In order to celebrate the auspicious Dawa Dangpai Losar, I and some of my visually impaired friends got together and went to Paro with our families for a dry picnic today. It was a great occasion for all of us to have quality time together because in the hassle and bustle of busy urban life, social gatherings are becoming rare nowadays. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our kids to have outdoor fun together despite enjoying delicious foods brought by different people. We had planned this event since a couple of months ago and we had been looking forward to this big day for months. But the bad weather over the past couple of days caused some worries in us that we may not be able to execute our plans. However when the sun came up this morning, I knew we were finally on our way to Paro. My children were equally excited about it.
Social media was one of the prominent concerns among the youth of Paro as found out during the 2-day youth forum on youth concerns conducted at Paro Youth Center on 17th and 18th July 2015. It was amazing to know that most of the participants were aware of both negative and positive influences of using social media. While many saw it as a platform for keeping in touch with friends and family-members, and sharing good information, some had painful experiences to share. Since all of the 40 participants said they are active users of social media, they acknowledged that using it responsibly is important for their personal safety.
As Bhutan observed Zhabdrung Kuchhoe or the death anniversary of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal yesterday, I went to Paro with my senior friend Sanga Dorji and his family to offer prayers at Kyichhu monastery and Jangsabu Lhakhang. Zhabdrung Kuchhoe is observed as an auspicious day to visit temples and offer prayers because it was on this day the great Lama, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was believed to have died. Zhabdrung was a great spiritual leader who united Bhutan in the 17th century and blest it with everlasting peace and harmony. His arrival in Bhutan from Tibet in 1616 was a boon to the people of Bhutan in many ways. It was he who united the country and streamlined both political and religious systems that could guarantee absolute peace, harmony and security for the Bhutanese people. So, he is worshipped as a great spiritual leader who brought this country to a new limelight. On such an auspicious occasion, people in Bhutan go to different sacred sites, temples and monasteries to offer prayers and light butter-lamps in his honor and for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.
I have flown in and out of Paro International Airport four times within the span of past five years but I had not realized how dangerously the aircraft maneuvers around the valley to avoid the surrounding terrains. I had heard from my friends that the flight path to and from Paro seems to cut through two rugged mountains and it seems if the pilot misses a blink, the plane could crash into the terrains on either side. It’s no surprise that Paro International Airport is ranked as one of the top ten scariest airports of the world.