On day four post a fabulous lunch at the Gangtey Goempa Lodge, we started on our journey to Punakha. En route we drove by Lobesa where we noticed that the local homes done up in the typical traditional Bhutanese style, had one glaring difference. They all had paintings of phalluses on the outside walls. Vijay our guide explained that we were in the fertile valley of Lobesa which borders Thimphu, Punakha and the Wangdue Phodrang districts.
After spending an extraordinary two nights at the Taj Tashi in Thimphu, we set out early on Tuesday for Gangtey. We had been pre-warned that across Bhutan there are hectic road widening projects underway as a result of which one has to carefully time ones commute from one city to the next as many roads are being widened and access through these roads are based on government set timings.
Paro International Airport Bhutan (aerial view)
Beyond that magical place where the sky and the earth meet, there lies a mystical Himalayan Kingdom, Bhutan. As we journeyed last week through Druk Yul or the land of the Thunder Dragon, we experienced an almost unimaginable spiritual awakening.
“Does God have a swimming pool in heaven?”, I would ask my mother when I was very little. She would always answer ‘yes’ and would say that God did have the most beautiful swimming pool ever. I always loved the way she would take her time to describe God’s swimming pool. She would say the pool in paradise was clear with the bluest of blue, turquoise coloured water and that it was as big as an ocean. She would talk about how it was surrounded by white beaches with velvet smooth sand grains which would feel like soft talcum powder when you cupped it in your fist. She would talk about green swaying palm trees and coconuts which carried in their green shells, water which was sweeter than sugar.
For the August 15th weekend, we chose to travel within India. After a short early morning flight from Mumbai, we landed in Managalore, a little after 10:00 am. A hotel car was waiting to drive us to Bekal, a small town on the shores of north Kerala , a state in South India. The drive from Mangalore airport to Kasaragod district, where the Taj Vivanta Bekal is located, was quite picturesque with vast expanses of coconut trees and river crossings. Kasaragod is bounded by the Western ghats in the east and the Arabian sea in the west and has twelve rivers flowing across its terrain. On account of extensive road work, our drive stretched on for an extra 30 minutes, but we did not complain as we let our eyes soak in the local surroundings.