Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - 5:26 PM

Let there be no forest fire

LAST PAGE: Namseling, 12km from the capital city, is a scenic place with traditional homes, paddy fields and an open wide valley.

A work appointment took me to this place two weeks back.  I met the group, officials from forest office and a desuup, who were going door-to-door to engage families in conversations revolving around forest fire prevention tips.

The job for the day, for the group, was to walk to the village Danglo, which [... Read More]

A tea of changes


Suja, the traditional tea has undergone changes in the way it is prepared and its ingredients 

COVER STORY Suja, famously known as butter tea, despite the name suggesting it’s churned tea, raises red flags for lifestyle diseases, especially in these so-called modern days.

Back when lifestyles were simple, work did not entail sitting in plush chairs in offices, but toiling in the fields, and suja often determined a person’s strength.  Churning tea for the masses [... Read More]

A cuppa (suja) a month – or else

IMG_4368A teaspoon of butter contains 45 calories

JDWNRH nutritionist advises nominal intake of Bhutan’s once favourite beverage 

TEA Acup of suja a month is what a person should drink, if at all, one must drink the hot, buttery and salted beverage.

More than that, dietician with the national referral hospital in Thimphu says, is not advisable.  As applicable to everything, the idea is to drink suja in limited amounts, since it is an unhealthy drink.

“It contains butter with saturated fats, and this raises [... Read More]

Making a water offering

IMG_4345-copyYoenchab can be offered in multiples of seven

NEW: A fortnightly series on cultural and traditional practices 

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO We give gifts and make offerings of things that are valuable to us.  Water is fundamental to our existence.  We are made up of more than sixty percent of water.  For these reasons, the offering of yoenchap (water offering) is crucial.

One makes an offering to the Buddha and the holy beings with water, because it is essential to life [... Read More]

Tea bricks from China

IMG_1076Ja-bachu sold at a shop in the capital

IMPORT Not long ago, a popular tea imported from Tibet made its way into western Bhutan.  Tea connoisseurs in the Wang, Shar, Paro and Haa valleys developed a liking for it, to the extent that the common jari (tea leaves from India) took a back seat.

The ja-bachu or ja-baga, as it was known in the west, because of its bricklike shape, became an instant hit with almost all the shops that sell imported [... Read More]

A monster and a poet

DRUKPA KUNLEY It turns out that the Long Rong Demoness was many things: a monster, a beautiful woman, and a poet. In this iteration, she was a combination demoness and poet.

She opened with this bit of sprightly verse.

…The celebrated ascetic, Drukpa Kunley, 

A poverty stricken, wandering beggar,

Talks nonsense and tells dirty stories. 

What is so marvelos about that?

Don’t expect homage or offering from me!

Drukpa Kunley took a deep breath, and then delivered one of the [... Read More]

100 Free Units?

TECH CORNER: ASK BOAZ The government is giving 100 free electricity units to domestic consumers in rural areas. How many appliances can I use for free?
- Tshomo, Dagana

Dear Tshomo,

I think you are right. No one explained what these energy units are and what they can be used for. Let’s take a look at how these units are computed. The story starts with watts. Each electrical appliance has a power rating in watts (named [... Read More]

Tea is not to my taste

LAST PAGE Drinking suja, I think, comes from force of habit.

When I was a boy, my parents would often narrate stories of how they herd hundreds of cows and stock butter at home.

When I was growing up, there were no cows, and we were always running short of butter, and for this reason, we hardly ever drank suja, even when it was cold and the weather demanded it.

I never acquired a taste for [... Read More]

Winters in the holy valley


The cold season can be an ordeal here and keeping warm is a full time affair

COVER STORY The sky is overcast and the air, chilly.  A group of boys, with chapped cheeks and ears, runs about the street of Chamkhar in Bumthang.

They are not bothered by the cold, just as snot running down their noses does not bother them.  But they are dressed for the cold, with woolly caps and jackets.

For the 18,411 people [... Read More]

The necessity and threat of heating appliances

DSC_0251Most structures are wood intensive

Wooden structures are especially vulnerable to fire from bukharis or electric heaters

HAZARD Being wood intensive, structures in Bumthang suit the climatic condition of the valley.

But the use of wood also makes homes and other structures susceptible to fire, be it from the bukhari or a short circuit.

The use of bukhari and electricity for warmth soars from October.  In Ura, the coldest Gewog in Bumthang, most use bukhari throughout the year.

Residents say that the [... Read More]

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