Friday, 18 April 2014

-| Punakha |-

altitude – 1200 mts
temperature – 12 deg C / 5 deg C

I had thought the route from Paro to Thimpu was beautiful but it was no comparison to the route towards Punakha.

A brief stop at Dochula pass (alt. 3150 mts) allowed us a picturesque view of the Himalayas. The 108 Chortens brings multifold merit to all sentient beings. As seen in most other places, we saw a lot of prayer flags which are tied with the belief that the blowing breeze will gather spiritual power and bless them & their family with well-being. 

A gradual change in topography and flora were indicators that we were heading towards the low valley of Punakha. We stopped at one point on the road where Jamyang sprayed the holy water of Drub Chhu on himself. The locals believe it to be an auspicious waterfall as its source point is not known. 


(Jamyang Chopel - our driver)

Having known us for a few days now, he suggested having ‘makka’ at the road side of Thinley Gang village which we enjoyed (Though I would have loved some salt, red chilli powder and lemon juice with it)

Did I mention before that Bhutan’s land and people both are beautiful.

The view from our hotel room balcony was so beautiful that we sat there for hours until it was dark and the insects started using our bodies for their resting place! 


We heard shouts for khakras and theplas when we entered the dining hall for breakfast and Yash exclaimed that gujjus seem to be around. And wasn’t she right? A large group of Guajaratis were seated on two long dining tables happily munching away and asking for more homemade food. [For those who are not aware, we gujjus love food and love to lug it around on our trips. Fyi - My mummy was a tad bit disappointed that I did not follow the tradition & take theplas with me ;) ]


Punakha Dzong is situated on the confluence of Mo Chhu (father) and Po Chhu (mother) rivers in Wangdue district. It is a majestic structure. 


‘Om Ma ni Pe me Hum’  are the words to recite while circling the prayer wheel. It is basically a Sanskrit word and means that through the practice of a path that is a union of love and compassion with wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of Buddha.

Om – AUM (pure exalted body, speech and mind of Buddha)

Mani – jewel (for method, great compassion and love)

Peme – lotus (for wisdom)

Hum – union 

Mr Shah of the big Gujju group was kind to take our photos. He was excited, a little confused and certainly amazed that we were traveling by ourselves without a guide – Just the two of you?!?!?! Yes Boss! 


One quick stop to the post office and then off to Chimi Lhakhang. It is located in a small village called Yowakha. It is situated on a rounded hillock which is accessed by a 20 minute walk on a long muddy road with agricultural fields on both sides. Mostly all houses in this village have painting of phallus on their exterior walls which is considered to be very auspicious. (at this point I was in no mood to click structures and hence there are no images of Lhakhang) 


On our way back, Madam wanted to check out a construction site where hammered earth was being used. We went half way and I just wanted to sit there to gaze the scenery. It felt as if I was the only human alive when i was there by myself. She went there by herself, while I enjoyed the feel of breeze on my face. (Please be in touch with her for details of the construction) 


From here, we resumed our way to central Bhutan. Next stop – Trongsa  


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