The Land of the Thunder Dragon (BHUTAN) – Day 9

26.12.2010 (Sunday)
Thimphu – Bhutan to Dochu La Pass, Punaka & Wangdu = 165 km

Starting Place: Hotel Singye Thimphu (Bhutan)
Starting Km Reading: 5782 km @ Hotel Singye
Starting Time: 08.00 A.M. Morning
Closing Km Reading: 5947 km @ Hotel Singye
Closing Time: 19.00 P.M. Evening

Day – 9 started with my kids enjoying themselves with their color pens & crayons. Both are artistic and they show cased their art works which they were
working so hard last couple of days. Children always express themselves so nicely and they can explain what they have drawn.

Life mein Art

Baby Shri Meenakshi is all ready in the morning and was wearing the famous Pattu Pavadai dress (all silk) she likes very much and posed. She hated the white thermal wear but we insisted that she has to wear it.

I don't want to wear the white thermal wear :(

By 11 A.M. we were on our way to visit Dochu La Pass & Punaka & Wangdu. These places are really very beautiful to visit.When we were on our way to Dochu La Pass we were so engrossed in the natural beauty & greenary. We were following a local Bhutanese diesel car that was spewing heavy smoke. I was telling my wife that this car owner / driver really needs to take care of his car as I could not see anything.

Beautiful journey

Mountain Cattle

In fact that’s what happened. We just missed stopping at a check post that was open & drove on without stopping due to the distraction of the smoke and also as the local car went through I too never realised that there was a check post.Without our knowing we were followed by a Police Officer in his 2 wheeler all the way from the check post to the Dochu La Pass about 5 KMs.He came to us directly and asked me to show the papers and checked the permits & asked me for the personal permits and checked. He then said we had to return back with him to that check post which was some 5 km back. He said we had broken a law since he had taken my permit paper with him I had no option but to follow him.

We met him at his office and he asked us why we did not stop. I told him the truth that we were right behind a local car & due to the heavy smoke on this hill I could not notice the check post that was open & missed to stop.Initially he did not accept & then I told him I am aware that I am supposed to stop at all these check posts as I had visited Paro previous day.He asked us where we were coming from & whether this was our first time to Bhutan. I opened the Indian map & showed him the bottom most part of Indian State & showed him Coimbatore & told him that’s where we came from.He was surprised & asked you have come all the way from there to here? I told him yes & I had 2 small kids & a wife and we are law-abiding citizens and I follow traffic rules and it was not intentional that we did not stop.I accepted that it was my mistake & I told him I leave it in his better judgement to decide what to do with us.

He saw me with my daughter and realized that I was speaking the truth and said if it was some one else he would have put an official fine but since he too had seen that I had actually driven behind the smokey car he believed me as he had immediately started right behind us.He told me to be more careful at all check posts & also told me that car was a local one & did not stop.He did not take any money, he did not put any fine which he could have if he wanted to, he also never asked for any bribe money which I would not have paid, these cops are decent & honest & are doing their job.It looks like all the corruption happening in their southern neighbouring country hasn’t yet affected these people. Hope they stay honest for many more years and don’t get corrupted by their southern neighbours.I sincerely thanked him & he shook hands with me & wished me luck & drive safe. Whew that was close!!!Finally we were back at Dochu La Pass & it was a sight worth seeing. Amazing place. The time was 11.56 A.M.

108 Chortens at Dochu La Pass

Beautiful Bhutanese Building near Dochu La Pass

The view of the surrounding hills & greneray is so mesmerizing and it is a sight worth seeing. We climbed the steps of the Dochu La Pass and went up the hillock & had a great view.The 108 Chortens at the Dochu la pass gives the visitor the sheer beauty of the fresh and high altitude vegetation around.After visiting Dochu La we were on our way to visit Punaka & Wangdu.

Beautiful Greenery

This place Punaka is just beautiful with a river flowing and this water is used for producing power. We missed visiting the Punaka Dzong.There is a Hydro Electric Power Project going here with a join venture between Bhutan & India.After visiting Punaka we were on our way to visit the Buddhist Monastery at Wangdu & here it is called Wangdue Phodrang Dzong.We have to stop at this check post and enter all relevant details. Keep photo copies of your driver’s license and permit papers always handy.We saw a lot of these tiny sparrows and my kids were so happy to see these birds we call them Chittu Kuruvi.

Unpolluted Waters of the Beautiful River

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

Sparrows at the Check Post

The scenery here is very beautiful and calms your mind. So much of fresh, clean & clear unpolluted water flowing in this river. The famous Wangdu Dsong we went inside and a security guard took us for a complete tour of the place.After finishing visiting Wangdu Dzong we returned back again passing through Punaka and Dochu La.It was becoming dark & very cold by the time we returned back to the Hotel by 8 P.M. Night. The next day was our last day in Bhutan & we had to leave in the morning from Thimphu to Siliguri.

Beautiful Bridge Across the River


  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Great Job !!!!!!

  • drtaher says:

    Good write-up. Will await your further installments!

  • Nandan says:

    I think this log answers some of the questions which I had about Thimpu. Great going.

    I think the next one is due soon.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi MN,

    The detailed information is so very interesting.

    Your description about missing the check post and being followed by the police guy – real captivating, though I would contest painting the ‘southern neighbouring country’ so dismally. ..My summer visit to Munsiyari (via Pithoragarh/Dharchula)…we came across an almost impassable situation, when this constable late in night came all the way, did more tha he could do and he never accepted any gratitude ( kya baat kar rahey hai! Hamara kaam hai naagriko ko madad dena!!!))

    Is it that we are letting our cynicism take charge of us? I don’t have an answer.

    Following you,

  • MN says:

    Hi Aurojit,

    These are my personal comments on corruption and I did it with the present on-going situation in this country in all states. Take a daily news paper there is an article on corruption everyday and in massive size not few hundred thousand bucks but in crores of rupees.

    Corruption is like Cancer & it is spreading every where..even a person who is straight forward is being persuaded to do corruption for money if he compromises his ideals & belief to make that extra quick money and have wealth & better a life one believes in over night success comes after 20 years of hard & dedicated work..

    Please know in India coruption isin’t just all about few road side cops standing like beggars taking or not taking few bucks which they do on regular basis, it is about the entire nation – Police, Judiciary, Politicians enticing voters with freebies, Armed Forces, Govt offices, Private MNCs & Indian MNCs, you name it. Hope you would not have forgotten IAC – India Agianst Corruption & Anna Hazare where the entire nation one day woke up & said enough is enough..and now what..people have just forgotten and moved on.

    Please know that on my return journey I passed through Chennai at almost 11.45 pm mid night on my return day-15 and I am sharing with you an experience. I had halted at a junction to take a break & speak to my friend HVK. We came across a big open lorry that was carrying cattle to slaughter houses in Kerala, these animals are jampacked in the lorry inhuman conditions and taken from Andhra, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu to Kerela. Most of these trucks do not have any permits, number plates missing etc. I saw 2 cops of bike chasing these trucks and they stopped the truck just a few feet in front of me.

    The cops were shouting at the truk driver why he had not stopped when asked to stop earlier. They had to chase behind for few kms and had stopped. There was heated arguments and the truker & his cleaner were also talking back. Further arguments back & forth cops asking the driver to turn around come to the police station…a hand sticks out from the cleaner side with Mahatma Gandhi notes the cops count it find it accpetable in propertion to the crime / breaking the law and against the official fine versus the pay off and decide the amount is right & wave the truck on without issuing any receipt..I had almost taken my camera to video record immediately as the entire scene was happenning right under a well lit street light, only my wife said no..forget it we need to reach home safe..please note that this is still going on day-in and day out even today in all states. Welcome to India..

    I can share another case where cops in Rajasthan wait on highways and look out for out of state vehicles and catch those cars which dont have the strip of yellow sticker on the right had side of your headlight..they say it is mandatory to have this when driving thru RJ..hope you are aware of this next time if you decide to drive in RJ it isint necessarily apply to RJ cars as they are local.

    So any one of case of exception of coming across a good cop like they show in Singam movie is your good karma..

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi MN,

    seem to have touched a nerve…not intended and seeking pardon .

    Actually, issue of corruption does evoke strong feelings in every Indian. This all pervading affliction is something which, apart from hindering national growth, is also a cause of utmost shame to us as individuals. Anna phenomenon brought that out abundantly. The current turn of events related to Team Anna members further queer the pitch – one doesnot even know whether this a nuanced onslaught by the reigning powers or real skeletons tumbling out…

    Defending this corrupt system was not my point….rather, how do we keep our heads above water here…..and I do strongly believe that an overarching cynicism is not the way out….because this attitude, I feel, does also negatively impact our own faith system, or should we say this erodes our good senses and ability to find positive things around us….
    Well that is not an answer to your hurt feelings, just that that is how I look at the rot…keep telling myself that roses are bound to be there among thorns… perhaps not the correct attitude….


    And Happy Deepavali


  • MN says:

    Hi Ghumakkar Family members,

    Wishing you & all your family a very Happy Diwali. May this festival of light & sound bring you lots of Happiness & Prosperity.

    For those who wish to read a detailed version of the trip to Bhutan – kindly click on this link and you will see a detailed blog with complete minute details of the trip.


  • Vibha says:

    Happy Diwali to you too MN. Hope you and your family had loads of fun…

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