Before discussing my Chukha Bhutan Visit experience, I want to share that we had very bitter experience of getting Bhutan entry permit during Bengali festive month (October) in my last trip to Bhutan. Many people including me couldn’t procure permits within stipulated time frame because we had to get out of queue due to various documentation issues and there was a huge rush. People were breaking the queue and making a new one. I had also seen there were shortages of security persons in comparison with the crowd. One night we had to spend in Jaigaon and then next day we arranged our permits. All these I have discussed in
Around 1 pm we got our final visa/permit in our hand. Got ready and came down to meet Mr. Sujit Goswami the owner of Maruti tours and travel.
Though he had earlier mentioned that we have to pay 75% before the start of the journey, but he was ok with whatever we offered! He got a Tashi cell SIM card also for us! Prakash was waiting for us in his car! After lunch, we started for Paro. We skipped our Phuntsholing local sightseeing tour plan due to a shortage of timing. Our driver, Prakash told us that it will take about 4 hours to reach Paro.
When we crossed Bhutan gate The Bhutanese sun greeted us with soft golden rays. Though we were too tired Bhutan is far more beautiful to forget all those exhaustion! So we were ready to start our journey! It is 2.00 pm on Bhutanese clock! Bhutan standard time is half an hour ahead of IST!
After about 5 Kms we reached to the first check post at Rinchending, where we have to show our permits, to move ahead! Prakash helped us! We started climbing mountains…. Again came down… Again climbed and it continued! At Gedu, we came across an engineering and management college. We thought of stopping there for some time. We met some students, boys in their Gho and girls in their Kira…. What a stylish uniform! There was a
Suddenly we observed Sun disappeared and the sky color turned from blue to black. “This is weather of Bhutan! Sun and also the mist play such unbelievable hide and seek throughout the day”, Prakash mentioned. After a few minutes, it started raining. The air was cool, the fragrance of freshly showered soil all around, the sound of rustling leaves really touching our soul. It became a cool place, especially when the weather is fine; it did remind me of the 70’s hit, “in the summertime when the weather is fine”. Remembering a few hours before in Phuntsholing we were sweating. A lot several might keep in mind the 90’s version as sung by Shaggy. That would be a fitting track too, to drive on in this weather.
Around after 2 hrs 30 mins we reached Wangkha, Chukha. Chukha is a district town of Bhutan. Though the major town is Phuntsholing which is the gateway city along the sole road which connects India to western Bhutan. With Bhutan’s oldest hydropower plant, Chukha hydel (completed in 1986-88), and Tala Hydroelectricity Project, the country’s largest power plant. Chukha is the district which contributes the most to the GDP of the Kingdom of Bhutan. We reached Wangkha, Chukha around 4.30 pm.
Prakash stopped his car in front of Hotel Damview Restaurant & Bar just right-hand side of the highway. We got down having our tea and snacks. They had a list of rice options with chicken, pork, beef curries, but we opted for a hot bowl of Koka (Bhutanese version of soupy Maggi) and 2 plates of veg momo along with coffee instead. It tasted heavenly in the cold weather! This local restaurant in Chukha also has a Tourist & VIP Room, with great views into the valley, as well as self-serve spicy food such as chili chicken and rice. The restaurant location presents a view to the Chukha Hydro Power Project Dam, hence the name “Damview”. The dam view restaurant offers a great view of the Dam and the Chukha Hydro Power plant. Request the restaurant manager to open the door of the banquet hall (which is generally closed) for better views of the valley and dam. The food and ambiance here are equally good. Also, they had a very good collection of currency notes of various countries.
From Damview Restaurants & Bar we got a great view of Chukha Hydel Plant. The 336MW Chukha hydel project, which binds the waters of the Wang Chhu or Raidak River, using the country’s huge hydroelectric potential. It was built by India in a loan at highly concessional terms and conditions. In the arrangement, India receives, in turn, all the electricity generated from the project in more than Bhutan’s demand at less expensive costs than India’s generation cost from various sources. The Hydel project was located between Thimphu at Chimakoti village. Construction started in 1974 and completed in 1986–88. All the information we got from the restaurant manager. The project viewed from the restaurant is really spectacular. We then continued our journey towards Paro.
For more about Chukha Bhutan click below link