Blogs from Bumthang, Bhutan, Asia

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Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang » Jakar October 20th 2016

Was für ein Tag. Die ersten 170 Km war Baustelle. Ich kann's nicht fassen. Wie kann man über diese Distanz die ganze Straße aufreißen (Karma,unser Führen, hat gesagt, They have dismantled the street - und genau das haben sie getan) und mit so wenig technischen Mitteln eine solche Baustelle betreiben? ??? Schlaglöcher mit/ohne Wasser, Felsen, ziemlich viel Sand. Aber am Schlimmsten war der schlammige Lehm, auf dem Paulchen wild herumtanzte. Bis vor zwei Tagen war die Straße gesperrt, denn die Regenfälle der letzten Woche haben für zahllose Bergrutsche gesorgt. Und natürlich war da heute noch viel auf der Straße. Sie war teilweise wie eine Mondlandschaft. Und einmal wäre ich um Haaresbreite samt MR in den Abgrund gerutscht. Von 8.00 bis 17.30 war ich unterwegs, Mittagspause 30 Min. Eben ein grauenvoller Tag.... read more
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Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang February 14th 2016

Travelling further east on the windy roads we bumped and bounced over the Yotongla pass into the Bumthang area which is in fact made up of 4 valleys. We drove through one valley and into the Bumthang valley and were almost at our lunch stop when Aita slowed down and peered out of his window - a flat tyre. It's amazing that this hadn't happened before but was bad timing!! Still, this didn't phase either of them and the new wheel was on before we knew it. I was having an off day and lunch was at a local farm which was really not what I fancied so neither of us would try the chilli cheese curry which is the national dish so Dendup and Aita tucked in. H was of course willing to try arak, ... read more
Pass to Trongsa
Trongsa

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang » Jakar October 30th 2013

Today is a dry day in Bhutan bahahahahahha .It is also a day when no-one in the country apart from taxis and tourist vehicles are allowed on the roads. There wasn’t much going on at the festival early on so we went out to the Kurjey Lhakhang temple. Its an impressive piece of architecture as they all are but today was a very lucky day for us. The first Goemba is presided over by a Lhama in prayer and is very serene. The walls are covered by frescos once again, and also by the thousand Bhudda statues on the opposite wall. The shrine itself is all gold and beauty. We cross over to another of the Goembas which is very sparse as the shrine is hidden by hundred foot wooden doors. Shane decides he isn’t going ... read more

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang October 24th 2012

As you fly into Bhutan you are quickly reminded that this is a country of mountains. Most of the towns are built in the valleys between the mountains but a few villages are perched high up in the clouds. This country is green and lush due to the many evergreen trees along with a smattering of deciduous trees that are now currently turning soft fall colors. It is such a treat. Not that much snow falls on most of the mountains due to the latitude of Bhutan and the current weather patterns. We are told if you come in April all the spring flowers will be in bloom and it is amazing. This portion of our voyage brought us to some of the places that many westerners do not have the opportunity to visit, mainly due ... read more
Yak it up
Location is everything
Punakha Valley

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang » Ura May 18th 2011

If an eighth century saint answers a village’s prayer to cure a leprosy epidemic, it is only fitting that the miracle be commemorated for ever after in dance and colour and panache. And when that village is in Bhutan, the dance and colour and panache are truly fabulous. On my first trip to Bhutan, I’d been lucky enough to go to one of the biggest festivals in the country, the Tsechu held in the imperious Punakha Dzong, which marks the anniversary of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s seventeenth century victory over the Tibetans. The Tsechu had been an incredible occasion, presided over by Bhutanese Buddhism’s highest-ranking official, the Je Khenpo, with elaborate dances and re-enactments, fabulously-dressed crowds and colour, bemused tourists and rituals, and the closest I’ve seen to a traffic jam in this sparsely-populated country. This ... read more
dressed to the nines
Ura's temple
"be prepared, come armed!"

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang May 15th 2011

There aren’t many places in the world where you can gaze upon sights that few, whether local or visitor, have seen – or will ever see. The route up Mount Kilimanjaro seems to be a well-beaten highway; the path to Everest Base Camp in Nepal is apparently strewn with litter; crossing the Gobi there are very few moments when the view is not dotted with at least a couple of gers. Even two years’ ago, I’d walked paths in Bhutan that, if not in the guidebooks, nevertheless saw the regular footfall of local people, with their horses and yaks, going about their daily lives. This year was different. For three days we didn’t see another person. Tshetem himself hadn’t walked this route in five years, and had only ever brought two groups of tourists here before ... read more
wot you lookin' at?
rhododendron
damply setting out

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang » Jakar May 5th 2011

Thursday morning, Rinchen spoke with us about the 10 rules to be born as a human. The guidelines were quite similar to the 10 commandments. Tobgay helped with the translations as Rinchen's English still sometimes eludes us. After his talk, we meditated together. It was easy to go deep in such a conducive environment. Finally, we had the opportunity to place objects on the altar for blessing. We placed our 2 red marble pieces that Tshering gave us on Wednesday as we hiked up to Kuenzangdak Gompa. We had stopped by a water-powered prayer wheel halfway up the mountain and Tshering found the marble in the stream. In the blessing, Rinchen read prayers, three rice, poured holy water along the altar, then distributed rice to each of us. At his cue, we repeatedly tossed rice upon ... read more
Growing wild in Bhutan
Jakar marketplace

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang May 5th 2011

Wednesday morning, we set out for Kuenzangdak Gompa, reportedly the most challenging of our hikes. Less than half the group elected to go. We had seen the gompa while visiting the nunnery a few days ago. It was across the valley and high above the nunnery, so we had a preview of the vertical climb. Indeed, even those hearty souls, thus far, found this climb to be quite a challenge. We brought up the rear of the group with our now well-practiced "slow and steady" approach, with plenty of stops to recover and drink lots of water. After about 2 and a half hours with increasingly spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, we caught sight of the gompa clinging to the rock face. Even more impressive than Tharpaling in construction, it seems a miracle that any structure ... read more
Potatoe field
First glimpse of Kuenzangdak Gompa
Palomino grazing near Kuenzangdak

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang May 5th 2011

Tuesday morning, we drove an hour along windy roads through a beautiful mix of mountains and valleys filled with farms growing wheat and potatoes. A long climb up a dirt track of hairpin turns, quite muddy in some spots, made us greatly appreciative of our 4-wheel drive vehicles. Water-powered prayer wheels dotted the track all the way up to a tiny village where we left the cars. From there, under a light rain, a steep but short hike brought us up to Tharpaling Monastery, a very small monastery of a dozen or so monks, including several boys. This site is one of the special meditation places of Padmasambhava and his consort, Yeshe Tsogyel. There are images in many temples we've visited of Padmasambhava riding on the back of Yeshe Tsogyel, in the incarnation of a flying ... read more
Tharpaling Monastery Courtyard
Main temple at Tharpaling
Our monk guide, Rinchen

Asia » Bhutan » Bumthang May 2nd 2011

Monday morning, we set out to Mebar Tsho, popularly known as "the lake", though it is actually a fast running river. The lake part is a very deep area between high narrow cliffs where the water appears to move slowly, but actually is full of eddys and whirlpools that swirl out of sight into a cave area under the cliff face. The site is a sacred place as it is where one of the sacred "terma" (religious treasures of understanding buried by bygone gurus to enlighten the world in a later time) was found. Prayer flags are everywhere, and a holy man sits in a shallow cave along the trail leading to the water, chanting and burning incense. Tiny chortens abound. The rocks above and by the water are slippery and there are no guardrails. Our ... read more
Bumthang Valley
Pema Thak Choke Choling Shedra Nunnery
Bumthang Valley




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