‘Simply Bhutan’ is a unique Project under Youth Development Fund, initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck. It was inaugurated on 26th August, 2012. Simply Bhutan, which is also known as a living museum houses demonstration stalls, Souvenir shops, array of Studios and above all a beautiful village house, which is truly captivating. My friend Yenten Jamtsho alias Yen Jams and I visited Simply Bhutan on 30th August 2012. Being there for some time, I have been through a mixed feeling and little nostalgic’.
I was born in village and had spent my entire early life there; may be because of this bond and the attachment developed during my early days, I always have a great admiration to my village. I also respect and admire any village that remains undisturbed by the ill effects of modernization. The ‘village house’ in Simply Bhutan has a collection of ancient household items. It was precisely built and well maintained. I was so amazed by such a wonderful idea and beautiful creation of Her Majesty the Queen Mother and the Project team. Indeed it was like going back in time; it reminded me of my village back in early 1970s, which is no more the same today.
The beautiful shinglep roofing we also once had in our village is no more seen today as it has been replaced by CGI sheets. The Thabtsang Studio, which is a traditional Bhutanese kitchen, reminded me of my mother who amidst smoke and heat, often with her burnt fingers still cooked delicious meals for us. Our traditional oven locally known as Thab is believed to have blessed by the Thab Lha –the god of oven, unfortunately it is now replaced by modern imported stoves. To my relief, Choesham (Altar) seems to have stood the test of time, I found the atmosphere in the room quite serene and blessed as it was in the past. However, it reminded me of my Late father, who used to devote most of his time in prayers. He was a man, who balanced love, guidance and care with discipline. Today, in absence of all those wonderful things, it was a surreal feeling to even think of my village.
How pity it is that, in the name of development, even the bonds of community and respect for each other are getting drained.
As we came out of Choesham we saw a group of young people taking photograph near a wooden traditional ladder, I looked at Yen Jams but he already got the message “it is really going back in time” he said and I nodded, because during our time people loved to take photographs more in the city amidst huge concrete structures than in village.
By then we were already at wish pond, below the statue of overlooking Lord Buddha near exit gate. “You can say your prayers and make your wish here” said the soft spoken young gentle man from Simply Bhutan, who patiently accompanied and guided us throughout. I didn’t know what Yen Jams wished for but the only prayer or wish that I made was, let merit alone dispel obstacles and transform greed so that people can actualize enlightenment and become good to each other as in the past. After having prayed, I turned the prayer wheel and exited that enchanting place called Simply Bhutan.
It was a magical experience visiting Simply Bhutan.