Travels in Bhutan

by Aniket Pant January. 13, 2017 1640 views

From Nathu-La, looking into Tibet


 I almost started a war once.

Actually it was my sister's fault – at twelve years she was the older by three years. So she must take the blame.

We were on one of our regular trips into Bhutan with our parents. We usually travelled via Yatung in Tibet through Ha and Pa to Paro in Bhutan. We had stopped at Nathu – La the pass between Sikkim and Tibet for a picnic lunch. We had already been on the road for four days from Gangtok and at the 14,000 feet pass both of us were exhilarated by the altitude and the scenery before us. We started throwing stones down the valley into Tibet and were entranced by the way they bounced down the steep slope.

Lake Changu, on the ascent to Nathu-La


With Nehru and Indira Gandhi at Changu


Little did we know...

Our exuberance was taken as an “act of aggression” by India against the sovereign state of China. A formal protest note was sent via Beijing to the Foreign Office in Delhi.

In such cases the accused country normally rejects such an accusation as a “total fabrication” and a barrage of counter-accusations results. Turns out the Indian Foreign Secretary had been with us for the trip and had joined in the fun. Since he knew the real story he formally accepted the protest and admitted that yes, indeed, it had been an act of aggression.

Which left the Chinese ambassador quite bewildered. He had no idea that the “aggression” was actually just two children having fun and had no instructions on how to proceed!

I suppose all must have been straightened out – someone higher up in the Chinese hierarchy must also have had a sense of the absurd – since I remained un-incarcerated.

Such were our trips into Bhutan so many years ago. I hope the following images, taken 60 years ago, give you a flavour of this beautiful land as it was then.

Welcome into the valley - monks blowing trumpets


Dancers would precede us into the town as welcome...


..all the way to the rest house


Giant Thanka at Ha Dzong


The "Black Hat" dance


Our luggage


With the Royal Family in Paro. The young lad in the front row is the present King Father of Bhutan


Archery contest in Paro


First experience of radio - central Bhutan

Royal palace - Paro


Tak Sang monastery




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Maura Elko 4 years, 3 months ago

Wow very interesting. Are you originally from Bhutan?

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Aniket Pant Replied to Maura Elko 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks - glad you liked the story

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 4 years, 3 months ago

Amazing and funny story of life. Looking at these pictures is if I am living inside what happened so many years ago. So cool to see Indira and Nehru - two historical figures of our modern days.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Aniket Pant Replied to Antonio Gil 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Antonio - glad you liked the post.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Trilokprakash Nanda 4 years, 3 months ago

You must put your name stamp on all the photos you publish online or anywhere else. They should not be reused without your permission.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Aniket Pant Replied to Trilokprakash Nanda 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes. I do on some of them; but I need to be more consistent. Thanks for the reminder.

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Trilokprakash Nanda 4 years, 3 months ago

Lovely memories Aniket mama. Thanks for sharing :)

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
Aniket Pant Replied to Trilokprakash Nanda 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Trilok. Glad you liked the story!

4 years, 3 months ago Edited
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