After the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, is a shock to the system. In a good way. A very good way. Despite undergoing an obvious growth spurt that has resulted in new hotels and restaurants, it remains serene and magical.
True, it is winter, the quietest time for tourists. This makes getting around the sights, bliss. But you get the impression even at the height of the season it’s pretty orderly. There are no traffic lights, just one balletic policeman on point duty. Drivers are courteous if occasionally haphazard. The locals, most dressed in the traditional gho (for men) and kira for women, are reserved but quick to respond to a greeting or smile.
Stepping through the discrete doorway cut into the high perimeter wall is to move from the cacophony of a city coming fully to life for one man’s Garden of Dreams that has become an oasis of quiet in bustling Kathmandu.
Even early in the morning people are already securing themselves one of the blossom-laden niches where they can sit and relax; read a paper, chat. Or just do nothing. Others are meandering slowly around the carefully laid out formal gardens stopping to appreciate a particular flower or marble ornament, the fountain or the reflection cast on the large ornate pond. A marble plaque is dedicated to the words of Omar Khayyam.
On the tiered lawn levels, more beige than green after weeks of grilling by the fierce Kathmandu sun, several couples are