Bhutan Travelogue

 '98 India Slide Show




 Dochu La Pass




 Back to Thimphu

 Wangdue Phodrang

 Thimphu Again

 Tiger's Nest


 West Bengal




 Email Me...

Phil's All Embracing
Bhutan Slide Show


The following slide show is a result of a three week journey to Bangkok, Bhutan and West Bengal, India that took place in March of 2003. For the past several years, I have been working with a Buddhist Lama in the Mahamudra/Vajarayana tradition, Lama Palden Drolma, in Marin County, CA. And in late 2002, she announced that she'd like to do a pilgrimmage to Bhutan, a land of numerous temples and sacred sites in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to go.

Lama Palden was a long time student of the Kalu Rinpoche, and one of the first western women Lamas. She was married for several years to a Bhutanese Rinpoche, Benchen Khenpo, and resided for four years in Thimphu, Bhutan's capital. In that time, she spent much time with Kalu Rinpoche and the 16th Karmapa, so naturally, she has a strong karmic connection to Bhutan. This would be her first visit back in over 20 years, and a group of 13 people joined her in the journey.

Bhutan is a tiny country socked inbetween the giants of India and China, east of Nepal and Sikkim. It is the oldest continuous Buddhist kingdom in the world, and a land seated entirely within the Himalayas. It is a very tiny kingdom, smaller than the state of Massachussetts in land area, and is comprised of a mere 600,000 citizens. But its history in the religion of Vajrayana Buddhism is legendary, forming the backdrop for the sadhana and stories of some of Buddhism's most famous realizers - Padmasambhava, Milarepa, and most notably Drugpa Kunley, the "Divine Madman" and patron saint of Bhutan.

The theme of our journey was pilgrimmage, to visit the numerous temples and sacred spots throughout western and central Bhutan. Travel within Bhutan is not easy, as approximately 95% of the roads in the country are windy, one lane roads cut into the sides of the Himalayas. Our trip in Bhutan culminated in a journey to Tiger's Nest, a nearly inaccessible cliffside temple above a cave where Padmasambhava and Milarepa meditated. We then left the mountains of Bhutan for those of West Bengal, India to visit the shrine of Kalu Rinpoche, as well as to have an audience with Bokar Rinpoche, the current head of Shampa Kagyu lineage.

Our trip was setup by Lingkor Tours, a Bhutanese travel agency run by Benchen Khenpo, Lama Palden's ex-husband. Benchen Khenpo is a highly connected individual in Bhutan and can open doors for tourists that other agencies may not be able to, and I give them two thumbs up for their setup and service during the trip.

Photographic Information

After my previous journey to India, I vowed that next time I was going digital, and that I did. I brought along a Minolta Dimage 7i, a "prosumer" 5.0 megapixel camera. It is a nice combination of features and value and has a built-in 28-200mm lens for both wide-angle and zoom shots, which I used quite often. I was happy with its results and I highly recommend it.

Slide Showing Particulars and Viewing Tips

The following slideshow is a webified version of a digital slide show that I have given to friends and fellow Buddhists. There are about 196 pages in the following show, consisting of two 400 pixel shots with text descriptions. Each picture is linked to an enlarged duplicate, so please click on any image for a larger view on the following pages.

You may click on the Back or Next buttons and links at the top-left and bottom of each page to navigate through the show a page at a time, or click on any text link in the yellow side-bar to go directly to the slides for that city or area. The enlarged pictures pages have navigational buttons to bring you back to the previous page or to go to the next page of 400 pixel shots.

Now that I've blabbed enough, enjoy the show. Click on Next or the next icon below to begin, which starts with a few slides of Bangkok.

If you wish, you can skip over the Bangkok pix and go right to Bhutan.