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Bhutan and Beyond

One of my favourite projects at the start of the year is planning travel for the coming months.   For those who like going off the beaten track, I can highly recommend Bhutan and the Bhutan dance festivals; and this is the perfect time to book a trip.

Spectacular dance festivals run from February to April and September to October.  These are the times of year when the weather in Bhutan is at its best and visitors can readily understand why the country is known as  the ‘Jewel of the Himalayas’.

I’m delighted to be a contributor in the January 2011 issue of Marie Claire Magazine in Thailand, with an article and photographs on Bhutan, including the Tamshingphala  Tsechu in full flow (below). Feel free to view further photographs in my gallery, and if you possibly can, go there and see this beautiful and remote kingdom for yourself.

Bhutan article in Marie Claire Jan 2011

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite moments from the last trip.

A young spectator at the Tamshingphala Tsechu watches the festival, framed by the rich silk of her traditional dress (below left).

Below right is Tiger’s Nest Monastery viewed through Bhutanese prayer flags. The walk to this viewpoint provides the perfect way to acclimatize to the altitude upon arrival in Bhutan. A fine way to recuperate from the long and rocky descent is dinner at a local farmhouse, followed by a hot stone bath to sooth your aching muscles. A wooden bath is filled with freezing cold water from the stream, then furnace-hot stones from the roaring fire are dropped sputtering into one end if the bath until the water temperature reaches decidedly fiery levels. Those brave enough then lower themselves with care and some trepidation into the searing heat – to be rewarded by all traces of pain and stiffness melting away. Bliss!

A young spectator at the Tamshingphala Tsechu. Tiger’s Nest Monastery through Bhutanese prayer flags

A dancer rehearses for the Tamshingphala dance festival, entertaining a passing monk (below).

A dancer rehearses for the Tamshingphala dance festival in Bhutan, entertaining a passing monk.

I look forward to bringing news of further destinations and projects in the coming months.  My friend Claire and I embark on a photo expedition to Nan province in northern Thailand later this month and I have further travel planned around Asia and to Europe later in the year.  With a bit of luck, I may also find time to take photos in the Japanese Alps in February, while the rest of the family roll about in the snow…!

January 18, 2011 - 12:37 pm Ursula Wall - Good memories! Congratulations on another stunning publication. :-)

January 18, 2011 - 12:52 pm Melissa Richardson - Fantastic photos Jackie. Congrats on the Marie Claire feature.

January 18, 2011 - 5:41 pm Lisa Dent - Just beautiful & capture so much in each image, I look forward to seeing your next adventure !

January 18, 2011 - 10:04 pm Pooja Kishnani - beautiful :)

January 18, 2011 - 10:25 pm Susan Leopold - Dear Jackie - it just keeps getting better and better. BTW, do you sell prints of any of your photos at all?

January 19, 2011 - 2:42 am Annette Bauer - these are stunning!

January 19, 2011 - 4:35 pm jackierado - Many thanks for the generous comments. What a gorgeous country, and spoiled for choice from a photography perspective!

February 8, 2011 - 6:23 pm Claussniazi@yahoo.com - WOW!!!!!!!

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