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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Bhutan: 17 Best Places to Visit in 2017

Cable News Network (CNN) of the US has featured Bhutan as one of the 17 best places to visit in 2017. This isn’t surprising as Bhutan is sought after as one of the happiest countries in the world. Call the slogan stereotypic or to explore the land to discover the real essence of happiness is now choice of the travellers.  4B Tours and Treks will caters to efficient entry and give a cherishing guided tour in Bhutan.

“Not only does this mountainous Buddhist nation focus on happiness as a national indicator but by some accounts is the world's eco-friendliest nation. As of 2016, it was reported to be the world's first carbon negative country.” The article reads.
Jichu Drakey on Jomolhari Trek.

Bhutan by far is one of the greenest countries in the world with 72% of the total land attributed to forest cover, thus presenting a serene and clean natural environment. Having borne the harshness of cold winter in the temperate Bhutan, the spring would be full of blossoms. Basically, the passes and hills would soon be covered in the beauteous variety of the blooming rhododendrons. While the prayer flags would flutter in the warm yet clean breeze, the passes also would offer a wonderful glimpse of the northern snow-capped mountains. In to the woods, it is the songs of the birds that reverberates and by the valleys, peasants would be sowing the seeds of happiness in their field. And round the season, the rhythm of change would continue to flow. Though the summer’s rain would often obstruct the smooth ride, soon it would be over to finally welcome the season of festivity, bounty and colours.

Thimphu Tashi Choedzong

The Mystery of Masked Dances
From the intricately carved marvels of the magnificent dzongs and temples, one can hear the sounds of conch and trumpets, which calls for your attention. Having entered into it, one would be astonished to find the beauty of Buddhist arts, depicting the perilous flow of life between the various realms; everything is ephemeral, sending a strong message of impermanence. And there are grand festivals known as tsechus, which attract the largest audience, all in their best traditional attires. Tsechus instil the family values, unity and coexistence, and of course realization of the impermanence. The laymen and monks would perform the mask dances which are associated with the lives of various saints and masters and men and women would perform classical folk dances. Also filled are the wits and humours by the Clowns. It is time to rejoice realizing the impermanence.
The innocence of Kids
The patterns of fabrics.

And there are hamlets by the river valleys where farmers reap the fruits of their spring toils, singing with the rhythm of autumn winds. Up in the alpine meadows, our Yak herders graze their yaks amidst the floating clouds. There our sacred mountains submit to the skies and turquoise lakes reflect the glitters of permanent crystalline snows and glaciers. Trekking into such serene places would leave us in awe.
A typical Bhutanese dwelling. 


Bhutan definitely is one of the best places to visit, not only in 2017 but for all the time. And wondering how to proceed, contact 4B Tours and Treks at www.4btravels.com, which would cater every need of yours. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Destination Europe I: Stepping into Scandinavia

From the far flung Himalayan countryside of Bhutan, the academic journey has me destined to be in Europe. I don’t have much travel experiences outside Bhutan, though I am a travel freak as my profession of being forester dealing with wildlife and conservation, bridging community and biodiversity, etc.., obliges me to be one. My travel would often involve weeks of journey into Bhutan’s wilderness, walking on foot with basics necessities and foodstuffs on my backpack. Now having landed in Germany and for that matter in Europe for the first time, six months have already passed so swiftly.
Taking the Cruise to Copenhagen.

Studying in Europe offers an enriching experience, with its lure of different cultures, countries and experiences. Unlike travelling to the countries outside Europe where destination is bound to be a single country, entering a European country means gateway to diversity of culture, life and people in numerous countries, each having a distinct identity, charm and beauty.  The university where I go being located in the North-Eastern Germany, cities of neighbouring countries are quite far. Yet, during the last six months, I took the chance to visit some of the cities in Northern Europe, plunging myself into the array of lifestyles. Travelling is very convenient with efficient means of transport systems and logistics can be comfortably booked in one of the cheap hostels in the cities, wherein we share the room with many peoples, depending on our budget and choice.

1. Copenhagen: Capital of Denmark: I along with my international friends’ maid our first journey to city of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark on 29th August 2016, as it is the nearest city from our place. It took us little less than 12 hours to reach there, having to switch from train to bus to ferry. While in the city, we stayed in a 6 bedded hostel, and after decades of completing the schools, I had a nostalgic feeling of being back in the hostel dorms. The beds are double storeyed. Demark, by Happiness index is ranked the happiest country in the world, which is attributed to people appreciating the simple things in life. However, happiness in Copenhagen comes at a cost. I learnt that citizens are taxed heavily to take care of persons over all well-being. Consumer prices in Copenhagen are 37% higher than Berlin. Copenhagen is a pedestrian and cycle friendly city and going from one location to another could be comfortably done on foot.  I don’t have any special point of interests than just going around and seeing the places. We spent two days there and could visit many of the points of interests in the city; the Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, Castles, Palaces and Museums in the city vicinity.
 
Gate to Tivoli garden


Nyhvn

Christiansborg Palace

Rosenborg Castle

Amalienborg Palace

Little Mermaid
The city is immaculately clean, without any trashes and unpleasant smells. This coupled with the autumn colours where trees and natural environment attained the chromatic hue, the city gives us sense of happiness as well. If one thing I can take from the place, the sense of cleanliness would be valuable. Bhutan also need stringent rules to maintain our cities clean, and our people should willingly follow the rules. This way, the sense of cleanliness would also give more sense of happiness.

2. Malmo: City in Sweden: Malmo is just 45 minutes ride by bus from Copenhagen. We checked into Malmo during our second evening to have a glimpse of Sweden, a new country. We just spent around 9 hours in Malmo and basically roamed the city blindly. Scandinavian countries are best known for their cleanliness and efficient waste management systems in place. Like Copenhagen, Malmo is also a beautiful and clean city by the coastline, and it is also a waste conscious city. It’s now reported that Sweden is literally in short of waste to keep their waste regulating machines running, compelling them to import wastes. Also, seen along the coastline are the numerous wind turbines, thus generating clean and green energy. Such, exemplary developments from Scandinavian countries, if replicated in other world, would make the planet much safer and cleaner. 
City Buildings of Malmo

Canal in Malmo

Canal by the Night
For Bhutan, we are lucky to be blessed with numerous river systems, which help us generate enough energy. However, at the risk is the unlimited generation whereby we dam each and every river. In a couple of decades, I fear that the aquatic biodiversity would be at stake without a single river flowing in its natural rhythm. Sometimes, I feel that our developmental path is derailing from the renowned Gross National Happiness philosophy? Growth to what end? Until we finish damming all the rivers? It would be nice, if Bhutan also explore more on generating wind energy like Sweden. 

For the next trips, I moved Westwards. 

P.S (Pictures taken by the author)




Sunday, 8 January 2017

Manage Wastes to Prevent Fines

As 2016 came to an end, we saw a new beginning when it comes to combating waste in Bhutan. The Royal Government of Bhutan took a bold decision to implement the Waste Prevention and Management  Act of Bhutan, which was lying idly since its adoption in August 2009. The act has a strong purpose to protect and sustain human health through protection of the environment by:
  a) reducing the generation of waste at source;
  b) promoting the segregation, reuse and recycling of wastes
  c) disposal of waste in an environmentally sound manner; and
  d) effective functioning and coordination among implementing agencies.

But its better late then never or better safe then sorry. Inspired by the speech made by His Majesty the king where he stressed on the need to keep the places and environment of where we live clean and green, His Excellency the Prime Minister made a remarkable move to have a mass cleaning on 9th December 2017, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ascension of His Majesty to Golden Throne. It was a beautiful gesture to pay back to His Majesty's glorious reign thus far, a contribution put in by every citizens.
And came the executive orders to implement the Waste Prevention and Management Regulations 2012, which was never implemented effectively. The regulation besides establishing procedures for prevention and management of wastes, also have identified implementing agencies for the purpose of establishing a sound waste management system. It also have important provisions on fines and penalties for those who dump waste irresponsibly. Department of Forests and Park Services becomes one of the implementing agencies and therefore, Bhutanese Foresters has a duty to monitor and enforce the regulations, for the betterment of our surrounding environments.
Foresters are associated with fining because, taking advantage of our rich natural resources, our people often harvest the resources illegally and when caught, we have no alternative but to fine them as per the law. Now, waste is everywhere; beside the roads, on the mountains, in the forests, in the rivers, many of which are part of Government Reserved Forests and it becomes the duty of the Foresters to maintain it clean. And we have the additional booklet of receipt for fining the waste regulation defaulters. Therefore, I would like to share with the general public, the nature of fine for various acts of breaching the waste management regulations, as reflected in Annexure VII of the Regulation;
wastefine1wastefine2
However, we as the citizen of the country, have the sacred responsibility to keep our country clean by dumping the wastes responsively, following the provisions of our Act and Regulations. This way, we Bhutanese Foresters wont need to impose fine on you and we as citizens can always reap the benefits of our serene environments.
Together we can keep our country clean and green.
(For a copy of Waste Prevention and Management Regulations 2012, please Download Here.)

Monday, 2 January 2017

Life is not a Bed of Roses.


The seemingly short days would become longer,
The light would brighten the once dark dusks,
Soon, the chilly arid breeze would disappear away,
And the warmth of air would rupture the cold dormancy.


The samsaric cycle, therefore would keep rotating,
Every moment is fleeting; the ecstasy, the mundane. 
In this vicious cycle, the karmic fate we will entail,
The grief, the pain; the joy, the triumphs; all in one.


The life is a frail beauty of combined elements, 
Often assailed by the forces, turbulent and ailing. 
Neither the good wishes, nor knows the times of celebrations.
But firmly it would suppress the joy and sicken you.


Yet like the fading of cold days, pain would fade,
Like the coming of spring warmths, joy would come,
In the vicious cycle of impermanence, life will flow,
To see the light, the dark; to feel the pain, the joy.
Life is not a bed of roses.






Saturday, 31 December 2016

Reflecting on the Beauty: 2016 in Journey.

Inaugural of New Bridge and Road for Darilog.
It all began with simple resolutions of striving to live how I lived thus far without changing, to stay contended with what life has given me, and to embrace each day with happiness. And beautifully as the 2016 set its voyage, I saw myself taking the cruise happily. The fair weathers days brought me more closely to relatives with more social gatherings; visiting the temples for virtuous offerings, taking part into meritorious promotion ceremonies, being part of important inaugural ceremonies at the village, I saw the beautiful spontaneous development of life. 2016 is remarkable for my remotely isolated village as our people, once disconnected were finally connected with permanent bridge and farm roads, bringing more joy to my fellow villagers.
All set to Trek from Phobjikha to Adha.

Technically, 2016 was also very active and busy year for me, though I had to take the leave from JSWNP family halfway. By far, I have traveled to all the villages under JSWNP except for Reti. Probably, I also had some of the longest treks within the park, walking all the way from Phobjikha to Adha, Adha to Rukha and finally exiting from Taksha in a small and efficient entourage, monitoring the progress of WWF funded project activities, for which I am the focal. Such beautiful journey though tiring, are also the most satisfying journeys as I could connect my soul with nature, people and livelihoods, the combination of which is vital for successful conservation efforts.
GIS Training in JSWNP

Focally, I had the privilege of organizing important and strategic training workshops for my fellow foresters at JSWNP. For the first time, JSWNP could have a week-long GIS training to equip our friends in map making, followed by SMART-ly training our conservationists for patrolling and then rapidly assessing the Human-Wildlife Conflict issues in the park. As such, the three major trainings not only made us independent GIS analysts, but also strategic conservation scientist and innovative social negotiators, which are vital instruments in protected area management.


Internationally, I was lucky to be part of His Excellency the Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji’s entourage to attend the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation in New Delhi in April. Other members were Hon’ble DG of the Department, Mr. Chencho Norbu, Director of UWICE, Dr. Nawang Norbu, Mrs. Singye Wangmo Sr. FO, RMNP, Mr. Tandin FO, WCD. So I becoming part of such a great team was a real blessing. Since I joined DoFPS, I have been actively engaged in many field works of camera trapping tigers and also had been a part of National Tiger Survey 2015. The opportunity was right for me as I could learn more about the status of tiger conservation in all the 12 other tiger range countries. Sadly tiger was declared extinct in Cambodia, while global tiger number saw a rise. While in DoFPS, I was always a core minute keeper, be it Forest Conference or National Park Conference so I also had the privilege to learn how firmly we should frame resolutions from such big conference.

Professionally, I saw the lights for my further study when I received the confirmation for my pre-selection for M.Sc. Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation (LENC) at the University of Greifswald on 27th January. I applied for M.Sc. LENC under German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funding in December 2015. I was anxiously waiting for the final selection results, but all at a surprise I received a telephone call from the course coordinator without prior notice, to which I had to give an interview which lasted over 25 minutes. Luckily that day I was working in my office and not in the field. Dr. Tiemo asked me everything and my he seemed to be contended with my response as he gave me a hint that I would be selected. “I look forward to see you soon in Greifswald.” He said before dropping the call. And few days later, I received the final confirmation for enrolment to the university on 8th March. For DAAD scholarship, you will have to first apply to the University, which will finalise the required candidates. Once selected for enrolment, there are fewer things to do with DAAD, the scholarship provider. By last week of July, I had to bid farewell to my office, and then to my friends and relatives, with new dreams and aspirations. I had landed in Greifswald in 29th of July. For an orphan who lost the Daddy without sight, DAAD is now taking care of my 26 months long stay in Germany.
Greifswald Days.

Studying in Europe has its own charm and this would cover many more posts in my blog, which I will share occasionally. However, the 2016 highlights from Europe is that I became student after four years and also a free bird. Without compromising the classes, I could visit the capital cities of Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, of course Germany, and the city of Malmo in Sweden. Life really has turned out to be journey through woods and many more and each travel gives better exposure and experiences, which I would share in subsequent posts.

Paris and the Eiffel. 

And beautifully the wonderful 2016 is coming to an end today. The journey as I embraced from day one has been beautiful and the voyage ended without much turbulence of waves, all owing to many wonderful people that surrounded me. Therefore, I thank you all. I thank my parents and relatives for your love, trust and confidence in me which bolster my disposition to be a better human being; my chief, mentors, teachers and field colleagues for your guidance, encouragement, and supports, which strengthened my aspiration to be a better forester; my friends in and beyond social media for being a wonderful companionship and helping me overcome obstacles, celebrate success, finding solace when emotionally struck, for life is never a bed of roses. Having landed in a faraway place, I feel blessed being Bhutanese, I thank my motherland for my identity and our great Druk Gyalpos for having secured our identity. 

And as we begin a new year tomorrow, I wish everybody a happy and wonderful 2017. May we happily achieve your New Year resolutions, may we embrace more success and excellence, may 2017 be filled with love and laughter, health and happiness, peace and prosperity. May the misfortunes and grief lost its track before reaching us. 


Wishing everyone Happy New Year
.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

National Identity and Unity: The Beauty of Small Bhutan

With a size equivalent to renowned Switzerland, Bhutan is also compared to Switzerland when it comes to landscape beauty and natural aestheticism. Besides the beautiful mountains, Switzerland and Bhutan have one thing in common: Happiness. Switzerland ranks top in the World Happiness Report and Bhutan is by far a country of happy people. Being world’s leading economy with highest nominal per capita, Switzerland’s Happiness is attributed to their developed status of the country.  Switzerland has population of over 8 million people. Bhutan is a least developed country with a meagre population of 0.8 million. Being comparable to developed world when it comes to Happiness gives us a pride and humility as a Bhutanese. As such the beauty of Bhutan lies not only in its serene forests and pristine mountains. It indeed lies in its unity as a nation with common goals and aspirations.

The value of unity in Bhutan is deep. We Bhutanese believe in the karmic actions and bonds. The unity of Bhutanese as a nation first emerged 400 years ago when Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel established the first governance system in Bhutan, the Choe-sed Nyi-dhen (Dual system of governance with secular and temporal heads). Through the ages, while civil wars torn the regions apart, for the external enemies Bhutanese were united always. However, destiny had it that peoples representative of Bhutan unanimously enthroned Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary King of Bhutan in Punakha dzong on 17th December 1907. Since then, we Bhutanese have always reaped the peace of hard work put in by our benevolent monarchs and on every 17th December we come together not only to celebrate the joy of unity under the leadership of our great kings but also to pay tribute to their selfless efforts and to rededicate our service to Tsa-wa-sum.  
3 generation Kings in Trongsa: 17th December 2016

This year has been more significant and historic with culmination of many events. While the year, Male Fire Monkey is the birth year of Guru Rinpochhe, the second Budha who brought Buddhism in Bhutan and prophesised for the coming of great kings, 2016 also marks the 400th year of Zhabdrungs arrival in Bhutan, who established the first governance system for Drukyul. The year has become more historic as we Bhutanese are blessed with the birth of Royal Gyalsey, the Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, to usher continuity of Wangchuck Dynasty in Bhutan. 17th December 2016 marks the 109th National day and indeed a new era after completing 108 auspicious years. The day also became significant as His Royal Highness the Crown Prince attends the 109th National Day together with his father, His Majesty the King and Royal Grandfather, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo , the journey to new era at the historic Trongsa Dzong. The people by virtue of holding the Bhutanese identity are luckiest to witness such culmination of historic events, which will foster stronger unity as nation.
Ambassador of Bhutan to EU, H.E. Aum Pema Choden
addressing the gathering in Brussels

Being Bhutanese is tagged with happiness once we are outside. However for Bhutanese, happiness doesn’t come with material wealth but with spiritual wellbeing and mental contentment. Residing and studying in Universities abroad, Bhutanese are often without fellow countrymen as colleagues and I am not an exception. I study in the University of Greifswald in Germany and since my coming here, I never met any fellow Bhutanese in Germany. This is also attributed to the fact that we are a country of small population, and it makes us unique in the University. However, for this year’s National day, Bhutanese in Europe had the privilege of celebrating the big day in Brussels, hosted by Royal Bhutan Embassy in Brussels. Being away from home and being without companion from home country, becoming part of such events gives much joy and happiness. It was like home coming. The moments become more special when the event is celebrated in a faraway place. The national identity brought us all together for the common prayers and aspirations. This is the beauty of small Bhutan.
Bhutanese from different countries in EU (2016)

As expressed in many royal addresses, the small Bhutan has lots of opportunities and prospects. Our great monarchs have made our stance today more firm and comfortable. With the gift of democracy to the people, we have now more responsibility in building the nation. From preservation of cultural heritages to conservation natural environment, building the nation’s economy to strengthening the governance with transparency and accountability, our responsibility is huge. However, unlike many other countries which are doomed by wars and political instability, we have all the conditions favourable. We have the resources to build nation’s economy, we have inspiration and guidance of our King to manage the resources sustainably, and most importantly we are a small population with strong sense of unity so nothing is really unachievable with stronger will of the people. With continued effort and dedication from individuals, one day, like the Switzerland, we can be a developed Himalayan state, still embracing happiness with culturally rich and naturally intact heritages.


May the glorious reign of Wangchuck Dynasty flourish forever and may unity of Bhutan be never lost. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Impermanence is the only Truth.

སྲིད་པའི་བདེ་བ་ཟེར་རུང་།། རྩ་རྩེའི་ཟིལ་པ་ཙམ་ཅིག།། 
ཡུན་གཏན་གནས་དབང་མེད་པར།། སྐད་ཅིག་ཙམ་ལུ་ཡལཝ་མས།།

མཛེས་པའི་ཡོན་ཏན་ཟེར་རུང་།། གཡར་གྱི་འཇའ་ཚོན་ཙམ་ཅིག།།
སྣ་ལྔའི་འོད་གདང་ཚང་རུང་།། དངོས་མེད་རང་བཞིན་ཨིན་མས།།

དགའ་མཐུན་གཡས་གཡོན་བསྐོར་རུང།། བདེ་བ་འཁྲུལ་པའི་རྨི་ལམ།།
དམ་ཚིག་ལས་ཀྱི་བྲལ་ཚེ།། སྡུག་བསྔལ་རང་རྐྱང་ཉོ་དགོས།།

རྒྱུ་ལོར་རི་ལས་ཆེ་རུང་།། སྙིང་པོ་ཐལ་བའི་རང་བཞིན།།
མི་ཚེ་རིམ་གྱི་རྫོགས་ཚེ།། ཉོ་བའི་རིན་གོང་མི་ལང་།།

འཁོར་བ་སྙིང་པོ་མེདཔ་ལས།། གཞན་ལ་ཕན་སེནས་བསྐྱེད་དེ།། 
རྙིང་པོ་དམ་པའི་ལྷ་ཆོས།། ཡང་དང་ཡིང་ལས་བསྒྲུབ་གནང་།།


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Autumn Feelings of Larch.

༼སྟོན་ཀའི་ཚོར་སྣང་།༽
***********************

གནམ་དུས་ཚོད་སྟོན་ཀའི་དུས་སུ་ལུ།།
ཤིང་ལོ་ཐོག་འབྲས་བུ་རྒྱས་འདི་གི།།
སམ་ས་གཞི་གསེར་ལུ་འགྱུར་བའི་ཚེ།།
རོགས་མི་རྣམ་དགའ་བའི་སྤྲོ་འཆམ་མས།།
ཡར་སྤང་དང་ནག་གི་འཚམ་མ་ལུ།།
ཤིང་ལས་ངན་ཅན་གྱི་གཟར་ཤིང་ང།།
གནམ་དུས་བཞི་རིམ་གྱི་འགྱུར་འོང་ཚེ།།
སེམས་འཁྲུལ་སྣང་ལང་པའི་གཞི་རང་མས།།

གནམ་དུས་ཚོད་གསོ་ཁའི་དུས་སུ་ལུ།།
རང་དཀའ་སྡུག་སྤྱད་འདི་སྦུབ་ཅུང་སྐྱེས།།
རོག་མེ་ཏོག་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཤར་བའི་དུས།།
རང་མེ་ཏོག་མེད་
་སེམས་རེ་འཁྲུལ།།

གནམ་བྱཱར་སུ་ཆར་ཆུ་འབོལ་བའི་དུས།། 
རང་ཡལ་འདབ་བར་ནང་བྱ་གཅིག་འཁོར།།
སྔོན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཡིན་པས་བསམ་སོང་པ།།
རང་འབྲས་བུ་མེད་པ་བྱ་དང་འབྲེལ།།


ད་དུས་ཚོད་སྟོན་ཀའི་དུས་སུ་འབབ།།
གནམ་གསིལ་དྲོད་ལྡན་པ་ཡིད་དགའ་བས།།
རང་ཁ་རྡོག་ལེགས་ཚེ་བསམ་འཛོགས་པས།།
བར་རླུང་ནང་གཡབ་ཚེ་ཡིད་རང་བས།།

དུས་ལན་གཅིག་གསེར་ལུ་འགྱུར་སོང་རུང།།
རང་སྦུད་ས་ས་རོག་རྡོ་རོག་ནང།།
གསེར་ཐལ་བར་འགྱུར་བ་ཕང་མི་ཕང།།
ཤིང་ཤོམ་འདབ་མེད་པ་སྐྱོ་མི་སྐྱོ།།


གནམ་དགུན་སུ་ཁཝ་དང་འཁྱེག་གི་ནང།།
ཤིང་རྐམ་པའི་ན་ཟུག་ཕོག་པའི་ཚེ།།
རང་ལས་ངན་ཅན་གྱི་གཟར་ཤིང་གི།།
ཆོས་མི་རྟག་ཨིན་པ་སེམས་ལུ་དྲན།།

ཁྱེད་ཡུལ་ལུ་འཁོར་བའི་མི་རྣམས་ཡང།།
ལ་བྱ་བ་ཆུའི་གཉེར་མ་འདྲ།།
ཚེ་མི་རྟག་ཐུགས་ལུ་དྲན་ཞིནམ་ལས།།
སེམས་དམ་པའི་ཆོས་ལུ་བརྩོན་གནང་ཞུ།།


Photo Courtesy: Downloaded from webs.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Academic Journeys: Seeing the Hope!

The world is a vast dictionary with diversity of words and vocabularies. While new words keep evolving, many old ones would have already extinct. We learn the words and numerous words together educate us. Learning would remain a lifelong process and it doesn’t necessarily should happen in a University. Even inmates can learn from their cells and farmers, from the mountains to reveal the geniuses of the shades. However in the materialistic world, a University degree is what counts at the end to claim being educated or learned. On the contrary, learning in the University obliges us more to read and study, and therefore for me, I always feel that I can study and learn better being in a school.
Learning must go on.

No sooner did I completed my Bachelor’s degree and landed a job than I have dreamt of pursuing a further study. Our system restricts us to pursue long-term studies until we complete three years of service and this maintains a long break before we move to the next degree. However, it’s during this gap that we gain more practical experiences and directs us towards more focused path than choosing a field of study blindly. Into the field of nature conservation I was immersed and for cause of nature conservation I should learn. That was my direction and focus. Thus I have sought the advices and inspirations of my mentors in conservation. Unfortunately, we can’t really pursue what we desire owing to financial constraints. To get a degree is not cheap and we have to rely on scholarships to successfully complete the complete the course. And the scholarships don’t come easily and not always offer the course as one desire. Besides hundreds of candidate eye on a single scholarship and it’s competitive. While we should be able to present ourselves in the modest form, we should be luckier.
Looking Ahead!


As English Language Test results are vital documents in applying for scholarships, I obtained my IELTS results in February 2015 readied myself for international applications. Endeavour Scholarship is the most sought after scholarship by the Bhutanese. Studying in Australia not only accomplishes your academic dreams but also makes you richer in terms of monetary gain. Obtaining it would be a real blessing but my luck for it was too feeble. 

I had my first disappointment with the Endeavour Scholarship results in October 2015, which is when I raised my hope for studying in Europe. My aim is to go for my Masters Degrees as early as possible after completing the three years of service. ERASMUS MUNDUS, NUFFIC and DAAD are the leading scholarship providers from Europe. In terms of stipend, ERASMUS and NUFFIC pay you better as DAAD gives € 750.00 only per month. Browsing for the courses offered, Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation (LENC) under DAAD caught my eyes. Than I saw new hopes. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Overcoming Our Mind

Human mind is strange. It can think in a diversity of ways and take us into realms unknown. While positive thinking can shape you into a beautiful being, negativity can doom us dramatically. In our life, we will have lots of ups and down: we have summers of hope and we will face the winters of despair; we aspire for bed of roses and we encounter the perils of thorns; we swim the stillness of oceans and tides havoc our moves; life is uncertain and uncertainty is what we will have to live with. Whether to complain or exclaim should be determined by oneself by being mindful. Rose and thorn are a single object; either we can complain that roses have thorns or rejoice that thorns borne roses. Similarly water and tides are one and same thing; swimming along the tides or against it makes us determine their differences. 
We all have professional goals and we all aspire to reach higher in the bureaucratic hierarchy. In the dynamic web of ecological systems, there is only one apex carnivore that would regulate the entire biological process. All species are not equal. Same applies to us. All man are not equal in their luck, intelligence and perseverance. Not all of us can become the boss. As we climb up the ladder from early career to mid-career, we will face lots of pressure and unless you feel it, you won't value where you reach later on. For example, I would have remained in chaotic state for lack of designated responsibility and duty but that also offers me with the freedom to do what I wish. Of course I shouldn't be carried away with the negativity that I am left uncared and that I shouldn't lose the hope. There are many people who failed in their early career but became renowned later on. Everybody refers Bill Gates as an inspiring personality when it comes to failure. After dropping out Harvard, Gates didn't seem like a shoe-in for success but has later created the global empire of Microsoft. While success story of this kind would be inevitable, good days will definitely await our ways. 

Love and relationship are crucial in our lives. Creation of Eve for Adam was the noble idea of God so when Gods couldn't bear the existence of being alone, we are subjects to God. Not all love stories are beautiful; not all persons will be with whom they love. Be it a legendary tale of Paris and Helen or the articulated play of Romeo and Juliet, it is difficult to complete the romance in full symphony. Love is lyrical essence, comical in nature and tragic in fate. However it is inevitable and indispensable in life. To get a love where you love somebody truly and getting the same in reciprocal is difficult. It needs compromises and sacrifices. When it comes to marriage, love alone would never be enough: two factors that are requisite would be trustworthiness and faithfulness. Partners should not create a scene behind the mirror just because it is opaque. We should be mindful that mirror is also composed of a transparent crystalline material called glass. We should use love as a driving force to move higher, healthier and stronger. Feel blessed when you meet someone who loves you or when someone agrees on your proposal of love. Don't get yourself compelled into relation for need of wealth, look, religion and family prestige. Know the impermanence of every phenomenon and don't end up wasting years on year. Yet don't lose hope in love. For an instance, if I love a girl, I should be able to except in her worst. After being in relationship, if misunderstandings arise, I should cope up with it and sort out things for betterment than blatantly putting an end to the beautiful moments. Life should have some bitter moments to value the taste of sweetness. To love is to succeed as the proverb goes, "behind every successful man, there is a special woman and vice versa". Our life partners are the integral part of our heart and soul that would should last till the end.
We often lost our mind when we have two things, a good job and a good lover. We forget one important constituent of our lives, our parents and siblings. Since our stepping on the soul of Mother Earth in the form of human from ephemeral zygotes, it's our parents who nurtured and groomed us. They take care of us when we are most susceptible, and build us into beautiful persons with respectable images in the society. Yes, our parents ail and age and our siblings takes their own paths. It's true that ultimately we will have to sustain ourselves with our own job and rear our own family but remembering our parents and siblings, helping them during the needs and keeping connected with them would help us develop good fortunes for ourselves. The circle of karma is invisible but the effect of karmic fate will determine our intuitions.
Remove the negativity and inculcate positivity. Life is beautiful with positive energy. It is the positive energy that can have a lasting impact in overcoming our mind. Live life by choices but we should miss the chances to bring in beautiful changes in our lives.


Rafting is perilous but with unity, rhythmic, and most importantly being mindful of one self, waves and tides, creeks and falls are nothing but factors that make the journey adventurous. So is life. 
(A post of October 15, 2015)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Conservation Journey Part II: Unveiling Facts of Tigers to Myth of Yeti

The three and a half years at JSWNP never let down my vigour to set out in wilderness. One week after my joining the JSWNP family, I had my first experience in wilderness, and there was no looking back. Soon followed the voyage in subtropical forests of JSWNP with tiger biologists and researchers from Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment and the sequel simply followed it.

Well begun is half done.
Often people think that being a forester is lucrative and therefore a greener pasture. Seldom do they ask us about the hardships that we endure while interacting with the wild. While there are traumatic and harrowing records where foresters are being killed by inhumane beings, wildlife themselves pose greater threat to the lives of their saviours. The remote terrains render the treks daring and unforeseeable weather conditions poses greater risks. However for the heart filled with endurance for the cause of conservation, foresters rejoice in pride being conservationist. In adversity, they see the adventure and in monotonous routines, they find the leisure.
The Black Mountains (Jowo Durshing)
I had my own shares of adversities which were indeed prosperity in disguise during my last three and half years in the national park named after the Great Fourth. Within its pristine vegetation lies the sacred Jowo Durshing, the height of which towers to 5000 metres, acclaiming to be the highest peaks in central Bhutan. Such picturesque landscape are not dark as its name Black Mountains suggests but are safe haven for a diversity of wildlife including the charismatic tiger and of course abode of worship for the pre-Buddhist aboriginal settlers, the Monpas.  As such my adventure through the Black Mountains isn’t only mesmerizing but journeying further down to the south in pursuit of catching the Tigers and up north in the remote mountains attempting to reveal the Myths of Yeti makes my days’ worth cherishing.  

  1. Crisscrossing the Sacred Black Mountains:  JSWNP being a conservation jewel in Bhutan owing to its strategic location, each travel offers a wealth of experiences and satisfaction. Besides being only park with record of highest cat species, it also is home to aboriginal Monpas. The myths of Monpas reveal how they crisscrossed the Black Mountains and how their descendants are spread, in the way the Black Mountains linked the different ecozones and conservation landscapes thus enabling biological diversity. As I traversed through the ancient trails to connect hamlets and wandered through the woods and rocks to conserve wildlife, I discovered more of lyrical tunes and comical essence than gruesome squalls. In mountains I discovered the secrets of euphoria and relentlessly I let flowed the epistles of romance like the free dispersal of blooming fragrance. Such were the days in the sacred Black Mountains.
    En route Black Mountains
  2.  Revealing the Facts of Tiger: When the other three protectors, the Dragon, the Garuda and the Snow Lion faded leaving only myths, the tiger brings together myth and reality. Since the time when tigress served Guru Rinpoche in 8th century, tiger has never let the humanity fail despite being hunted, retaliated or domesticated. It is the most sought species by the conservationist and for the beginner like me, becoming a part of team that first counted the tigers of the nation was a wonderful privilege. There were times where camera lost its position, tigers were missed, but never a time our endeavour failed. More strenuous became the task when we attempted to catch tigers to collar the first tiger in the plains of tropical Manas. Unfortunately, tigers missed our traps but never our determinations. We now proudly say Tigers move all the way from tropical plains of Royal Manas NP to alpine mountains of Jigme Dorji NP.
    Like Abominable Snowman
  3. Pursuing the Myths of Yeti: The mystic Bhutan have many folds of mountains steeped in myth and spirituality. In it remain the stories of Yeti, locally known as Migoe.  As a notorious kid, often my mother use to scare me with the myths of Migoe, not knowing I would be a part of Yeti expeditions in remote northern mountains which are uncharted and unexplored landscapes. Indeed I was one among the expedition group from UWICE research fraternity to lead a team to document unique faunal diversity in the previously unexplored mountains in northern border (June 2005-September 2016. Team UWICE always inspired me.  Through the valleys from where the myths of Migoe resonates, we penetrated the darkest of forests and deepest of snows spanning over 20 days in true wilderness, even sustaining on single grains of rice and drops of oil of the ever diminishing ration.  “The Migoe of the mighty Himalayas continues to elude and mystify our mountains.”

Pristine Alpine Landscape


In all, I could only look back in awe, for having expedited the nature in true sense of wilderness. Memories are only to be cherished with utmost satisfaction.