Photographer/filmmaker Nitesh has undertaken a peace trip from India to Vietnam on his trusty bike.
Looks like things are happening for a reason. De Paix Yatra was meant to be in Bhutan. Now whenever I hear the word Bhutan, alag che (it’s different) comes to mind. Last Saturday (October 13) was the first wedding anniversary of the present king of Bhutan. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Tarayana Foundation organised an art and children’s event for the same. As soon as we entered, the first thing we noticed was a cap collecting competition. Kids were asked to collect the caps of bottles which are used once.
A smart way to reuse bottles which can go straight for recycling after their first use only. We were trying to find other interesting things and we heard the announcement of Bhutan’s Prime Minister Jigme Thinley arriving. Somehow I got a feeling that we were going to meet both the Prime Minister and Bhutan’s Princess Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck. We requested Chime P Wangdi, Secretary General, Tarayana Foundation to introduce us to the Princess if possible. Soon after Princess Sonam smiled and walked towards me. The first thing she said was, “We are honoured to have you guys in Bhutan and you are doing an amazing journey”. I started briefing her about the journey and objective and she said to me “Be humble, to do noble. And you guys are doing the same. I can feel it.”
We were about to leave when the PM walked towards us. Princess Sonam introduced him and he said “Wonderful work.” He was in a hurry so Parth requested him to give a 30-second message on camera about ‘Gross National Happiness’. He smiled as he walked away and came back to us 15 minutes later and said “You have earned my 30 seconds as you are doing good work.” We were so thrilled at that moment.
We went to Paro from Thimphu. One of the best places I have ever seen. the Tourism Council of Bhutan arranged for our stay in a 300-year-old village house so we could experience the countryside. Our host Om, receives more than 100 guests every day who come to see her house. It’s the only house in Paro left to give a rural experience of Bhutan. She was an amazing host and fed us like her own kids. So, we left Bhutan with an unexpected incredible experience.
By the way, we have to skip Myanmar. The Embassy of Myanmar informed us that entering their country by land is not allowed. You can just fly in and out. There are several restricted area within Myanmar where biking is not possible. We reached Kolkata on our bikes yesterday and by the time you will read this article we will be in our flight to Bangkok. Stay tuned to know what happens with us in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.