Heavenly Valley is Phobjikha in Bhutan
Heavenly Valley is Phobjikha in Bhutan
Had a great day in Punakha yesterday with river rafting, stories, songs. As per plan today our car is running towards Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is about 150 kilometers away from Thimphu city on a hilly road. This side of Bhutan offers a bit of an authentic Bhutanese feel beyond the urban atmosphere. Apart from this, as there is an opportunity to stay with local people in the homestay, one can mix with the Bhutanese culture.
During the journey, lunch is served at a typical Bhutanese restaurant. Basically truck drivers traffic is more here. However, the shop is quite crowded due to its reputation of serving good quality food at cheap prices. Football game is playing on TV, everyone is enjoying the game along with eating. The restaurant owner came forward and arranged to eat in a separate chamber. Next to the restaurant, the stream is running fast. After eating and drinking, I left everyone aside to take a picture of Jhiri. Come and see that the search for me has begun. Some tried to feign anger to delay but failed. The journey started again with laughter.
After about a couple of hours of driving, the white mountains in the distance were beckoning. The closer we get to Phobjikha, the more we merge with nature. The cold also started increasing gradually. I reached the desired destination Phobjikha Valley in the late afternoon before dusk. Before arriving, I heard from the driver about the fresh vegetables here. Which we will get in our homestay. Crossing the bumpy valley road, we finally landed at our designated Bhutanese family home. Everyone was delighted to see the view of the pine forest behind and the wide open valley ahead. But that elation did not last long. Talking on the phone without seeing anyone at home, it was learned that everyone had gone to pray for the death of an old family member. At such a sad time, they could not entertain guests at home, so they arranged to stay with another family. On my way back, I found the house of the determined family. This home is right next to the valley’s black neck crane habitat. It is important to mention here that the Black Neck Crane is a guest bird of Bhutan that flocks to Phobjikha from Tibet, which is a symbol of holiness for them. Special festivals are also organized in Phobjikha to mark the arrival of this bird. Which is a symbol of purity to them. Special festivals are also organized in Phobjikha to mark the arrival of this bird. Which is a symbol of purity to them. Special festivals are also organized in Phobjikha to mark the arrival of this bird.
Their luggage was taken home. The rooms allotted to us are essentially extensions of the old house. This section is designed to accommodate new guests. The master of the house invited everyone to the middle room like the dining room to have welcome tea by warming up with the heat of the heater next to the stove. Tea is served with square salted biscuits and rice cakes. Everyone played very happily. All but one teenager in the house are women. There is also an elder and a priest among them. Tea was consumed together with the members of the house. Like others in Bhutan, they do not speak English well. Our driver Kinjong was acting as interpreter. Ordered after listening to the dinner menu. Various items of Bhutanese vegetables.
After planning to take a bath after the tea session, I had to hesitate because the bathroom geyser was not working. But some adventurers including me managed to do it in this terrible cold. Then everyone had a lively chat. In the meantime, when it was time for dinner, they sent word. All the local vegetable items served with cheese were well eaten. Beans, potatoes, spinach are all topped with cheese. A few of us went out for a walk after having a cup of tea at night. There was so much cloud movement all around that our stargazing plans died in the field. After returning, I fell asleep under the thick blanket of three layers.
Woke up early in the morning to the sound of the alarm. The purpose is to enjoy the heavenly morning. It was so easy to get out of the thick blanket in such cold weather. not that But when I left the room, I saw that I was not alone. Mamun Bhai is also sitting up. Priyanka also gets up and freshens up. Mamun Bhai and I left without delay. Looking down the valley for Black Neck Cranes. But I was disappointed not to see it. But the distant mountain valley covered with clouds is like a heavenly garden. The two of us started walking out of the house. Pictures were being taken a lot. In between met some school going children. The sun was slowly peeking out from behind the mountains. We also made our way back to the homestay. Come and see that everyone’s photo session has started on the balcony of the homestay. Driver Kinjong is also ready with the car. After preparing breakfast, we went out with the car. The objective is to explore the entire valley. I left the paved road and took a rocky path to the left. In the soft sunshine of the sun, the whole valley seems to match its shape. From a distance, the driver saw a group of black neck cranes. Heading to the valley to take pictures A little further, the driver Kinjong started calling frantically from a distance. As part of the bird’s conservation, it is forbidden to go here and there are likely to be huge fines. I came back soon. The picture of the bird was taken from a distance. After spending some more time, I finally arrived at the homestay and prepared to return after having a light breakfast.
I said goodbye to the house hosts and made my way back. I took a break at some places to see Gangtey Jung. Its position is well above the valley area. Nice spacious establishment. A good view of Phobjikha is available from here. I turned around and entered. Cameras are prohibited inside so I didn’t take them out. Visited the entire Jung. One has to be surprised by the construction style of these ancient structures. Some European tourists were also met here. There are several gift shops near the gate. A little further with interest, I had to stop after seeing the high prices of the products. It is beyond the reach of ordinary people like us because the price is mainly targeted at tourists from Europe and America. Then the return journey started from Gangtey Jung. Destination Thimpu city. Overnight at Thimphu will start our country journey early in the morning. An extraordinary heavenly journey has come to an end.