Experiencing past & present of Port Blair

Are you a mountain or a beach person? All of us have encountered this cliché question one or the other time. There are numerous options if you are the former one. But if you are in love with the sea waves, Andaman is a must-visit. Port Blair, the capital city, known for serene beaches, adventure water activities & its historic significance, attracts a huge number of sea lovers every year.

Ok, now how to reach Port Blair?

You can reach Port Blair either by airways or waterways. Veer Savarkar Airport, the international airport in the islands, is well connected with the major cities of India. If you want to explore a 3-4 days’ journey by the sea, you can travel through ships that sail to Port Blair from Kolkata, Chennai & Visakhapatnam a few times every month.

View from flight

The advantage of a flight journey is the exciting view of the islands, which look like green patches surrounded by the infinite blue ocean.

As you land at the Port Blair Airport, you will find a counter of Andaman Tourism. They provide pamphlets with details of tourist places, transportation, stays, water sports, hotels & contact details, which turns out to be quite helpful in exploring the city.

Sunset at Corbyn’s Cove beach

Corbyn’s Cove Beach

I reached Port Blair around mid-noon, so the evening was reserved  for the Corbyn’s Cove beach. You can reach the beach by personal vehicle or use easily available autorickshaws. The beach entrance & pathways were decorated with shimmering lights. I settled down on the pavement to enjoy the serene sunset. The presence of a large number of folks on the beach indicated the onset of the tourist season. 

Few kids were dancing on a trampoline nearby, young folks carving their names on the sand & old people sharing laughter with their comrade, was it the magical effect of the sea breeze?

A trip to Corbyn’s Cove is incomplete without exploring the delicious seafood. Food stalls at the entrance of the beach are waiting to fulfill this desire with a wide variety of seafood.

Stories of Indian freedom fighters at Cellular Jail

Cellular Jail

Cellular jail reveals the story of our country’s struggle for Independence. A national memorial now & a colonial jail in the past, it was the home of exiled political prisoners. I had read numerous stories about the atrocities committed on the freedom fighters in the jail. While it’s difficult to imagine the life of the fighters in the confined cells, a visit to the same will give you a glimpse of their struggle. 

Life of freedom fighters

The galleries, small cells make you filled with utter respect for the people who sacrificed their entire lives to win the freedom we enjoy today.

The three warriors

A light and sound show reveals the story of hardships as seen by the trees & cells of the jail. A journey to the past in the presence of glittering stars in the night sky made me wonder how I take the free gifts of my life for granted.

Love water sports? Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex is for you!

If you love the adrenaline rush, you must not miss adventure water sports in Andaman. Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex in Port Blair is the go-to for every adventure lover. From jet skiing, parasailing to a banana boat ride, you can experience a wide range of water sports at the complex. I chose jet skiing & the thrill while gliding over the sea waves was unparalleled. 

Strolling on the pathways of the complex in the evening, the music & lights from a remote place caught my attention. Driven by curiosity, I landed up in the flea market. It was a weekend market with local handicrafts, produce & cuisine. Searching for perfect gifts for family & friends, I ended up near a stage where a little girl was singing Bollywood songs. Irrespective of where you go in India, some things unite us.

British architecture & wildlife at Ross Island

Water filtration plant

A 15 minutes ride from the sports complex takes you to Ross Island (Now known as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Dweep). Known for its diverse wildlife, beautiful beach & ruins from the British era which take you to another time, Ross Island is a feast to the eyes. The splashing ride from the complex to the island gives you memories for a lifetime. 

Ross Island

The ruins of past architecture, which includes a church, swimming pool, government office, water treatment plant, give you a sense of the majestic life led by Britishers there. A small sanctuary, green lush pond, man caves & the green tropical trees are other catchy jewels of the island.

The unique thing about the island is it not being open to civil settlements. While you may be disappointed as the wish to spend a beautiful night on Ross island can not be fulfilled, it has helped in preserving it to its natural state. The impact is clearly visible in the form of freely roaming deers, peacocks & clean surroundings.

Beach at Ross Island

While roaming on the island, I found the cleanest & most beautiful beach I had ever seen. The water was crystal clear blue with no signs of human intrusion in the form of garbage cans.

Ruins of past at Ross Island

You can either walk on your own, which is convenient given the informational boards put up near every important site, or take a ride in an electric cart, available at the entrance.

You can book a public boat or a private ferry to the islands & combo trip packages with North Bay island are also available.

With the benefits of the combo pack, next, I was on my way to the North Bay island.

The lighthouse on twenty rupees note in North Bay

North Bay Island

The north bay island is known for water sports activities, its greenery & a lighthouse that marks its presence on the twenty rupees Indian currency note! Surprised? Well, I was too, for how we miss the small details & for the significance of the island.

As you reach North Bay, numerous stalls providing water sports facilities & some selling food & craft items are visible. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and glass-bottom rides are a few of the underwater sports available.

Lighthouse at North Bay

Owing to my curious nature, I started following the pathway leading to the lighthouse. It takes you to the base of the lighthouse, sadly which is now closed for tourists. The view of the sea, beach, and the horizon from the base is beautiful. Rejoicing the cool sea breeze, “I would die for” view & colorful memories, I started my journey back.

Some tips:

How to reach Port Blair

Airways: Veer Savarkar International Airport (Port Blair) is connected to major cities in India. 

Waterways: 3-4 sailings from Kolkata, Chennai & 1 from Visakhapatnam to Port Blair happens every month. It is a 3-4 days journey & bookings can be done at the Shipping Corporation Offices in these cities.

Best Time to visit: October – May

Must Carry:

Sunscreen, Identity proof, Sufficient Cash (Only cash is accepted for on spot ferry booking), Swimwear

Water Sports available:

Scuba Diving, Sea Walk, Sea Kart, Snorkeling, Jet Skiing, Glass Bottom Ride, Banana Ride, Parasailing

A day in the city of joy: Kolkata

Kolkata, the city of joy, Rabindra sangeet, sweet rasogulla, vibrant Durga Puja, and grand architecture, is the perfect canvas of Indian culture & traditions. Having spent a few memorable years of my childhood in West Bengal, I have witnessed the grandeur of the city several times. The images of me hopping from one pandal to another during Durga Puja & collecting the tasty prasadam during Shitla Puja are still fresh in my mind. How would the city look after 15 years? With this curiosity, I started my one-day trip to Kolkata.

 Does old architecture provide you solace or spirituality is the food for your soul or is it the adrenaline rush, maybe the street food? Kolkata has something to offer for everyone.  

Howrah station welcomes you!

Howrah Bridge at night

Step your foot on the platform of Howrah station, and with a swarm of people, Kolkata welcomes you. Outside the station, just across the road is the mighty Hooghly river. Take a look up, and your eyes meet the majestic Howrah Bridge. And with this starts your day in the city of joy.

Victoria Memorial

Victoria Memorial

Love monuments & historic sites? Grab the famous yellow taxi or take a bus ride from Howrah station, and there you are at the Victoria Memorial. The vast marble museum consists of various galleries with paintings and artifacts from the era of British colonial rule in India. With paintings of renowned artists like Nandalal Bose, John Fleming, many manuscripts, and rare photographs of the past era, it stands as a connecting link between the past and present.

Belur Math

Belur Math

A train, metro, bus, choose the most convenient & nearest commute option available, and a few minutes later, you land in Belur. Asking the locals, crossing streets, and here you are at Belur Math. The official headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Belur Math was established by the man who introduced the world to Indian religions and culture, Swami Vivekananda.

 The huge campus of the Math consists of the main Math, several temples & the Ramakrishna Museum. The museum takes you through a beautiful journey to discover various old artifacts & pictures associated with Math. If you are interested in spirituality, a few days of stay at the Math is a viable option.

Dakshineshwar

Dakshineswar Temple

If it is your first visit to Kolkata, you must not miss a ferry ride. While there are several places that the ferry can take you to, but if you are interested in visiting religious sites, Dakshineswar is your destination. Situated on the banks of Hooghly River, Dakshineswar Kali Temple is a renowned temple for Hindus. The grand temple with magnificent architecture and a large courtyard is devoted to Goddess Kali.

Nicco Park

Wet-O-Wild, Nicco Park

As a child, many of us dream of visiting Disneyland. If you still enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster or a skydiver ride, you are welcome to the craziest part of the city, Nicco Park. From the bull ride, water coaster, mirror maze, river cave, the park offers above 35 rides & includes a water park too. The roller coaster & the skydiver, which drops you down from about 80 feet, was a thrilling experience.

Caution: Going for the roller coaster, do remember to keep your spectacles away safely or else be ready to lose it like me.

Eden Garden

Sourav Ganguly Stand, Eden Garden

As an Indian, I grew up to witness cricket being an inseparable part of our lives. During my childhood days in West Bengal, a lost match in the world cup was followed by the closure of the market for a day while winning a match led to the distribution of Sandesh (A Bengali dessert). A visit to Eden Garden was a must for me. The stadium is one of the largest & oldest cricket stadiums in the world & is commonly referred to as the “Mecca of Indian Cricket”. Being the host of several matches, including world cups, Eden Garden stadium stands a witness to the craze cricket creates in the state.

Park Street: The never sleeping street

Park Street

As the sun is ready to part ways, it is time to explore the street that never sleeps. Park Street, the famous thoroughfare in Kolkata, is the hub of restaurants, shopping malls & 5-star hotels. The best place to explore Bengali cuisine, the well-decorated street is a feast to the eyes during festive times such as Diwali & Christmas. This hub for youngsters has rich historic significance too. The street runs through what was a deer park long back & is the address of renowned landmarks including the Park Hotel, St. Xavier’s College & Asiatic society.

Park Street on Christmas

Bengali Cuisine

Royal Bengali Thali

Bengali cuisine needs a special mention. While Rasogulla & Machh are quite famous, a visit to Kolkata is incomplete without enjoying the perfect Bengali thali. As a child, I loved Shukto (a curry vegetable preparation) & puchka. While I relived my childhood by enjoying these delicacies, you must try Sondesh, Jhal muri, Misti doi & chingri maach.

As the sun set, my one day trip to Kolkata came to a halt. With beautiful memories of the past & present, I parted ways, planning for another trip to explore this land of sweetness.

Some Tips:

How to reach

Airways: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, located around 17 km from Kolkata city, is well connected with other major Indian & International cities.

Railways: Howrah station is the main railway station. Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar & Kolkata railway stations are a few others connecting the city.

Road: State-owned & private bus facilities connect the Kolkata to other cities. Bus services to Bhutan & Bangladesh are also available.

Best time to visit: October – February

Must Eat: Sondesh, Rasogulla, Mishti Doi, Jhal Muri, Macher Jhol

Cost: Kolkata is quite an affordable city. You will find cheap stays to 5-star luxury hotels & the same goes for restaurants. The one-day expedition cost me around INR 5,000.

Transport: Each & every point in the city is accessible either by metro, bus, taxi rentals, or rickshaws. 

Top events

Durga Puja (Sep-Oct)

Kolkata International Cinema Festival (Nov)

International Kolkata Book Fair (Jan-Feb)

National Theatre Festival (Dec)

Dover Lane Music Festival (Jan)

Ikigai: The pathway to a better life

The world is full of information and distractions. The former has the power to make your life easier if you can swim through the ocean of the latter. Books that introduce you to your very roots & teach you how to lead your life in the best way are gems to be preserved. Ikigai is one such gem, which has gained wide recognition in recent times.

What is Ikigai?

Is there a magical way to transform our lives? How do people in certain countries, cities seem to be leading a more peaceful and happy life? Well, the spell is cast by the lifestyle & traditions practiced in these regions for decades. Ikigai introduces us to this magic.

I was searching for options for my next read, when one of my friends suggested, “Ikigai”. Checking the reviews, I was a bit surprised by the immense impact the book has made in the lives of people across the globe. Once I started reading the book, I got the answer.

Finding your Ikigai

“Ikigai” is a Japanese word that means “a reason for being”.  Each one of us has our ikigai. While you might be wondering, what is my ikigai? If you have this question, your ikigai is hidden deep within you, waiting to be discovered. The process for finding your reason for being is a story for another day!

Learnings from Ikigai for a better life

The book provides simple practices followed by people in a few Japanese communities, which ensure a more healthy, productive & contented life.

1.  The 80% rule

Each one of us has experienced the sweet sleep induced by a heavy meal.  While an extra pie or a gulab jamun after a heavy lunch seems to be harmless, it leads to accelerated cellular oxidation. This fuels early aging & causes health implications.

The solution is simple yet very impactful. Follow the 80% rule that means eat till your stomach is 80 % full. Wondering if there is any mechanism to measure if your stomach is 50% or 80% or 100% full? The easy way is to stop eating as soon as you start feeling full & you will approximately achieve the 80% mark.

2. Stay connected, stay happy

Family & Friends = Long life

My mother used to push my introvert self to make friends & stay connected with people. She used to state a quote by Aristotle, “He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is enough for himself, must be either a beast or a god.”

There is a lot of scientific research behind the concept of happiness induced by the company of friends and family.

So, stay connected with your family, friends, meet new people & be approachable. I know it may sound challenging for people who find it difficult to say hello to the next person, but there is no harm in taking small steps at a time.

I started by joining an online travel community and being part of volunteering activities. It has helped me in taking small steps towards building lasting connections.

3. Health = Wealth

The wonders exercise, good diet, meditation, yoga, and a healthy lifestyle can do to our body & mind needs no mention.

Mind

Stress due to professional responsibilities & personal issues is also a result of running our daily routine in an autopilot mode. Watching tv while having a meal was a must for me. As a result, I could hardly recall what I had for breakfast by evening.

Many of us have similar habits. In the desire to be a multitasker, we lose much-needed mindfulness. I don’t deny the fact that some of us might have the ability to perform many tasks with the desired levels of productivity. But are we the one, is the question we need to ask ourselves.

Meditation = Mind Workout

To develop mindfulness & keep our think tank healthy check out a few pointers.

  • Meditation (Or mind workout)
  • Sleep enough (7-9 hours)
  • Stay positive
  • Celebrate small moments in life

Body

Exercise, Exercise & Exercise.

But what to do if there is no gym nearby?

A few minute changes in your daily life can keep your body fit & fine.

  • Take the stairs instead of lifts
  • Play with kids, pets or join a sport
  • Soak in the sunshine for a few minutes every day
  • Change your posture after every 30 minutes
  • Yoga practices like sun salutation (Surya Namaskar)
  • Breathing practices or Pranayama

Diet

Rainbow plate
  • Eat healthily & avoid the junk, but most importantly, know the effect of what you eat.
  • Create a rainbow plate: Eat wide varieties of vegetables & fruits that are of different colors.
  • Include food & beverages rich in antioxidants, like carrots, tofu, and green tea, in your diet.

4. Create a flow

Is there any task that makes you forget the chaos of the outer world? Any activity which you can do for hours without getting exhausted?

Such tasks create a flow within you, which leads to the best output. For example, I can paint for hours without getting tired. Now, not all of us have jobs that create a flow-on its own. But a few steps can help you generate one.

Take up a challenging task

One task at a time (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

A difficult task helps. But what if you do not have the privilege to choose the task?

Even if you have to perform activities, which seem mundane, you can convert it into a microflow. A new term for me too, it means creating a set of steps for performing any task and trying to complete them in the best way possible.

How about trying to clean the utensils in the best way possible next time?

Be clear about the motive behind the task

How can a porter make pottery if she doesn’t have a clue of the desired results? It’s essential to know your goal before any task. But, once you have started working, don’t get obsessed with the results.

Does an athlete keep wondering about the beauty of the medal once the race starts?

One task at a time

But how? Simple, reduce distractions.

  • Limit your social media time.
  • Avoid checking the phone first thing in the morning.
  • On a weekend go for a tech fast or stay away from gadgets for a few hours a day. I tried this for a few Sundays, by locking my phone and laptop in the drawer. I spent the entire day painting, cooking, spending time with my parents, in short, doing things I love.
  • Combine tasks that need the same kind of resources and do them simultaneously.
  • Follow the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of break). This turned out to be quite helpful for me as concentrating for long hours seems a challenge.

5.  Be antifragile

Focus on the goal

Or be stronger when external forces try to harm you. A few mechanisms to develop antifragility:

Don’t put all your eggs in a single basket

In professional life, it can mean having an alternative source of income by turning a hobby into one possibly.

In the personal domain, I leave that to individual interpretations. For me, it means not relying on one friend/one connection entirely.

Take risks

Calculated, well thought through risks are essential for continuous growth.

No space for fragility inducers

Say no to social media addiction

I had a habit of scrolling through my Instagram page for hours and checking my mail every next hour. Just get rid of such habits, toxic people and, the environment. At first, it may seem hard, as we get comfortable in their presence. But clearing the space for good things to come, isn’t that worth the sacrifice?

I am trying to implement many of these learnings in my own life and it has made a significant impact. already. “Wired Tales” is an outcome of these. But it’s an ongoing process.

Do try these learnings in your day to day life & witness the magic of Ikigai.

And yes, Ikigai is indeed a must-read.

Bhutan: Where happiness knows no bounds

If I had one wish to make, I would ask for happiness! With its natural beauty, peaceful aura, and as one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan was a natural attraction to me. I was thrilled when things finally fell into place & I was going to visit the mystic land.

Most of my trips have been unplanned. One day, I was discussing with my friends about utilizing our upcoming holidays and a couple of days later we were on a train to Bhutan.

Reaching Phuntsholing: The border town 

Traveling through trains and cabs, we reached Jaigaon, the border city between India and Bhutan. The moment I stepped inside Phuntsholing, the grand entrance, stark level of cleanliness, and vibrant outfits marked the onset of a different culture.

The grand entrance, Phuntsholing

We reached Bhutan in the first week of October 2019. The upcoming three days (8-10 Oct) were going to be celebrated as the Thimphu Tshechu festival, which is a national holiday in Bhutan. The long lines and frenzy crowd at the permit office indicated the craze of this festival.

We started our journey to Paro and the four-hour-long drive was accompanied by lush greenery and hills capped with clouds. We had booked a homestay through Airbnb. The traditional Bhutanese interiors and old artifacts used as home décor provided us a first-hand experience of the local lifestyle. Surrounded by green fields, hills, and a river flowing nearby, the view from the balcony of the house was breath-taking.

View from the balcony

We spent the evening walking around the banks of the Paro river and I slept off gazing at the stars from the balcony with the night sky as my blanket.

Climb to the Tiger’s Nest 

The next day was planned for a hiking trip to Paro Taktsang, known as the Tiger’s Nest. It is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan and is situated at a height of over 900 meters above the Paro Valley. According to some folklore Guru Padmasambhava, a renowned Buddhist guru, and the founder of Tibetan Buddhism reached the Taktsang on the back of a tigress.

We got up early and were embraced with a drizzling sky. After praying for a clear sky for a few hours, we decided to start our expedition to the base of the mountain in our cab. There are many adorable gift shops at the base of the hike.

Unable to resist the colourful craft items, we ended up buying a few souvenirs & sticks for support. As we moved upwards it started raining again and the path turned slippery. Taking a few breaks between, we reached the praying wheels which have been built before the halfway point. With green valleys, miniature homes, and the clouded sky above, the scenery was unparalleled, and we waited to witness the magnificence.

Halfway to Tiger’s Nest

We reached a spot higher in altitude than the monastery and climbed around 700 steps down and 250 steps up to reach the entrance. The final steps are taken over a bridge passing through a waterfall that flows down to a sacred pool.

Once, I entered the temple, the peaceful atmosphere, and the sound of mantras induced a soothing effect. We joined a tour group inside the temple, led by one of the members of the monastery. After spending a few hours in tranquility and enjoying the holy food — Prasad, we started our journey back.

Tiger’s Nest

On reaching the halfway, we looked back to catch a last glimpse of the monastery. The grace of the temple had been amplified by a bright rainbow at the backdrop, and we felt blessed to have captured this view. The entire hike took us around 6 hours.

Mystic rainbow in front of Tiger’s Nest

On our way back, the cab driver shared folktales based on the Tiger Nest, about the massive destruction caused by a fire in 1998, and the efforts of the local people who made its revival possible. I was amused by the resilience of the people of this charming country.

Exploring past & present of Paro city 

Paro International Airport

We relished Bhutanese cuisine consisting of Ema Datshi (a preparation of chilies and cheese) and red rice at the homestay at night. The next day was planned for local sightseeing in Paro. We enjoyed the scenic sight of Paro International Airport, sat on the bank of Paro river and rejoiced the music of flowing water. Next we got dressed up in traditional Bhutanese attire near Nyamai Zam bridge, and explored Rinpung Dzong Monastery. While we were enjoying the lush valleys and soothing music of the country in our cab, an iron bridge across the Paro river caught our attention.

Traditional Bhutanese attire

We were astonished to know that the bridge dated back to the 1400s. It was a gateway to reach the Tachogang Lhakhang temple. The bridge though was not open for usage by tourists due to renovation work, and we took another nearby bridge to reach the monastery.

We finally went to take a tour of the local market, devoured delicious momos, and spent the evening exploring the city.

Thimphu Tshechu festival: A feel of royalty 

The next day we bode adieu to Paro and started our journey to the capital city, Thimphu. It took us about 1.5 hours by cab to reach our stay. We spent the evening strolling around in the city market. Being one of the most important tourist destinations in Bhutan, the market area was full of shops selling local craft items.

The next day, we visited the Tashichho Dzong, which is a Buddhist monastery and the central secretariat of the current Bhutanese government. Our trip schedule coincided with one of the biggest festivals in the country, Thimphu Tshechu. It is a 3-day celebration held at Tashichho Dzong in the city of Thimphu. I was amazed to see a huge swarm of people of diverse age groups, dressed in vibrant traditional Bhutanese outfits going to the Dzong.

Masked dance performance (Thempu Tsechu)

I couldn’t resist my curiosity and later discovered that tourists from different corners of the world visit Thimphu to be a part of these festivities. The celebrations have historic significance and are preceded with rituals aimed at invoking the local Gods. The festival is also attended by the members of the Royal family and despite my several attempts, I failed to get their glimpse. Witnessing the masked dance forms, listening to their folklore in the majestic atmosphere revived my childhood memories of watching TV series based on East Asian royal kingdoms. This feeling was strengthened by the sight of the royal palace outside the Dzong.

A few hours later we landed in the weekend market. With a long trail of shops filled with colorful crafts, textiles, gift items, and regional delicacies, it is a perfect place to buy souvenirs for family and friends.

Thimphu: Where tradition meets modernity 

The next day was the last day of our trip. With the desire to make the most of it, we started our hopping voyage from National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. It was built in remembrance of the third Bhutanese King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and also preserves beautiful mural arts.

National Memorial Chorten

The trip would have been incomplete had we not discovered the folk heritage & rural history of this lovely kingdom. With this desire, we entered the world of the Folk Heritage Museum. It preserves the lifestyle, culture of traditional Bhutan in the form of artifacts, utensils, home structures, and items used by the locals in their day-to-day life.

Seeking blessings from the Buddha Dordenma 

Throughout our stay in Thimphu, my eyes were fascinated by a gigantic statue of the Buddha situated far away on a hill. After climbing around 200 steps, I was about to give up, until I saw the calm expression on the face of the Buddha Dordenma. The grand statue which aims at bringing peace to the world and the view of the city from the courtyard was worth half an hour climb.

Inside the grand statue, we discovered thousands of bronze statues of Buddha of height ranging from 8-12 inches. The entire architecture, paintings, and the mesmerizing sound of prayers inside the statue was a feast to my soul. At the end of the day, we packed our bags and set off on our ride back.

Throughout this tour, I tried to find what made Bhutan one of the happiest nations, was it the grace of natural gorgeousness or the blessing of Buddha or something beyond? While I didn’t find the exact answer, talking to the local people made me realize the significance they put on living life in its natural form, respecting traditions and rejoicing in their festivals. My eyes met smiling faces every time I looked around.

This trip for me was a big step towards breaking the inner inhibitions for traveling. With vivid images of the people, places, traditions, and a feeling of calmness, Bhutan gave me memories to be cherished for a lifetime.

Some tips: 

How to reach Bhutan 

Train: There is no direct train service to Bhutan. Trains can be taken to New Alipurduar, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri Station or Hasimara followed by cab/bus to Jaigaon (Border city between India and Bhutan) 

Air Ways:  Paro (International Airport) is connected with Delhi, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Mumbai through connecting flights. Direct flights can be taken from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. 

Best time to visit 

March- May and October-December

Things to keep in mind 

Keep enough cash to be safe. We had difficulty in withdrawing money from the ATMs.

Indian currency (50 & 100 rupees denominations) is accepted across Paro and Thimphu.

Check if your Debit/Credit card is valid in Bhutan.

Citizens of India, Bangladesh & Maldives need to carry a Passport/ Voter Id card; for other nationalities visa is mandatory.

Respect the traditions & follow the local instructions if visiting a sacred site/ monastery.

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