Mist and mystique: Buddhism in Bhutan – Photos
In our weekly look at travel through Instagram, Conor MacNeill captures the serenity and dramatic landscapes of the Himalayan kingdom.
After leaving Thimphu, I headed into the countryside, where I found monasteries, stupas, prayer wheels and prayer flags dotted around even the remotest areas.
I was surprised by the beautiful, ornate architecture of the temples and shrines in Thimphu. The Dzong was rebuilt in 1962 by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
You can’t talk about Bhutan without mentioning the Buddhist monks. Rooted in the culture, they play an important role in the country. Vajrayana Buddhism is the main religion here, introduced in the eighth century by Guru Padmasambhava.
Stairway to heaven
Up in the mountains is the famous Paro Taktsang, often referred to as The Tiger’s Nest monastery. Built in 1692, this sacred Buddhist site sits at 3,120 metres above sea level and 900 metres above the Paro valley.
The foothills of the Himalayas are often shrouded in cloud, giving them a mystical feel. On days of almost no visibility, you can sometimes be rewarded with the tree-covered peaks breaking through the mist.
I had a lot of romanticised ideas about what I’d find during my first visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan but none of them included such a magnificent palace. This is a night view of Tashichho Dzong, the fortress in the capital Thimphu, seat of both the government and the monarchy.
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