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Another beautiful day in Thimphu. We drove up to near the telecom towers above Thimphu and then took a lovely walk of about an hour to a temple high on a crest of another hill. Near the start of our walk we went through a forest of prayer flags. Here is Julie among them.
We then continued to the temple. Here is a view of the door to the courtyard.
And here are some “sanctuary roosters” that live there. They have been saved from the slaughter house and brought here to enjoy their days. Their crowing punctuated our meditation.
We spent some time in the temple and then started our way back. Here is a large prayer wheel just outside the temple and a lovely view of the Thimphu Dzong from this spot.
And just outside their compound is this view of the Thimphu Dzong.
We ended our tour day with a walk through the Thimphu Zoo. We saw the Takin – the National Animal, sort of goats head on a 750 lb. cows body. Too far away to see with this camera, but pretty impressive. There were young ones as well.
Today we toured Thimphu, essentially the capital of Bhutan, as the King’s offices and palace are here.
Here is a picture of Thimphu.
And here is then giant Buddha being built on a hill overlooking Thimphu. It is reputed to be the largest Buddha Shakymuni in the world. The Chinese are doing the building. The temple in the base has yet to be built.
Wen visited some great places in town – the Kings Memorial Chorten, the National Libaray ( full of books written in Tibetan that few can read with comprehension anymore), the School of Arts and Crafts ( where we saw students doing traditional wood carving, drawing , painting, embroidery and weaving – it was fascinating), and a traditional paper factory. They make paper out of daffney bark.. I have the steps on video. We really loved the process – and the product !
And here is the BIG corner downtown. The only place there has ever been a traffic light in Bhutan. But they took it out and put the policeman back in. Seems to work better.
We also visited the post office and the main bank – Bank of Bhutan (Bob). Then after the work day is over you are allowed to enter the Thimphu Dzong.. called Tashichhhodzong. All Dzongs date from the 17th century and house both governmental and religious functions for the area. This Dzong houses the National level of both functions.
Here is a picture of the Assembly Building right across the river from the Dzong.
And here is the interior courtyard of the Dzong looking towards the King’s throne room. We could not take pictures inside there. It was fabulous. There are a 1000 Buddha paintings and 1000 Buddha statues and 3 thrones ( the last king, the current king and the religious leader), everything very ornate and beautiful.
Our revised schedule is now known. Tomorrow we will take a short hike to a temple in the area, visit the National Zoo and a Nunnery. Friday we will go to Dochu-La, a pass on the way to Punakha with views of the entire eastern range. We will take a hike there and spend the night. Saturday we catch up with our old schedule, descending into Punakha.
Woke up to frost. Can’t imagine how cold it would have been at the original campsite which was more than 1000 feet higher and more exposed. In the light we could better see the auspicious prayer flags, and also the extreme drop for the next part of the trek out. ( Good thing we could stop here in our nighttime hike down the mountain.)
We broke camp at leisure and started down about 8:45 am. We walked down and down, often without a clear path. We passed a house alone in the woods with a few guard dogs and no people. We threw them a few West Coast Trail cookies (from Cafe 932 in Victoria) to pacify them. We forded a stream and hiked up a bit. And then all at the same time.. about 11 am – we found the end of the road, Tashi (carrying tea and sandwiches) caught up, the horses caught up and our car showed up.
We had a quick bite as they loaded our bags from the horses to the car. We tipped our wonderful crew with money and Canadian scarves and headed for Thimpu.
So I guess we did our Druk Trek in 2 nights and 2.5 days, although we did have an assist from modern transport.
We are now at the Hotel Migmar for a few days. We will have a revised itinerary soon. At the moment all we want is rest. Altitude sickness is , apparently, not finished with you immediately. There is lingering tiredness and loss of appetite. We already know Norbu has an easy day planned for us tomorrow.