Celebrate the Winter Holiday Bhutanese Style at Uma Paro

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Como Hotels and Resorts

Celebrate the Winter Holiday Bhutanese Style at Uma Paro

Como HotelsOctober 18, 2010. (Paro, Bhutan) – Bhutan’s festival calendar is regularly marked by Tshechu. Meaning ‘Tenth Day’, this celebratory event occurs on the start of the tenth day of each month in the Buddhist lunar calendar. It is an opportunity for local people to come together in a spirit of festivity and faith.

With Tshechu as its inspiration, Uma Paro in Bhutan—an intimate adventure resort deep in the Himalayas—is offering a special ten-day program of activities for guests staying either for the complete period or for a shorter stay over the prime winter holiday and New Year.

Taking place from 23rd December 2010 to 1st January 2011, this will be a unique opportunity to experience the country’s Buddhist culture at a meaningful level while engaging in meditation, Yoga, cookery, traditional Bhutanese sports and hiking in the surrounding Himalayas.

The ten days of holiday fun will comprise around four events daily from which guests can cherrypick at no extra charge. This will include:

• Lecture on Buddhism
• Cookery lessons, where guests can learn how to put together ‘momos’ (dumplings filled with pork, cheese, vegetables or beef), and ‘ema datshi’ (a local classic comprised of chilli and cheese)
• Archery (dha) contests—this is the national sport of Bhutan, with every village, as well as Uma Paro, boasting a ‘bha cho’ (field of target)
• Yoga by candlelight, which will include time for meditation, with morning and evening sessions led by Uma Paro’s resident Yoga instructor
• Mask performance
• Bhutanese film night
• Evening of traditional music and dance

On 25th December, Father Christmas arrives with his horsecart, the evening featuring a special ‘hot chocolate with churros’ treat of thick hot chocolate with a fried pastry. The day ends with a classical Bhutanese instrumental performance (a sound similar to a guitar played alongside a xylophone). On New Year’s Day, guests can enjoy a special festive meal.

With plenty to choose from for families and individuals, this is a chance to reconnect with the things that matter most to Uma’s guests—inquisitive, active, adventuresome people. There will also be time to relax at COMO Shambhala Retreat under the nurturing hands of a masseur, as well as opportunity to explore the mountains, villages and byways, with scheduled hikes and walking meditations led by experienced English-speaking staff.

By staying at Uma Paro and paying with your MasterCard during the holiday season, you can make a positive contribution to the local community in Bhutan.

From 1st October to 31st December 2010, guests at Cocoa Island, Uma Paro, Uma Ubud, the Metropolitan Bangkok and COMO Shambhala Estate will be supporting local community initiatives simply by paying with MasterCard. For every transaction logged, MasterCard will make a donation of US$30 to a local charitable cause. Beneficiaries include a Bhutanese nunnery, a Balinese care centre for the mentally disabled, as well as Balinese, Thai and Maldivian local schools.

These organisations are longstanding partners of the respective COMO hotel or resort located nearby, with service missions closely aligned to COMO’s commitment to their local cultures, economies, environments and communities. In addition to this ‘Purchase with Purpose’ programme, the properties work year-round with these partners through funding, capacity building, staff engagement and skill development. Such community investment is part of a more holistic effort called the COMO Approach, geared towards developing and operating COMO Hotels and Resorts in a sustainable and responsible fashion.

Kela Goemba, located in Cheele La, Bhutan, houses 58 Bhuddhist nuns aged between 13 and 84 years old. At the sacred heart of the local community, the nuns lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer, and meditation. Their remote, mountainous location means that even basic supplies are scarce and the little government support they receive is earmarked for food. In addition to Uma Paro’s ongoing donations and support, each MasterCard ‘Purchase with Purpose’ will help provide a ‘three-month essentials package’ for each of the nuns, comprising a toothbrush, toothpaste, cold cream, soap, shampoo, laundry soap and sanitary pads.

Understanding Uma: Uma means ‘Living House’ in Bahasa, the Indonesian national language. Developed by COMO Hotels and Resorts, Uma properties are located in unspoilt, inland locations. They are also ecologically aware. Every aspect of an Uma resort is infused with indigenous attributes, from design to cuisine to local staff knowledge. The intention is to immerse guests in the textural richness of the resort’s carefully chosen region – from culture to religion and landscape – offering the dual experience of escape and adventure. This is complemented by the holistic core of the COMO Shambhala philosophy, featuring Yoga and Asian-inspired therapies. Uma Paro’s sister resort, Uma Ubud, is located in Bali. For more information, visit www.uma.paro.como.bz