Bhutan Day 3! Today we left Punakha at 9:00 a.m. and stopped at a local vegetable market. I took some photos and saw the local offerings of fresh vegetables and fruits. After a stop at the market we left Punakha and stopped at small town near there. We walked around town for a bit and checked out the local prayer wheels and met an 84 year old woman doing her daily prayers and then spent some time at the giant prayer wheel where locals were doing their daily prayers as well. We then walked through the small town and met up with Ganesh and we started our trip to the Gangtey Valley.
The Gangtey Valley is the highest valley I will be in, on this trip. We drove through the mountains to an elevation of 11,500 feet and then descended into the valley to an elevation of 9,500 feet. On the way we stopped at a roadside stand for some tangerines and peanuts. We saw beautiful scenery, some yaks, birds, and some monkeys on the way. Gangtey is famous for their potatoes and Black Necked Cranes. We started our journey through Gangtey at a temple. Another beautiful temple. While there we met 2 artisans that were working on wood carvings for the temple. Their craftsmanship is amazing! They are working on reconstructing panels for the temple. We spent some time with them watching them working on intricate carvings by hand and then spent some time in the temple. Sangay is so great at explaining the stories that describe the different meanings of each temple. The temple walls, on the inside, are all paintings telling the story of that particular temple. It was so interesting. I got blessed again at this temple after giving an offering. I am experiencing so much on this trip at each temple that we go to. Monks praying, offerings and blessings and just spending time sitting and enjoying the peace that each temple offers. It’s so different from other buddhist temples I’ve been to in other countries. Very peaceful and I feel like I’m experiencing so much more.
After the temple Sangay and I went on a 4km hike through the valley. We immediately met some kids on the trail and had to get some photos of them. They were so friendly and cute. Then we met some little girls that were sitting on their school backpacks and sliding down a hill. They were having so much fun. It was so fun to watch. We hiked through beautiful pine woods and stopped at the top of the watershed where the cranes live. Unfortunately, we missed the cranes by about a week or so. They left a week or two ago to go back to Tibet for the Summer. Still a beautiful hike.
After the hike we went to the crane foundation and watched a video and then had a chance to look through scopes set up looking into the watershed at the cranes. Since there were no cranes, we just spent time looking around the valley. My guesthouse for the night was just up the hill from the foundation so we went to the hotel. Sangay and I had a end of the day beer and Ganesh had some tea and they told me stories of other tours they have done together and had some great laughs!
Tonight Sangay had dinner with me as they are able to stay at the same hotel as me tonight. We talked a bit and then saw Ganesh after dinner. It’s an early night so I’m back in my room writing the blog and working on photos. I won’t be able to publish anything until I get back to Thimphu tomorrow evening, but glad I had time to write and work on the photos. So, by the time anyone reads this I’ll be back in Thimphu. Probably another Thimphu blog post tomorrow as well. Depends on what we see on the 5 hour journey back to the city. I’m sure we will see some cool stuff. So maybe 2 blog posts tomorrow!
Thanks for following along!