Trongsa to Bhumtang
This morning we leave for a leisurely four-hour drive to Jakar Village in Bhumthang. Along the way there will be ample time to stop at a moment’s notice as your photographic eye spots every sort of cultural scene that can be imagined. The route crosses YotongLa pass (10,800 ft.) which is marked by a chorten and an array of prayer flags. This 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.
As we descent 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. Lunch at Chendebji Chorten Cafeteria.
Continue on to Jakar, the central town of the Bhumthang district. As you enter the Chhume Valley (the first of the four valleys that comprise the Bhumthang Valley) you will visit a center of Yathra weaving. Yathra is the name for the locally produced hand-woven woolen cloth. Distinctive patterns and bright earthy colors enliven the fabric which is used for a wide variety of purposes and sought after throughout Bhutan. We have been asked many times, “Where is the best place to buy authentic Bhutanese handicrafts?” This is that place! They have a huge assortment of hand-woven cloth, jackets, bags and clothing as well as a few authentic antiques and rugs woven by Tibetan refugees.
When we reach Jakar we will check into and have lunch at Yu Gharling Resort. Then it’s off for an afternoon of exploring the Bhumthang valley. We will discuss options at lunch and everyone will undoubtedly head off in different directions then meet back at Yu Gharling Resort for dinner. Two suggestions that are a must-see are the Swiss cheese/Red Panda Beer factory and the ancient and revered Tamshing Temple, known to the locals as the Temple of Good Messages. Built in 1501 by Pema Lingpa with “…the help of celestial beings,” this temple is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. The temple houses an ancient chainmail jacket that is said to wash away sins of the people who are able to wear it over the shoulders while circumambulating the temple three times.
Overnight: Overnight: Yu Gharling Resort. (Leave laundry here for pickup in two days.)