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Discovering Bhutan

Junction: A Page of Heaven

BHUTAN | Monday, 4 May 2015 | Views [1051] | Scholarship Entry

I discovered a slice of heaven in Thimphu, Bhutan’s Capital.

Entering Junction, a book shop, with no great expectations I was in for a surprise!

Junction is aesthetically done up-with recycled stuff like wine bottles and dry maple leaves, paintings and handcrafted pieces.

Additionally, a whole pack of adopted dogs lends it a quaint sense of civility.

It was love at first sight. And now I have turned a regular visitor.

The shop is lovely and has books ranging from various genres to authors (From the classics to the contemporaries it has it all: Tolstoy to Hunter S Thompson, Alice Munro and Haruki Murakami to name a few).

Second attraction is Mui - the equally charming owner who keeps you enthralled with her lively conversations.

Then comes the crowd that hangs out at Junction: the young to mid-age, intellectual segment in town ranging from students, to artists and journalists.

Mui can guide you on buying books. In fact she is also generous. After I got to know her, she gifted me a copy by Albert Camus. A very friendly soul though shy at first, you can connect to her immediately.

Junction has a mini-library upstairs where you can spend time reading. Next to it is a coffee corner where you can have your cuppa and if you feel like it, there are donation boxes for the coffee and one for the dogs.

A children’s section is sandwiched in a corner.

Authentic Bhutanese handicrafts and souvenirs are other notable things available at the shop.

For first-timers, I would suggest that you gradually explore the store and get used to the ambience.

Take time to savour it and definitely do get acquainted with Mui. She can suggest you some very good reads like she did Italo Calvino, Roberto Bolano, and Borges to me.

If you are not into heavy stuff, there are lighter reads as well. I saw Jeffrey Archer, Stephen King and Danielle Steele on the shelves. And yes, most importantly for tourists, there are a whole lot of books on Bhutan and by Bhutanese authors. Mui allows customers to read a part of a book before buying it so that they can be absolutely sure about their purchase.

However, Junction is not only a bookstore but a meeting ground for everyone who consider themselves thinkers because people come here to talk issues.

Maybe you won't get the chance to visit Junction over and over again but at least you will be able to take back memories: of a book store that not only sells books but a page of Bhutan’s growing reading culture.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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