Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, August 12, 2013

At the Mountain Echoes 2013, Bhutan

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With Her Majesty, Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck
August 12, 2013: Yesterday I wrote a brief article about how the royals still appeal to the masses in one of my regular columns in Hindustan Times. And then, yesterday only I landed at the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan.
With Krishna Shriram
It was a 24-hour whirlwind trip. I went there yesterday by the morning flight and returned to Kolkata today by an early morning flight. I had to get up in the wee hours to come down to Paro where the International airport is located.
People who have been to Bhutan would know that Thimphu occupies a unique place among the airports in the world since it caters to only the Druk Airways being tucked amid mountains.
With Kelly Dorji
The aircraft and pilot both have different specifications and qualifications respectively. In fact, when we were about to land at Thimphu by the Airbus, the pilot's comforting voice assured all passengers not to be perturbed by the tilting of the aircraft and the close brush with the mountain as it flew amid hills for the landing. It is a very normal and only route for the flight but for those who are in for the first time it can be unnerving.
I was there for just one night in Bhutan and hosted a farewell dinner for Mountain Echoes 2013The Bhutan Festival of Literature, Art and Culture - on the final day of the event organised by the India-Bhutan Foundation.  
With Tarun Tejpal
The dinner hosted at Hotel Taj Tashi in Thimphu was attended by guests and VIPs from Jaipur, Kolkata and all over India and of course the who's who of Bhutan. A Bhutanese band playing soft music added to the ambiance.
The Chief Guest was Her Majesty, Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, who wished everybody peace and prosperity. 
Among others were Amish Tripathi, who wore a traditional Bhutanese outfit, Aparna Sen, Kelly Dorji, Krishna Shriram and other. Also present were the Festival directors Namita Gokhale and Pramod Kumar KG and producer Mita Kapoor of Siyahi.
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