Bhutan is the only country in the world that completely bans the sale and production of tobacco and tobacco products. Under the law, any individual found selling tobacco can face imprisonment for a period of three to five years. Therefore Bhutanese stores do not sell tobacco. Visitors are permitted to bring 100 cigarettes into the country provided they are willing to pay a 200% tax.
  • Don’t ever point at any person, object or animal with a single finger. Use instead an upturned flat and extended hand, especially when indicating or gesturing towards a sacred object or place.
  • Don’t ever touch the robes of a monk.
  • Don’t throw garbage anywhere except at designated places.
  • Don’t feed birds/animals while visiting natural sites.
  • Don’t use slang and vulgarities while visiting religious sites.
  • Don’t be rude to older people. In Bhutan, showing respect to one’s elders is extremely important.

 

Food

1. Ema Datshi

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The national dish of Bhutan comprises of chillies and cheese. The chillies can either be fresh green chillies or dry red chillies, and they are cooked with local Bhutanese cheese known as datshi in a good amount of butter.

2. Momos

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Travellers in the Himalayan region are sure to have stumbled upon the ubiquitous momos. These dumplings are one of the most popular Tibetan foods and can be found in Nepal, India and here in Bhutan. Momos are typically filled with minced meat, cheese and vegetables. They can be eaten steamed or deep-fried, together with the Bhutanese chilli sauce known as ezay.

3. Hoentay

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Hoentays are somewhat similar to momos except they are made from buckwheat dough. These dumplings are normally filled with a combination of local spinach or turnip leaves and cheese. They can also be eaten either fried or steamed, together with ezay.

4. Lom

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The freezing winter in most areas of Bhutan makes it hard for vegetables to grow. Lom refers to turnip leaves, which are one of the very few vegetables that can grow in Bhutan. These leaves are dried and preserved, then sautéed and eaten on its own. Another favourite way of consuming lom is cooking it with some pork.

5. Goen hogay

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This particular dish is a traditional Bhutanese cucumber salad made of cucumbers, chilli flakes, cilantro (coriander), Sichuan pepper, tomato, onions and some datshi cheese. Oil can also be added to give it a little bit of dressing, while the Sichuan pepper has a pleasant, slightly numbing effect on the tongue.

 

Travel Requirements

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Bhutan has a “quality over quantity” approach to tourism. As such, all travellers to Bhutan are required to pay a daily fee of US$250. This fee covers accommodation, transport in Bhutan, a guide, food and entry fees. Since tours are prepaid, visitors will only need to bring money for drinks, laundry, souvenirs and tips. It is best to bring cash for these requirements; while there are ATMs in most main towns, the use of credit cards is confined to mostly the well-touristed areas and not widespread throughout the country.

Except for Bangladeshi, Indian and Maldivian passport holders, all tourists must book their trip through a legitimate Bhutanese tour operator. The operator will take care of all visa arrangements. Please note to contact official tour operators in Bhutan. Do not go through unregistered operators and make direct payments, or you may find yourself very disappointed. For more information, please visit http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/tour-operators.

 

20 Places to Visit

 

1. Paro Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest Temple)

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Paro Taktsang is Bhutan’s most prominent and instantly recognisable religious monument. The name “Taktsang” literally means “The Tiger’s Nest”. One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan, the monastery clings on to an extremely steep cliff that is 900 metres above the valley of Paro.

The temple was built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated and engaged in retreat. According to legend, it is said that Guru Rinpoche, riding a tigress, flew to this very spot and engaged in a three-year, three-month, three-day, three-hour retreat in order to subdue the malicious spirits that resided there. Ever since then, the cave is considered to be a blessed site and many have visited the site and engaged in their own retreats there.

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Paro Taktsang is located about 10 kilometres away from Paro town. Visitors have to trek for roughly 2-3 hours in order to get to this holy site.

 

How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Taktsang trail, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

2. Tashichho Dzong

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Tashichho Dzong, also known as Thimphu Dzong, is located close to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. The original monastery was built in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanapa, who was the founder of the Lhapa branch of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Centuries later, in 1641, it was taken over by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and he built another dzong known as the Lower Dzong. A dzong is a type of building, or form of architecture that looks like a fortress.

Tashichho Dzong at night

Tashichho Dzong at night

After a devastating fire, the original Tashichho Dzong had to be consolidated and moved to the Lower dzong. Over the years, the building expanded a couple of times until an earthquake struck in 1897. It was not until 1902 that it was rebuilt again. King Jigme Wangchuk had the building renovated in the traditional style without any nails. There are close to 30 temples and chapels within the Tashiccho Dzong compound.

 

How to get there

Most tourists prefer to hire taxis or mini-buses to travel around Bhutan. In this case, it’d be easier to travel around Thimphu with a taxi. If you are visiting this area, please make sure to carry some bottled water and snacks because landslides are common around this area and will require some time to clear up.

Address: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Opening hours: It is open to visitors only once the offices close at 5:00 pm
Entrance fee: Nu300/- which is less than USD$5.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

3. Punakha Dzong

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The Punakha Dzong or Puntang Dechen Photrang Dzong (The Palace of Great Bliss) is the administrative centre of the Punkha district. The building was constructed in 1637-38 by Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche. The Punakha Dzong is the second largest and second oldest dzong in Bhutan, and one of its most prominent examples of the unique, traditional Bhutanese architecture.

The dzong houses holy relics of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which includes the Rangjung Kasarpani and the remains of its founder, Ngawang Namgyal. It is said that Guru Rinpoche had once given a prophecy that someone named Namgyal would arrive at a hill that resembles the shape of an elephant. True enough, centuries later, Ngawang Namgyal found a peak that resembled the shape of an elephant’s trunk and it was on this peak that he eventually built the dzong.

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One of Bhutan’s most important religious sites, the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Queen Jetsun Pema was held here at Punkha Dzong on October 13, 2011.

 

How to get there

Taxis and buses are available from Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. A shared taxi costs around Nu150 which is less than USD$3 and it is a 90- to 120-minute ride from the capital to Punakha.

Address: Punakha, Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 66 99 80

 

Accommodation

1. Drubchhu Resort
Address: Missina, P.O Box 777, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 237

2. Hotel Lobesa
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 61 26 72

3. RKPO Green Resort
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 233

 

4. Rinpung Dzong

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Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, is located in the Paro district about 2 kilometres away from Paro Airport, Bhutan’s sole international airport. Rinpung Dzong is a huge Buddhist monastery following the traditions and practices of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. The dzong was constructed in the 15th Century; later, upon the request of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed again in 1644.

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There are 14 shrines and chapels within the dzong’s compound, including a monks’ assembly hall, a sandalwood stupa, a protector’s shrine, a chapel of the head lama, a chapel of Amitayus, a chapel of the 11-Faced Avalokiteshvara, a chapel of Akshobhya and many more.

 

How to get there

As the dzong is very close to Paro airport, it can be very easily reached by taxi.

Address: Paro, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 33 83 00

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

5. Kyichu Lhakhang

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Located in Lango Gewog in the Paro district of Bhutan, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, having been established in the 7th Century. It is said that the temple grounds were constructed by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in 659, and that Kyichu Lhakang is also one of the four border-taming temples that the King built.

It is believed that in the 8th Century, Guru Rinpoche visited the temple and concealed many spiritual treasures, known as termas, there. Later, the temple came under the charge of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. From 1836 to 1838, it was restored by the 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen. In 1971, Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuk, the consort of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, built a Guru Temple next to the old Jowo (Shakyamuni) Temple that was consecrated by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Since Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuk began her patronage of the temple, annual rituals of various deities such as Vajrasattva, Vajrakilaya and Palchen Heruka have been performed in this very temple for the well-being of the country. It is rumoured that there are two orange trees within the compound of Kyichu Lhakang that bear fruit throughout the year.

 

How to get there

Kyichu Lhakang is approximately 5 kilometres away from Paro town, and can be very easily reached by taxi if you are planning a visit.

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

6. Gangteng Monastery

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Located in the Wangdue Phodrang District of Bhutan, Gangteng Monastery is also known asor Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery. It was established by the First Gangteng Tulku, Gyalse Pema Thinley in 1613I, and it is one of Bhutan’s few temples belonging to the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism (the majority belonging to the Drukpa Kagyu lineage).

Gangteng Monastery is the largest Nyingma monastery in Bhutan and it is also the main seat of the Pema Lingpa lineage. The Monastery is also famous for the presence of black-necked cranes who, during the winter time, fly from Tibet to central Bhutan in order to roost. Upon their arrival, the cranes circle the monastery three times and they repeating this circling when they return to Tibet.
Therefore, aside from the annual tsechu held at the monastery, Gangteng Monastery also hosts the Crane Festival to mark the arrival of cranes from Tibet. Viewed as a religious blessing by the people, this annual event takes place one day after the celebration of the King’s birthday, on 12 November every year.

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The monastery can trace its history back to the late 15th Century, to prophecies made by the well-known Terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa. On a visit to the Phobjikha Valley where Gangteng Monastery is located, Pema Lingpa prophesied that his descendants would establish a monastery on the top of the mountain and it would become famous as the seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition.

As Pema Lingpa correctly predicted, it was his grandson Gyalse Pema Thinley who established Gangteng Monastery in 1613. The monastery was later expanded by his son, Tenzing Legpai Dhendup. It may also interest visitors to know that the current rulers of Bhutan, the Royal House of Wangchuk, too are descendants of Pema Lingpa.

Gangteng Monastery is surrounded by Gangten Village, and in later years, a Nyingma monastic college or shedra, Do-gag Tosam Rabgayling, was formed above the village.

 

How to get there

It is easy to reach this famous monastery, with many taxis, cars and buses available for charter or hire.

Address: Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Gangtey Lodge
Address: Just below the monastery, Gangtey 975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 16 06 66

2. Punatsangchhu Cottages
Address: Zamtopang, Wangdue 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 481 942

3. Dragons Nest Hotel
Address: Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 480 521

 

7. Motithang Takin Preserve

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Motithang Takin Preserve is located in Thimphu, and it is a wildlife reserve for takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, Motithang was later converted into a wildlife sanctuary because the animals that were set free refused to inhabit the nearby forests.

A local legend tells the story of how the takin came to be the national animal of Bhutan. It all started in the 15th century, when a Tibetan saint by the name of Drukpa Kunley was requested by the Bhutanese during one of his teachings to perform a miracle in front of them. Not only was Drukpa Kunley a great teacher but he was also a highly practised adept of tantric meditations. At their request, Drukpa Kunley agreed to perform the miracle on the condition that a whole cow and whole goat were fed to him for lunch.

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As soon as the meal was prepared, Drukpa Kunley gobbled down the food and all that was left were some bones from the animals. He then took the head of the goat and joined it to the skeleton of the cow. Before the amazed congregation could believe their eyes, they had a live animal standing right in front of them. The animal had the head of a goat and the body of a cow, and it was given the name dong gyem tsey (takin). Due to Drukpa Kunley’s reputation and the fact this was his magical creation, the takin came to be revered by many and eventually became the national animal of Bhutan.

 

How to get there

One of Bhutan’s most famous destinations, it is easy to charter a taxi, bus or van to get to Motithang Takin Preserve.

Address: Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan
Operation hours: 9am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Entrance fee: Bhutanese- Nu10 ; SAARC national/ adult Nu30/50 (less than USD$1)

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

8. National Museum of Bhutan

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Built in 1968 at the request of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the National Museum of Bhutan is located in the town of Paro. The building houses some of the most exquisite examples of Bhutanese arts including paintings and bronze statues. The museum currently houses more than 3,000 Bhutanese artworks, showcasing Bhutan’s cultural heritage that dates back to more than a millennium ago. The museum is the perfect destination for connoisseurs of Himalayan art, for those who wish to gain a deeper insight into how Bhutan came to be the kingdom it is today, and how religion has become to intertwined with Bhutanese daily life.

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How to get there

Taxis, buses and vans can be chartered to get to the National Museum of Bhutan.

Address: Paro, Bhutan
Operating hours: 9am-4pm, closed on Mondays and during national holidays
Entrance fee: SAARC national/adult Nu 50/200 (USD$3), monks, nuns & children under 10 years old, free
Contact: +975 8 271 511

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

9. Jigme Dorji National Park

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Jigme Dorji National Park is named after the late king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, a visionary who took radical steps to preserve Bhutan’s cultural heritage while opening her up to the world. It was King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who took Bhutan on her first steps towards democratisation and modernisation, while safeguarding the country’s unique environment and history as a culturally distinct nation. Under the Third King, there were vast political and social reforms throughout the kingdom, with holistic laws being implemented concerning all fundamental aspects of Bhutanese life. His Majesty was also a forerunner in environmentalism in the region; during his reign, the Manas Sanctuary was established in 1966, becoming one of the first sanctuaries in the region.

Hence it is only fitting that a National Park came to be named after the king. The Jigme Dorji National Park is the second largest National Park in Bhutan, covering an area of 1066 acres. It was formed in 1974 and due the vast area it covers, the elevations within the park ranges from somewhere between 1400 meters to more than 7000 meters.

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This diverse environment results in a great variety of animals who call the park home. There are more than 30 species of animals that have been identified within the park, some of which are endangered. They include the snow leopard, takin, Bengal tiger, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, the red panda and many others. It is also home to more than 300 species of birds.

 

How to get there

Most tourists prefer to hire taxis or mini-buses to reach the National Park, which is a well-recognised destination.

Address: Thimphu, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

10. Memorial Chorten, Thimphu

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A chorten is a reliquary that, in general, contains the ashes or ashes of a distinguished personality or attained being. ‘Chorten’ is the Tibetan or Bhutanese word for such a structure, while ‘stupa’ is the Sanskrit word. Its shape is said to represent the mind of an enlightened being i.e. a Buddha.

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Located at Doeboom Lam in the southern part of Thimphu, the Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to commemorate the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and is a prominent landmark in the city. Unlike other stupas however, this memorial stupa does not contain any human remains. It was constructed when King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk was alive, and he wanted to build a stupa to represent the mind of the Buddha. Thus this stupa was built and dedicated to him.

 

How to get there

Travel within Thimphu is easy and most tourists will hire a taxi or mini-bus to travel around.

Address: Doeboom Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 4 649 494

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

11. Simtokha Dzong

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Simtokha Dzong, also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (literally ‘Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras’) was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who is famous for unifying Bhutan. Simtokha Dzong holds special significance as the first dzong to be built in Bhutan, thus popularising the use of a dzong as a monastic castle.

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According to legend, the dzong provided protection against a demon which had disappeared into a nearby rock, giving rise to the dzong’s name – “Simtoka” means ‘demoness’ and “do” means ‘stone’. Later, in 1961 and at Queen Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorje’s suggestion, King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk established a prominent Dzongkha language institute as part of the dzong.

 

How to get there

Simtokha Dzong is located about 5 kilometres south of the centre of Thimphu. It is easy to hire a taxi to take you to the dzong.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

12. Jambey Lhakhang

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Jambey Temple or Temple of Maitreya is located in Bumthang, Bhutan. According to legend, it is said that this particular temple is one of the 108 temples built by King Songtsen Gampo within a single day in order to pin down a demoness to earth. The demoness was creating trouble and obstructions towards the proliferation of Buddhism, so the temples were built at various points of her body to subdue her. These temples are scattered across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands. Some of these temples include the Jokhang in Lhasa, as well as Kyichu Temple in Paro, Bhutan and this one, Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang, Bhutan.

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One of the main relics that currently reside in this temple are the relics of the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya). The temple houses easily more than one hundred statues of the deities of Kalachakra that were produced under the request of Bhutan’s first king, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

13. Buddha Dordenma Statue

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Buddha Dordenma, also commonly known as Buddha Shakyamuni, is one of Bhutan’s more recognisable and prominent landmarks. This religious monument is a gigantic Buddha Shakyamuni statue that was built in the mountains to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk. Standing at 169 feet (or 52 metres), the statue is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. It contains 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch-tall gold-plated bronze Buddha statues.

The statue is located on a hill in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. Construction works began in 2006 with the initial aim of completing it within four years (in 2010). However, construction was not finalised until 2015 when the statue was consecrated and the 943.4 acre nature park was open. The total cost of the entire project is over US$100 million, while the statue alone cost US$47 million.

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The statue’s existence fulfils the 12th Century prophecy of the renowned yogi Sonam Zangpo, who had predicted that a large statue of Padmasambhava, Buddha or a phurba (ritual dagger) would be built on the site. This statue would bestow blessings, peace and happiness on the whole world.
However, even before that, a second prophecy had been made in the 8th Century regarding the construction of the statue itself, by none other than Padmasambhava. After 800 years, the prophecy (which was mentioned in a terma, or treasure) was uncovered by the terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa.

 

How to get there

This large and very prominent Bhutanese landmark is very accessible by either taxi or mini bus.

Address: Kuensel Phodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

14. Kurjey Lhakhang

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The story of this temple began with Sindhu Raja and Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava. One day, Guru Rinpoche was invited to Bhutan by Sindhu Raja to subdue some malicious spirits that were disturbing the area. Guru Rinpoche then visited Bumthang and took up residence in a cave where he entered into meditation. After subduing the spirits, imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s body remained in the rock.

This sacred event gave rise to the name of the site; Kurjey means “imprint of the body”. Due to Guru Rinpoche’s blessings and activities there, the temple ground and site is now considered to be extremely sacred and highly revered by many.

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Aside from being a pilgrimage site, Kurjey Lhakhang is also the final resting place for the remains of the first three kings of Bhutan. There are three main temples at Kurjey Lhakhang, the first one having been built in 1652, the second in 1900 while the third one was built in 1990s. In front of the temples, there are three stupas constructed to commemorate the first three kings of Bhutan.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

15. Clock Tower Square

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Located in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, the Clock Tower Square with its four clock faces is one of the most prominent landmarks in Bhutan. The clock tower itself is a work of art, having been enriched with Bhutanese carvings and paintings to give it a typical Bhutanese architectural appearance. The Clock Tower Square being in a central location means that it is surrounded by some restaurants, shops and hotels which makes it easier for tourists.

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How to get there

This large and very prominent Bhutanese landmark is very accessible by either taxi or mini bus.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

16. Tamzhing Monastery

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Tamzhing Lhundrup Monastery is located in Bumthang, Bhutan. In a country where the majority of the monasteries uphold the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, Tamzhing is the most influential Nyingma monastery. The temple was built in 1501 by Pema Lingpa a renowned finder (terton) of treasured Dharma teachings (terma), so the monastery’s walls are graced with portraits of him.

Until 1960, the monastery (like many others in Bhutan) was privately owned. It had been this way since Pema Lingpa passed away in 1521 at the age of 72, when his successors took over and looked after the monastery after his passing. Unfortunately, as the years went by, Tamzhing Lhundrup Monastery became neglected and fell into disrepair. It was used only during special occasions, when pilgrims would come to make offerings.

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Today, efforts are underway to establish a thriving monastic community there. Since the 1960s, when the community consisted of just 10 to 15 monks, the community has since grown to over 95 monks. The monastery continues to rely on private donations and sponsorship for its survival.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

17. Chendebji Chorten

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The stupa was built in accordance to the style of the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal and it was established by Lama Ngesup Tsering Wangchuk, who was said to be the direct descendant of a Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen. The model of the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal was brought to Bhutan by Lama Ngesup Tsering Wangchuk and up till this day, the model still resides in Gangtey Gompa located in the Wangdu district of Bhutan.

Local folklore tells of the stupa being constructed to subdue a demoness, Ngala dudm, and bring peace to the valley. It is said that she used to roam in the area, taking the lives of innocent people at night and destroying any temples that were built. Hence the Chendebji Stupa was constructed to subdue her and pin her down.

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An important site of religious significance, the stupa is also host to an annual tsechu festival, held in various locations all over Bhutan to commemorate the deeds of the saint Padmasambhava. The stupa is located between Trongsa and Punakha, at a scenic point where two rivers meet. Visitors have commented that it is a pleasant rest stop on the journey between the two destinations.

 

How to get there

The Chendebji Chorten is located 41 kilometres away from the west of Trongsa in Bhutan. It takes about six hours by bus from Thimphu and two hours from Jakar.

 

Accommodation

1. Yangkhil Resort
Address: Trongsa, Trongsa, Bhutan

2. Tashi Ninjay Guest House
Address: Darshing Pokto, Trongsa, Bhutan

3. Puenzhi Guest House
Address: Trongsa, Bhutan
Contact: +975 3 521 197

 

18. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

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Located within the Punakha Valley, the beautiful building was built by the Queen Mother, Ashi Tsering Yangdon Wangchuk. Construction of this four-storey temple took nine years to complete, resulting in a building in the shape of a stupa. The stupa is an hour’s hike from the base, but visitors are rewarded with incredible views of the Punakha Valley from the temple which sits perched on a ridge.

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How to get there

Taxis and buses are available from the capital, Thimphu. A shared taxi costs around Nu150 which is less than USD$3, and it is a 90- to 120-minute ride from the capital to Punakha.

Address: Punakha, Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 66 99 80

 

Accommodation

1. Drubchhu Resort
Address: Missina, P.O Box 777, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 237

2. Hotel Lobesa
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 61 26 72

3. RKPO Green Resort
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 233

 

19. Kila Nunnery

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Kila Nunnery, also known as Chele la Gompa or Kila Gompa nunnery, is located by the cliffs below Chele pass. Built in the 9th century, it is known to be the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. The nunnery includes about seven temples and several retreat huts where the nuns engage in their meditational practices. There are roughly 50-70 nuns who live here in complete isolation from the outside world. They rarely get visitors as the road that leads to the nunnery requires long hours of trekking. Getting to Chele pass from Paro takes about one and a half hours. However, if you are coming from Haa, it will only take you half an hour to get there. The landscape surrounding the nunnery is absolutely mesmerising, so be sure to check the place out when you are travelling in Bhutan.

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How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Taktsang trail, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

20. Iron Chain Bridge, Paro

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Another of Bhutan’s famous and iconic places to visit is the Iron Bridge, located near Tachog Lhakhang Dzong, on the way to Paro Valley. One must cross the bridge in order to get to the Dzong.

There are a total of 108 iron bridges throughout Bhutan and Tibet, which were built by Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo in the late 1300s. Many of the bridges are still in use today. According to legend, Thangtong Gyalpo gathered villagers to perform traditional operas in order to raise funds to build these bridges over Himalayan rivers so that pilgrims would have access to various holy Buddhist sites.

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How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Paro Valley, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

Travel Books

Below are some of the travel books you may find helpful if you are planning for a trip to Bhutan.

 

1. Lonely Planet Bhutan (Travel Guide)

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Lonely Planet Bhutan is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Join the pilgrims at colourful Changangkha Lhakhang, hike to the dramatic cliff -hanging Taktshang Goemba, or explore the busy weekend market at Thimphu; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Bhutan and begin your journey now!

 

2. Insight Pocket Guide Bhutan (Insight Pocket Guides)

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The extraordinary Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s most exciting new travel frontiers, a picture-book-beautiful mountain landscape with a rich Buddhist culture. The only country in the world to measure its success by the principals of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is a truly unique place. Insight Pocket Guide Bhutan is a brand-new, full-colour travel guide that combines lively text with vivid photography to highlight the best that the country has to offer.

 
Sources:

  • www.wikipedia.com
  • www.tripadvisor.com
  • www.lonelyplanets.com
  • www.tourism.gov.bt
  • www.wikitravel.com

 
For more interesting information:

 

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Beatrix Ooi
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About Beatrix Ooi

20-year-old Beatrix is currently on sabbatical from her studies and spends her free time volunteering in Tsem Ladrang, the office of her Guru, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. A proud Buddhist and vegetarian, Beatrix claims that dogs are her favorite people. She believes that kindness is the greatest wisdom and is deeply grateful to her supportive parents.
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11 Responses to Wonderful Bhutan

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  1. Paul Yap on Aug 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Bhutan is like the Shambhala on earth, everyone is practising the dharma, lives in a clean good environment freely and happily. We often saw the pictures of the landmark building Paro Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest Temple) on various media, even celebrities went there for their marriage and blessings. This is definitely one of the bucket list to accomplish.

  2. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 10, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Bhutan is an interesting country, that they are trying preserve their environment and not trade development for destruction. I hope they can be a model of balancing the environment and the need to progress.

    Rejoice very much that a spiritual country like Bhutan is showing the world how a spiritual country can have a pristine environment and modernise at the same time.

  3. Alice Tay on Aug 9, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Very beautiful country.
    What has impressed me are Bhutanese respect very much to the monasteries and the religious places. They have the rules of Do’s and Don’ts for the people to follow. One of the rules mentioned that “Don’t ever point at any person, object or animal with a single finger. Use instead an upturned flat and extended hand, especially when indicating or gesturing towards a sacred object or place.” This showed clearly that everyone is equal and being respected including the animal. Also, showing respect to one’s elders is extremely important. Besides, the built up of Buddha Dordenma as one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, is really meritorious and bless all the sentient beings in Bhutan.

    When everyone is followed and practice the good qualities, it is believed that Bhutanese gain peace, harmony and happiness easily as compared other countries.

    Thank you Beatrix for sharing this beautiful and peaceful country.

  4. Fong on Aug 6, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Never knew much about Bhutan before this. It was only a green country that has become carbon-negative now and that the monarchy encourages happiness as a standard rather than materialistic acquisition. By all accounts, a country still very much steeped in it’s spirituality and simple, old fashion ways. The modern monarch takes it upon himself to see that his subjects are taken care of.

    This article has shown me more of Bhutan and makes one wish to visit this very unique country.

  5. Lin Mun on Aug 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Bhutan is unique by being the first and probably the only country to measure happiness with Gross National Happiness instead of the income which normally most countries does that is Gross National Product. That shows how important is happiness as compared to monetary term. A very interesting measurement by government of Bhutan. I guess with the controlled of visa and fees, the country is well managing the flow of tourism. I believe it is a control to have a balance on the influx of foreigners and the effect to the country and environment. Thank you Beatrix for sharing this article

  6. JP on Aug 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I only started noticing about Bhutan when I read about the Gross National Happiness index many years ago in one of the US magazines. I think it was Time magazine. It was fascinating and refreshing that the country is focused on her people’s happiness as compared to the rest of the world that is more focused on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    I noticed in the pics here that the country is filled with spiritual places. The environment is clean and spectacular. Even just by looking at the pics of the amazing mountains and streams, I feel uplifted and energized!

    I guess if more people are conscientious about the environment and balance their lives with some spiritual practice that promote kindness and compassion, many of the world’s social and environmental problems wouldn’t even exist. Bhutan is an example that a well balanced wholesome lifestyle is possible to achieve as a nation. It’s a matter of who’s at the government level promoting it consistently.

  7. Jason on Aug 2, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Bhutan is my top pick visit country. I like the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) to measure on collective happiness of Bhutanese. As I know that Bhutan is the most happy country among the country participated. Bhutan doing very well on forest conservation through visitors limitation enter to Bhutan yearly.
    Bhutan also is a good place to make a pilgrimage visit. Many monasteries been well conserve and funding by government.
    Thanks Beatrix for sharing this informative article.
    I wish I can do a pilgrimage trip to Bhutan soon.

    Jason

  8. Uncle Eddie on Aug 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Within an extraordinary beautiful picturesque and mountainous landscape, coupled with a rich Buddhist culture is what made the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, a truly unique place in the World. Known as the smallest state located within Himalaya mountain range, it is bordered by China and India. The capital of Bhutan is known as “Thimphu” and has an admirable record of centuries of independence, never been colonized by external forces or foreign nations amazingly! Bhutan has quality over quantity in its wise approach to promote Tourism. Bhutan is said to be well-known for their conservative efforts, and to what the Bhutanese nature has to offer. The country benefits from a wide range of climatic and incredible picturesque beautiful landscapes. Mountain peaks in Bhutan can reach up to 24,840 feet, which holds the record of the highest un-climbed mountain in the World! According to restrictions in record, since 1994, climbing mountains higher than 6,000 metres in Bhutan has been prohibited, but nevertheless, starting from 2003, mountaineering was completely prohibited. In a country where Buddhism is the State Religion, it would come as no surprise that the landscape will be dotted with picturesque, beautiful and colorful monasteries. It was such great discovery that transform and attract people’s perception to such rich and ancient culture and its background. This is definetly a must-visit and see attraction, if you are truly a fan of ancient history!

  9. Samfoonheei on Jul 30, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Bhutan is a truly unique country with beautiful landscapes, rich Buddhist culture and ancient architecture monasteries. a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas is known for its monasteries, fortresses and dramatic landscapes, steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan are popular trekking destinations and its famous Paro Taktsang monastery or known as Tiger’s Nest clings to cliffs
    I have not been there but have heard of the beauty of these beautiful country.I will very much like to experience the charm of Bhutan one day.
    Thank you Beatrix Ooi for sharing.

  10. Pastor David Lai on Jul 30, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Bhutan is really beautiful and they do have really spectacular architecture of their own. I suppose the architecture of old Tibet was just like that too. I see Bhutan as pretty much an offspring of Tibetan culture, language and people.

    The country looks clean and very picturesque. Although not a wealthy nation, the leaders of the country in the past and presently, did a good job maintaining its sovereignty and maintained the integrity of their culture. This post does a good job in listing out the spiritual and architectural marvels of the Bhutanese people. It would be one of the places, I would like to visit but its a little lower down the list of places because I would rather visit Tibet first. But nonetheless, I am sure Bhutan would be a wonderful visit.

  11. Stella Cheang on Jul 29, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Bhutan is such a beautiful country, and the people are friendly in a down to earth manner. The winding road leading to each town offers you a breathtaking view even before you set foot into the town. At dusk or dawn, when the golden rays penetrate through the clouds and shine on the white houses with square rooftops at the valley, it is as if time stands still.

    As the national dish is chilies with cheese, it is common to see people drying red chilies on the roof. The dish is delicious when eaten with rice! Bhutanese are calm and orderly, and they wear their national costume proudly too! It is really a very enchanting country imbued by Buddhism; I will not hesitate to visit again if I have the chance. Thank you, Beatrix, for this sharing.

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4 - 5AM (PST)
(除了每个月的第一个星期五)
SATURDAY
11AM - 12PM (GMT +8)
FRIDAY 7 - 8PM (PST)
SUNDAY
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4:30 - 5AM (PST)

UPCOMING TOPICS FOR SEPTEMBER / 九月份讨论主题

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KECHARA FOREST RETREAT PROGRESS UPDATES

Here is the latest news and pictorial updates, as it happens, of our upcoming forest retreat project.

The Kechara Forest Retreat is a unique holistic retreat centre focused on the total wellness of body, mind and spirit. This is a place where families and individuals will find peace, nourishment and inspiration in a natural forest environment. At Kechara Forest Retreat, we are committed to give back to society through instilling the next generation with universal positive values such as kindness and compassion.

For more information, please read here (english), here (chinese), or the official site: retreat.kechara.com.

Noticeboard

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  • Jason
    Wednesday, Sep 27. 2017 01:19 AM
    This Fauvistic Dorje Shugden photo is very nice. It’s look very real. I like Rinpoche said that Dorje Shugden willing to assist anyone regardless race, gender and religion.
    The above is a very clear explanation on Dorje Shugden.
    I wish every sentient will get connected with Dorje Shugden and gain attainment soon.
    Thanks Rinpoche for this precious teachings.

    Jason
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/fauvistic-dorje-shugden.html
    [no sender]
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Sep 26. 2017 07:24 AM
    Beautiful Tsa-Tsas of different forms of Dorje Shugden . Now i know how it was made , and the history after reading this post. So they made .based on the tradition in Tibet and
    everyone could invite home and for travelling as well as the beautiful Tsa-tsa is small and convenience. Thank you Rinpoche for sharing with us and thanks to the tireless team who made it possible .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/tsa-tsas-are-nice.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Sep 26. 2017 07:07 AM
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these touching story of such compassionate, kind, caring lady Ms Elaine Gerbrick .She was Rinpoche childhood teacher who has make a huge difference in Rinpoche’s life. It would be wonderful if teachers take the time to care, ,listen, talk and reaching out to their students as all these have a huge impact on them. Ms Elaine Gerbrick was truly one such teacher who cares and understands for her students like Rinpoche ,and she was an example to all teachers.
    Due to her kindness , sensitivity and perception Rinpoche had a amazing experience with her in school which Rinpoche treasured so much. She was sympathetic and gentle with her students and considerate of their feelings and courteous .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/ms-elaine-gerbrick-was-my-favourite-teacher.html
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 11:08 PM
    It is very sad watching this video and while watching I’m asking myself how can human be so cruel in handling other beings. We practically don’t care if the animals are in pain or not. No living beings deserved to be treated in such a way. We should not have the understanding that animals exist to serve human. We should respect all living beings and not have any discrimination. It is by having this right mindset that we will create a peaceful and harmonious world.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/earthlings.html
  • Alice Tay
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 10:29 PM
    Watch this video again together with a few KSDS teachers and this time reminds me about our daily necessities, skincare products and cosmetics may involved in the animal tested which is also one of the causes of animal cruelty.
    Wish to share here some of the brands that we might need to take note and not to buy or support for the animal cruelty. Thank you.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/earthlings.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 03:34 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing. After participating in the Tsa Tsa making exercise in KFR, I realized that the process of hand-making Tsa Tsa is intricate, to say the least. Making a holy item like Tsa Tsa is a practice by its own as it involves patience and a single-minded effort which require us to tame our thoughts and be in the present, work on the material in hand and perfect each step. It is very amazing, in the sense that the outcome of the Tsa Tsa differs each time. It trains us to be more mindful in the details to maintain the consistency.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/tsa-tsas-are-nice.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 01:48 PM
    Beautiful cartoon sketches by Rinpoche cute and inspiring cartoon .a creative way to spread Dharma..For someone who has not draw along time but still can draw such beautiful sketches cartoon show that person is special and talented. Nicely done in few minutes and using a combinations of crayons, color pencils and markers.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/tsem-rinpoche-draws-cartoons.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 01:00 PM
    In this video, Tsem Rinpoche on Facebook shared a live video and explained many interesting facts and information. He shares where he received the Dorje Shugden practice, why he does not give up on it in the face of so much pressure, his thoughts on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his feelings on the Tibetan exiled government, the effects of the ban on Shugden and his recommendation on how we can overcome this. Tsem Rinpoche speaks honestly and from his heart. It is very insightful. The talk has been transferred onto youtube and you can learn so much from his sharing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6ri1HSbhOc&feature=youtu.be
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 12:45 PM
    This is really a fantastic short video on Kechara Forest Retreat. It is a must see!! See here please: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5GmFfNSxg&feature=youtu.be
  • Pastor Adeline Woon
    Monday, Sep 25. 2017 09:24 AM
    Human were brought up to exercise speciesism rather naturally because their contact with animals are narrowed down to food, company, entertainment, clothing and cosmetic. Generally speaking, unless they are told otherwise, human beings continue to live their lives exploiting animals.

    In the Buddhist teachings, animals are seen as another form of existence which anyone can take rebirth in. They are not god’s given food but a living life we respect. To take advantage of their lower form of existence is not encouraged but to treat them equally without prejudice is. Just like what was explained in the video, animals are a different nation, they have every rights to live on earth without harm just like all living beings on earth.

    The mistreatment that the animals are receiving is a clear sign of human selfishness and their silly ideas of superiority that arise from insecurity and fear – to harm others in order to feel a sense of control and power. This insecurity and fear cannot be pacified through harming others but through benefiting others. A sense of fulfilment and joy will slowly fill our mind through good starting from focusing on others’ needs and suffering instead of our hungry stomach and taste buds.

    The only way to end this brutal treatment to animals is to relook the way we consume our meals and the things we use. As a consumer, we have the power to change how animals are being treated and to stop the giant players from manipulating us. We are in control and we need to be in control in order to live a life that is filled with sense of achievement, love and care.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/earthlings.html
  • Lin Mun
    Sunday, Sep 24. 2017 09:47 PM
    I like seeing Dorje Shugden painting in fauvistic style. The colors are so strong and outstanding. Very nice. Appreacite Rinpoche for sharing Dorje Shugden paintings of various styles. No matter what the form is, it will bring lots of blessing to those who sees the painting.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/fauvistic-dorje-shugden.html
  • Alice Tay
    Sunday, Sep 24. 2017 06:34 PM
    Ms Gerbrick was very patient and compassionate by spending her time to listen to Rinpoche said to her. Ms Gerbrick never criticized about Rinpoche’s parents and avoid to give negative effect to Rinpoche. Instead, Ms Gerbrick advised Rinpoche that when people say negative things to him, it is not about him, but it’s about them. This message implied that Ms Gerbrick knew to be sympathic and considerate to others.

    I personally think that in order to be a responsible teacher, one must selflessly devote oneself and always think of how to benefit the students and constantly seek solutions to remove barriers that children face. Ms Gerbrick was one of them as mentioned.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this wonderful story of Ms Gerbrick. May she has a good rebirth and return in perfect human form to learn dharma at a young age. ��

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/ms-elaine-gerbrick-was-my-favourite-teacher.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Sep 24. 2017 12:50 PM
    Many human beings, including ourselves, are selfish and only care for ourselves. Especially when it comes to situations that are challenging or pose a threat to our comfort zone. In situations like this, something/someone will have to make way, the one with the least priority is in the inevitable receiving end, most of the time. In this case, the poor pets took the blunt. In some other cases, it could be the ailing parents/old folks/someone.

    It is our selfish mind that causes the selfish act and results in harm, pain and suffering on others. When we learn and practice Dharma, we can follow Guru’s teaching to help us tame this selfishness by always thinking for others, put ourselves in the shoes of others. In this way, no way will be left behind, ever.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/dont-leave-them-behind.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Sep 24. 2017 08:01 AM
    Walter Evans-Wentz was an American anthropologist and writer who was a pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism,He has since introduction and translated a number of Tibetan Buddhism to the Western world. Evans-Wentz is best known for four texts translated from the Tibetan, Amazingly he travelled across India and Sri Lanka covering important religious sites to study the history, customs and religious traditions of the country, and also collected a large number of important Pali manuscripts. It was then later donated to Stanford University. He has even worked as a translator with Alexandra David-Néel and so forth producing ,forewording a few interesting books before his passing.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor David Lai for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/walter-evans-wentz-american-pioneer-scholar-on-tibetan-buddhism.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Sep 24. 2017 08:00 AM
    Very interesting article……gave me a clear defination and understanding of God and religion.I agree with Bishop John Spong….if we all have qualities of love, compassion. caring ,tolerance, generosity, kindness and a sense of empathy to benefits others, God or Buddha will be within us. I can understand much better of the insight.
    I admired Bishop John Spong for his courage to speak up and explained to others about what he thought .Do hope more people will open their minds and judge for themselves the truth of it based on logic thinking and teachings. I am glad ,i am on the right path.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting post.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/bishop-john-spong-on-religion-and-god-very-interesting.html#

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Messages from Rinpoche

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Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
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I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
4 days ago
Ms Gerbrick was a very special person in my childhood. When I finally found her again, I had lost her - http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144296
I just did another one. See how it\'s done-
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
4 days ago
I just did another one. See how it's done- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144259
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
5 days ago
I like this sketch I just did. Tsem Rinpoche
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
5 days ago
One of my sketches just finished. Tsem Rinpoche
More of my drawings.  Tsem Rinpoche
5 days ago
More of my drawings. Tsem Rinpoche
See what Linus has to say to Charlie Brown: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden
5 days ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Plse click on this and read and share. Important thoughts regarding our teacher. Tsem Rinpoche
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China.  Photo from Karen Chong
1 week ago
The stupa dedicated to the great Changkya Rolpai Dorje in 5 peaks of Manjushri - China. Changkya Rolpai Dorje was one of the previous life of His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche. In that life, he was the imperial tutor to the Emperor of China. Photo from Karen Chong
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
1 week ago
Please click on this picture and see what the adorable boy is doing.
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
1 week ago
Learn a new word and see what Fauvism means here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143633
Please click on this picture to enlarge and read. It is important and share with others. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Please click on this picture to enlarge and read. It is important and share with others. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
2 weeks ago
The handprint of His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Jetsun Dechen Nyingpo
Dear friends, For the first time in art history you will see a Tibetan divinity in Byzantine art form. Just published! Please be amazed and see the whole artwork here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143348
2 weeks ago
Dear friends, For the first time in art history you will see a Tibetan divinity in Byzantine art form. Just published! Please be amazed and see the whole artwork here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=143348
我这里有一副最庄严印度风格法力强大护法的画作。点击这里观赏与下载: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142950
2 weeks ago
我这里有一副最庄严印度风格法力强大护法的画作。点击这里观赏与下载: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142950
A separate Tibetan state? 

Should this group of Tibetans have their own autonomous state?
In a world full of trials and tribulations, this group of Tibetans continues to defy all odds against a difficult leadership. Should they have their own state, their own country to live free and in harmony? Read and decide-Part 1: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142741 and Part 2: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142868
2 weeks ago
A separate Tibetan state? Should this group of Tibetans have their own autonomous state? In a world full of trials and tribulations, this group of Tibetans continues to defy all odds against a difficult leadership. Should they have their own state, their own country to live free and in harmony? Read and decide-Part 1: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142741 and Part 2: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=142868
When I first arrived in Gaden Monastery in January 1988, I lived in this small room: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=100092
2 weeks ago
When I first arrived in Gaden Monastery in January 1988, I lived in this small room: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=100092
This is Mahakala of the Tent (Gonpo Kur) and this particular sacred and very alive image is in Sakya temple in Tibet. It is so beautiful, ferocious and at the same time frightening. He frightens our self absorbed ego into submission to dharma.-Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is Mahakala of the Tent (Gonpo Kur) and this particular sacred and very alive image is in Sakya temple in Tibet. It is so beautiful, ferocious and at the same time frightening. He frightens our self absorbed ego into submission to dharma.-Tsem Rinpoche
Please find out more who is Shamgo Dorje Putri and her two sisters. They wear a particularly distinctive single large flower in their hair and very powerful. This promises to be a very interesting read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=94304
3 weeks ago
Please find out more who is Shamgo Dorje Putri and her two sisters. They wear a particularly distinctive single large flower in their hair and very powerful. This promises to be a very interesting read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=94304
He was known by one of his names which was Guru Deva Rinpoche and I had the blessings to meet him quite a few times. He was guru of both my mother and father. Guru Deva Rinpoche was a high Mongolian lama and lived over 100 years old. He was one of the kindest persons I have ever met and he was very well known to be an emanation of Gyenze. He joked alot and was extremely devoted to his teacher. We had many private conversations with him and he made an indelible mark in my mind and in my heart. I think of him often. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
He was known by one of his names which was Guru Deva Rinpoche and I had the blessings to meet him quite a few times. He was guru of both my mother and father. Guru Deva Rinpoche was a high Mongolian lama and lived over 100 years old. He was one of the kindest persons I have ever met and he was very well known to be an emanation of Gyenze. He joked alot and was extremely devoted to his teacher. We had many private conversations with him and he made an indelible mark in my mind and in my heart. I think of him often. Tsem Rinpoche
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha\'s omniscience.  Tsem Rinpoche)
1 month ago
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha's omniscience. Tsem Rinpoche)
One of the nicest Taras I\'ve seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it\'s very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
1 month ago
One of the nicest Taras I've seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it's very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende\'s collection. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende's collection. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I\'ve never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it\'s the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it\'s beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I've never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it's the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it's beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I\'ve had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I've had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche\'s room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
2 months ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche's room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
2 months ago
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
2 months ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
2 months ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche\'s cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
2 months ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche's cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov\'s brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov's brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
Think about this...
2 months ago
Think about this...
Our frustrations have meaning when it\'s for others and a greater cause.
2 months ago
Our frustrations have meaning when it's for others and a greater cause.
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
2 months ago
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
Contemplate this please...
2 months ago
Contemplate this please...
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
2 months ago
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it\'s most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
2 months ago
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it's most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. 

Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. 

This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
2 months ago
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
2 months ago
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
2 months ago
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
Real spirituality is kindness.
2 months ago
Real spirituality is kindness.
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CHAT PICTURES

Naropa's cave in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat is a must-visit!
yesterday
Naropa's cave in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat is a must-visit!
Kechara has opened Bigfoot Universe Sdn Bhd, a second hand store near Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia.
yesterday
Kechara has opened Bigfoot Universe Sdn Bhd, a second hand store near Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia.
Manjushri Puja in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat by the Puja Team
yesterday
Manjushri Puja in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat by the Puja Team
Nice Jelly Cakes sponsored by KSDS student's parent, Alice Wong and friend, Datin Nicol. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Nice Jelly Cakes sponsored by KSDS student's parent, Alice Wong and friend, Datin Nicol. Alice Tay, KSDS
All the volunteer are ready & waited for the guests arrival. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
All the volunteer are ready & waited for the guests arrival. Alice Tay, KSDS
Photographer team of the event. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Photographer team of the event. Alice Tay, KSDS
Nice photo with Teacher Kien, Teacher Ray, Teacher Grace & Teacher Alice. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Nice photo with Teacher Kien, Teacher Ray, Teacher Grace & Teacher Alice. Alice Tay, KSDS
Give courage to the younger KSDS students before the performance. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
Give courage to the younger KSDS students before the performance. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS talented Emcee team~Young,energetic and loving-kindness. Alice Tay, KSDS
3 days ago
KSDS talented Emcee team~Young,energetic and loving-kindness. Alice Tay, KSDS
Group photo of all Kechara Sunday Dharma School volunteers after a successful Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
3 days ago
Group photo of all Kechara Sunday Dharma School volunteers after a successful Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
Louise, one of the volunteers, helped an elderly board the bus at the end of Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
3 days ago
Louise, one of the volunteers, helped an elderly board the bus at the end of Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
Young children enjoying their meal at the Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
3 days ago
Young children enjoying their meal at the Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
Happy young children from Kechara Sunday Dharma School performed at Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
3 days ago
Happy young children from Kechara Sunday Dharma School performed at Mid Autumn Festival Charity Event. Stella Cheang
Group performance by Kechara Sunday Dharma School students during the Mid Autumn Charity Event. Stella Cheang
3 days ago
Group performance by Kechara Sunday Dharma School students during the Mid Autumn Charity Event. Stella Cheang
KSDS students spent almost a day to set up the decoration & various arrangement for the Mid Autumn charity dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
KSDS students spent almost a day to set up the decoration & various arrangement for the Mid Autumn charity dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
The senior citizens enjoyed themselves during the Mid Autumn dinner in Kechara Oasis. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
The senior citizens enjoyed themselves during the Mid Autumn dinner in Kechara Oasis. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Jayce and Asyley setting up the slides show for the Mid Autumn event. Lin Mun KSDS
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Teacher Jayce and Asyley setting up the slides show for the Mid Autumn event. Lin Mun KSDS
Snacks prepared by Kechara Oasis. Thank you Guat Hee for your cares. Lin Mun KSDS
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Snacks prepared by Kechara Oasis. Thank you Guat Hee for your cares. Lin Mun KSDS
Benjamin and Ivan helping to set the stage for the Mid Autumn Festival event in Kechara Oasis. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
Benjamin and Ivan helping to set the stage for the Mid Autumn Festival event in Kechara Oasis. Lin Mun KSDS
The design team is busy decorating the stage for the KSDS Mid Autumn Festival Charity Dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
The design team is busy decorating the stage for the KSDS Mid Autumn Festival Charity Dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
Beautiful jelly cake prepared by Alice Wong and Datin Nicol Chu for the Mid Autumn Festival Charity Dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
4 days ago
Beautiful jelly cake prepared by Alice Wong and Datin Nicol Chu for the Mid Autumn Festival Charity Dinner. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Thank you Kechara Oasis and Kechara Blooms for supporting KSDS Mid autumn celebration 2017 - From KSDS Jayce Goh
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Thank you Kechara Oasis and Kechara Blooms for supporting KSDS Mid autumn celebration 2017 - From KSDS Jayce Goh
5 days ago
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Dorje Shugden
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