While we were in Punaka, the home to one of the most beautiful and important Dzongs (spectacular forts or monasteries), we got to see two elephants that were brought from the south of Bhutan for the royal wedding. Everyone was crazy about the elephants because they don’t have elephants in Punaka, so these were the first elephants most of the people had ever seen. People were giving the elephants bananas and some were even giving them money. What made the experience even cooler was that we got to pet the elephants. Their trunks were really hairy.
After Punaka it was on to Wangdue, where we got to see a fabulous Buddhist festival with dances and singing. When we arrived they were just finishing the first day and we got to see a clown show. The next day we got to see lots of performances. My favorite was the black hat dance. The costumes for the dance were very elaborate. They wore black hats, colorful dresses, boots, and yarn wigs. During the dance they spin around a lot so their dresses get really puffy.
The last day of the festival we got up at 4:30 am to watch the sunrise dropping of a huge colorful banner called a thangka. This is an amazing celebration where the people of Bhutan give thanks and receive a blessing for the New Year. People walk from miles around to receive their traditional blessings.
Bhutan is awesome!