My lungs felt like they were about to explode. My throat was parched. The sun was boring into my back, and the Taktsang Palphug Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, located on a cliff, in Paro, Bhutan, was still a fair distance away. Our guide had termed the climb ‘moderately difficult’, but I had bitten off more than I could chew. I think I ride better than I walk or climb. But, when I finally made it up to the monastery, located at about 10,000 feet, an hour later, the views were worth it. I was in Bhutan last month as part of a Royal Enfield tour of the tiny Himalayan kingdom. The country has excellent roads. They are broad, sweeping and well paved and there is so little traffic that you feel you are the only person using them. And, it is really a cheerful place to be in. All along the route, we were greeted with huge smiles and the people were helpful. The food – minced chicken, chilli cooked in cheese, red rice, buckwheat dumplings, pan-fried pork and beef – is excellent and, at the end of a long ride, there’s always a glass of refreshing ara, distilled from rice or maize, to look forward to. I could just carry on about my week-long ride through, but, I suppose the photographs speak for themselves.
By Vir Nakai