Bhutan Cross Country Cultural and Festivals Itinerary

Day 7 — {date7}
DomKar Lam
The Domkhar Lama has become a good friend of the tour and looks forward to meeting you and posing for environmental portraits.

Trongsa to Chumey Valley, Bhumtang District

At 8 A.M. we leave for a three- hour drive to a two-night stay in Domkhar Cluster Village.  The route crosses YotongLa pass (10,800 ft.) which is marked by a chorten and an array of prayer flags--it marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan as well as the western border of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Beyond Pele La is Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. We will pass through the village of Rukubji Valley with its big secondary school and Gompa. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat.

Piles of manure attest to Bhutan's desire to become the world's first totally organic country--a 10 year goal has been set.

As we descend the pass we drive down through rhododendrons and ferns and reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans traveling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century. 

Domkar Family Life
"The matriarch (grandma) of the family welcomes us to her home. She was doing laundry outside at the time. This is her front yard. The hut behind her is probably a storage unit...not her actual house, which was surprisingly fairly large."  Photo and caption by 2016 tour participant Trent.

When we reach Domkhar, after lunch at the hotel each car will visit a different farmhouse for tea and cultural exchanges with the farmer’s family. We will get the royal tour and see how farm families go about their daily lives. Then if time permits we can go to Tharpaling Temple and meet the Domkhar Lam and explore this ancient structure, a cloister of buildings that includes the temple, several small chortens and the lama’s living quarters.

Domkar Family Life
"... I wanted to include one shot of the father dressing his son in Domkhar. At the meetings and in the itinerary, you advertise that 'You can join the family as the kids dress up in their kira/gho and prepare for their day (school/tsechu).'" Photo and caption by 2016 tour participant Trent.

Since we will be at the hotel for two nights this is a good time to turn in laundry for the next day’s delivery but only if the sun is shining because they don’t have a dryer here and your laundry will be hung on a line to dry.

 
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"I voted" badge pinned among ancient Bhutanese family jewels.
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Our tour crosses the entire country to find hidden waterfalls and gorges, canyons and valleys. You are the captain of your ship so stop the car whenever your eye spots a good photo op. (Notice the stream flows over, not under the National Highway making for easy Bhutanese drive through car washes.)
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Background photo by Robin Smillie
“I cannot imagine doing Bhutan any other way." —TripAdvisor Review of Rainbow Photo Tours