Scientists report that grateful people are typically happier people. A grateful attitude reduces negativity and typically makes us more optimistic – that’s a significant reason to make acts of gratitude a daily habit.

Wild Turkey in the Fields at CordeValle

I’m extremely grateful to have such a charming collection of dear adventuresome clients, travelers who trust me to make their travel decisions and suggestions. Snippets of recent notes we’ve received from grateful clients.

One of my most intrepid, generous and dearest clients recently texted this as she was wrapping up a three-week, three city Journey with eight close friends: EVERYTHING HAS BEEN FANTASTIC and EVERYONE IS HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME….and your VIP WINGS people are amazing….BRAVO TO YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE FOR US !!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Caps and explanation points are hers! This client travels well, there are no taxis, always a driver for every meal and outing for the group, private luggage car on Eurostar to avoid dragging heavy bags up and down the train station ramps, VIP greeters at arrival and departures, private visits to museums and castles, a high level of luxe comfort; herding cats with eight travelers, but it was perfectly executed, partly due to our extraordinary ground ambassadors.

From a group of six friends on their first East African safari:
Gwen, I just wanted to reach out and thank you again for such a fantastic Safari. Having your African firm owner along was amazing, in every sense of the word. His insight, organization, conversation, and laughter were pieces of this experience that I wasn’t expecting, and it brought our trip to a whole new level. Gwen, what you and your team put together for us relative to schedule and accommodations was just perfect! All of the logistics went so smoothly – from the airport arrival and departure (great service) to our drivers, the flights, the pilots and the beautiful rooms. In a nutshell, I would do it all again tomorrow – just the way we did it.  We have never had a more perfect trip! Gwen, we look forward to planning our next adventure with you – such a great job!

Family safari: We are an adventurous family of five who love to travel to places off the beaten path. This last summer, Gwen and her team set us up with the trip of a lifetime. We asked for memorable and came home with 10,000 photos and a lifetime of memories…

Gwen, our recent trip to Berlin and Poland was unique, educational and unparalleled.  Like our other trips, the hotels were uber comfortable. Equally important, you pulled it off again with regard to our guides…they appealed to both my son and I on a very deep intellectual an emotional level. Bravo Gwen.

I’m eternally thankful to our spirited, adventurous and grateful clients!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Megeve France. Dawn Balloon Sailing.

Lighting 108 Butterlamps Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang

Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang Grounds, Paro Bhutan
Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro Bhutan

Just outside Amankora Paro is one of the oldest and most important temples dating back to the 7th Century, the Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang. On the temple grounds of the sacred and incredible Kyichu Lhaklang, is a unique round building where the Butterlamps are made and lit.

Lighting 108 Butterlamps is an experience of a lifetime. The Butterlamp or karme represents the dispelling of the darkness of ignorance. The lighting ceremony is an offering of light to the deities and is one of the most common means of increasing one’s merit. It also helps focus the mind and aid meditation. A tranquil location for this ritual, especially on the day of the First Snowfall in Bhutan, a National Holiday.  

It is believed that ignorance creates darkness on a physical and mental level. Hence by offering Butterlamp as the place lightens up it will let you move from darkness to light and ignorance to wisdom on a mental and physical level. This is done in a very spiritual manner, the person who offers the lamps whispers or murmurs a prayer after the lamps are lit.

Butterlamps are utilized in many monasteries throughout the Himalayas. The lamps traditionally burn clarified yak butter, but now often use vegetable oil or vanaspati ghee.

According to the Root Tantra of Chakrasamvara, “If you wish for sublime realization, offer hundreds of lights”. The monks in the monastery manage the actual lamps, taking extreme care to avoid starting one of the devastating fires which have damaged many monasteries over the years.

Lighting 108 Butterlamps, Kyichu Lhakhang Paro Bhutan

Kyichu Lhakhang location is in the north of Paro town. It is one of the ancient, quiet and beautiful temples in Bhutan, it is considered to be the sacred Jewel of Bhutan.

As one walks toward Kyichu Lhakhang, the environment is quiet and serene. An ancient monastery is a place that you will find elderly pilgrims often walking around the temple as they spin the prayers wheels, always walking in a clockwise pattern.

Lighting 108 Butterlamps, Kyichu Lhakhang Paro Bhutan

The Kyichu Lhakang conceals the statue of Jowo Jamba originally from the 7th century. The icon is one of the greatest treasure of the valley. There is also another statue of Chenrezig outside the shrine that has 1000 arms and 11 heads. The wooden floor has grooves worn by the generations of prostrators and the main entrance door is coated with gold. Kyichu Lhakhang holds ancient relics and the floor of the main temple constructed with wood decorated with turquoise and other precious stones and gems.

Lighting 108 Butterlamps, Kyichu Lhakhang Paro Bhutan

On the outside of the temple, there are two orange trees that bear fruits throughout the year. There are also monk houses, prayer wheels, Lenza script on tiny prayer wheels.

 On the outside of the temple, there are two orange trees that bear fruits throughout the year.
Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro Bhutan

Kyichu Lhakhang is a place of art and culture that is very important to historians, art connoisseurs and visitors all around the globe. The oldest monastery is an incredible place for a visit.

We were blessed by a snowy afternoon for our Butterlamp lighting, adding to the serene surreal experience in a chilly round structure, the first architecture of this style we had encountered in Bhutan. 

Leaving the Temple compound in a gentle snowfall, we passed a single monk making his way into the peaceful grounds for his afternoon prayers. Perhaps an appropriate departure to our extraordinary exploratory Amankora Journey. 

Solo Monk entering Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang 

On each arrival at an Amankora Bhutan resort, you are provided with a list of optional excursions, an intimate method of learning about the history and culture of Bhutan and its people.