Wednesday, 16 April 2014

-| Phobhjika |-
     Bhutan 

altitude – about 3300 mts
temperature – 2 deg C / (-) 2deg C

We were a little sad that this is our last town in the trip. But the road and landscape was so gorgeous that it was difficult to stay gloomy. We were heading to Phobjika also known as Gangtey Valley. We had read that it is a vast U-shaped glacial valley. 

The road to Phojikha diverges from the main road before the Pele La and then is a 1.5km drive through forests to the Lowa (3360mts) , where we encountered a few stray yaks. We lost our way here but the most incredible thing is that I didn’t mind as it meant more views of stunning landscape. 

Once we reached the pass, the trees disappeared and the scenery switched dramatically to low-lying dwarf bamboo as the road descended to the village (Gangte village I presume).






(our resort - Dewachen Resort)









Our lunch  was steaming hot when it arrived and grew stone cold in a few minutes. And man, was it cold! Even Yash was all bundled up. We had an option to visit the Gangtey monastery but we chose not to, we had our share of monasteries. We decided to visit the carpet weaving factory and Black Necked Crane Centre and then one stroll in the village.



As luck would have it, both the carpet weaving factory and centre were shut – oops. But that disappointment was more than made up by the dazzling sights which this valley had to offer.   












The long walk to the village was filled with peace and stillness. The only sounds were occasional moos from cows and yaks and the wind swishing by us. We had understood and accepted the redundancy of language. Some people feel uncomfortable with silence but we didn’t need to fill space with words. We were freed from the need to communicate. I didn’t have to share my thoughts; I didn’t need to converse. I didn’t say absolutely anything for hours and Yash was not offended. This became my most treasured day – I had the liberty of silence. 








































On our way back to Paro, we met a road block as road extension was going on. And we met traffic for the first time in Bhutan – but the most wonderful thing was no honking. The cars, trucks, tempos were parked and drivers formed groups to exchange news / gossip. Wish they had tea vendors who sold chai so that we could have passed time more comfortably. 



(since the road were circuitous, we often went at a speed of 20km/hr) 
 

























Thankfully we didn’t encounter rain until the last day. It was colder in Paro from our first few days there. The clouds formed a ring around the mountain peaks just like how we see in films but think it can never be true. 














Fast facts about my trip:

1.       We covered the west and central Bhutan

2.       We travelled approximately 1800kms

3.       We had an altitude variation from 1200mts to 3300mts

4.       We trekked 1200mts one way

5.       Experienced temperatures from (-)2 degree Celsius to  12 degree Celsius (Can I included Kolkatta which hit 40deg??? )

6.       I craved for sugar in my diet and Yash missed salt!  

Alongside Bhutan's internationally applauded concept of Gross National Happiness, the jaw-dropping landscapes, and the plethora of Buddhist sights, the country takes a distinct pride in its cultural heritage in arts and crafts, and along with painting, weaving and woodwork, paper making is one of them.

While young people here as much as anywhere stare at their smart devices and wear the latest candy-colored headphones, keeping old wisdom alive and kicking is one of the pillars of the country's master plan for happiness, and this is visible in architecture, clothing and products for everyday life.


Tashi Delek!

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