Tuesday, October 9, 2012

MY GRANDFATHER

I have been quite lately...that's because my grandfather (my mother's father) recently passed away, the man born in 1924 finally returned to ashes in 2012. It was a really sad news for the entire family. He was a religious man like most of the Bhutanese...and he was blessed because not only his four daughters loved and cared for him, so did all his grand-kids and great grand-kids. It was heart breaking news for everyone in the family because most of us couldn't have final words of good bye with him since he was at our village, in fact just last month he was here at Thimphu with one of my aunts but he insisted on returning to his home...perhaps he knew about his last day.


From what I learnt from our family members who were with him at the end...he woke up with the rise of sun and slept forever with the setting of the sun. It was so comforting to know that he died a painless death. He just slept and went away in his sleep. People say, he was a really religious man and earned the right to a peaceful death. We did all the important rituals after him and some are to continue for a long time, but if it means a better life after this life, we are more than happy to do it.


Its been three weeks since he departed yet its hard to believe he is gone, every time I see his picture it hits me with a bang that he is no more with us. But there is nothing anyone of us can do...we can only pray for his confused soul and help him find his way through the dark and hope that he has a better next life. 


WE ALL LOVE YOU MAYMAY, miss u!

Monday, August 13, 2012

TRAVELLING THROUGH BHUTAN-PARO

I have been to Paro and I find it very beautiful…I love going there as often as possible. Somehow I find Paro very calm and it makes me feel at home, although I don’t have a home there ^_^ anyways there are lots of important sites that can be seen in Paro. It has the first airport in Bhutan (National airport) and the first National museum (Ta Dzong). It also has lots of important religious places and I will be honest, I haven’t visited them all. But today I ll talk about the most phenomenal place in Paro and which I visited twice (aiming for minimum of third visit), Taktshang!
Taktshang is named so since it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche)  flew into the cave riding on a tigress, Taktshang means tiger’s nest in Dzongkha (my national language). It is said that Guru Rinpoche took the form of Guru Dorji Drolo (one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche) to subdue the demons in that cave. The cliff on which Taktshang stand resembles the face of Phurpa (Vajrakila), the ritual dagger. And I have seen the picture of it myself at Taktshang but sadly I don’t have it here.
Taktshang was first built in 1692 by the fourth Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye (ruler of the country in the earlier centuries). It is believed that the walls constructed during the day were destroyed at night by the local demons so Desi Tenzin Rabgye cut off his hair and mixed it with the mud and used it in the construction, this stopped the demons and the construction was carried out smoothly. Taktshang caught fire (due to short circuit) in 1998 and it was restored in 2005 under the leadership of the fourth king, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.



It is an uphill climb of one and half hour to two hours and one hour to one and half hour downhill (depending on the individual). The way to Taktshang is never deserted, there are people seen going towards Taktshang almost everyday. It is The walk was really tiring but it was worth it when we saw the Taktshang Dzong. 




It looks so magnificent and we believed in magic because it is impossible to build a structure in such a location...esp in those times when the country lacked technology.
As a kid, my parents used to tell me that the angels helped in constructing Taktshang Dzong and when I saw it I believed it...



There are small huts on the way to Takthang (opposite to it) where monks and other interested people come for meditations. And personally it is a really nice place to relax, meditate and cleanse our minds. 


Photography is strictly prohibited inside the Dzong so sadly I cant show you how beautiful it is in the inside...I wish I could because the views from inside the Dzong and the Lhakhangs inside the Dzongs are all so unique and beautiful. There is an underground cave within one of the Lhakhangs where Guru Rinpoche did his meditation...it was superb. 

The following are the pictures taken throughout the walk towards Taktshang.


My Friend's back view while climbing up
View of Taktshang from half way

This prayer wheel is more or less like the half way from the end of the vehicle road till Taktshang



A monk returning to Taktshang after some grocery shopping at Paro
View of Paro from above
Scary location of Taktshang

Waterfall near Taktshang
This is the place is called as Singye phug (Lion's cave), this is where Khandro Yeshe Tshogyal (consort of Guru Rimpoche) meditated 

Inside the Singye Phug
View of the stairs from the huts till the actual Taktshang Dzong from the Singye Phug
The entrance to the Dzong and there is a small cave within which lies a spring water

We offer butter lamps here, on the way to the Dzong, somewhere on the long way of staircase 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

THE UNFORTUNATE DAY


Every Bhutanese will remember this unfortunate day…it is the day when one of our histories got burnt to ashes. It is really heart breaking news. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1638. The moment I heard about the news, my heart just sank…I hoped it to be a rumor but sadly it was an unfortunate fact. The location of the Dzong, which once proved to be a safe place, especially during the wars, now turned out to be a hindrance for the fire fighters. As I write this article the fire is still destroying the remaining part of the Dzong.
Picture I took of the Dzong in September 2010, obviously before the fire
I am sure the Dzong will be rebuilt, but to me, the Dzong that’s been burnt can never be replaced because it’s the structure that will be rebuilt but now the history sadly changes…so it is really breaking my heart. The only good news is the important religious texts were not destroyed in the fire.
Here are some of the pictures that were taken by some of the witnesses. I took it from facebook (http://www.facebook.com/groups/111684952250172/)



Thursday, March 1, 2012

TRAVELLING THROUGH BHUTAN-BUMTHANG


I made the best use of the week long national holiday last week. It’s more like doing one of the important things in my bucket list. Well people last week I was in BUMTHANG, it was a short four days trip with my family. And boy it was breathtaking; no wonder everyone wants to visit this beautiful place. To be honest beautiful is not enough to describe how I felt about BUMTHANG, actually I can’t even find the perfect word to describe it. It was like; God took most of his precious time to create this heavenly place. So in this article I ll use lots of pictures so that you can actually see for your self how BUMTHANG is like.
Trongsa Dzong, view from the view point

We started late on the first day so we could only manage to reach TRONGSA, we halted there for the night. It was a 5 hours journey till Trongsa from PUNAKHA (my village). But from Thimphu it’s almost 6-7 hours journey. We couldn’t visit much of Trongsa since it wasn’t in our plan but we did get good shots during our short stay in Trongsa on the first day and the last day (since we halted there again while returning to Thimphu)
Ta Dzong, National Museum 
The following are the pictures taken on the way till Trongsa.


Chendebji Chorten; there is a twin Chorten of this in Nepal
Tsheringma Drubchhu; believed to make your vocal melodious if you drink this spring water 


Basically Bumthang has four main valleys CHHUME, CHHOEKHOR, TANG and URA. I visited all the four valleys but couldn’t explore them well because for that four days are not enough. Anyways on our second day we reached Chhume valley and Chhoekhor valley. The moment we entered Chhume valley, my heart must have skipped a beat because it really deserved that. We took the ride real slow to enjoy what the Bumthang valley had to offer us. The view, the fragrance, the sites…I felt like a little kid in Disney land, trying to look at everything in one glance.




Image of people erecting a prayer flag pole




Since it was during the Losar (new year), people were playing the national game, ARCHERY 



New Chamkhar town

Industrial area of Bumthang; this way lead to the domestic airport of Bhutan

Glimpse of the Domestic airport runway

Anyways, the first thing we went to visit was the JAMPA LHAKHANG, which is under Chhoekhor valley. It is said to be one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 AD on a single day to subdue a demon. One of the 108 temples that still exist in Bhutan is KICHU LHAKHANG in PARO. Here in Jampa Lhakhang, the sacred naked dance is performed during the TSHECHU (festival). 
This is where the Buddhas status are
What fascinated me the most about this monastery was that it had the statue of three Buddhas, the Buddha of past, present and the future. And right before the statues were two stone steps (not man-made), according to the care taker; there is believed to be three stone steps from ancient times. But with the first Buddha gone, the first stone step disappeared. Like wise the remaining steps are expected to disappear with the present and the future Buddha.

The next place that we visited was KURJEY LHAKHANG. It is a very important and scared place since this monastery holds the body imprint of GURU RINPOCHE (a great lama) on the rock while he was meditating. I wish I could show what I saw but sadly photography is strictly prohibited inside the monastery. But from the outside, it’s the temple in between. The one on the right side of the temple has the statue of Guru Padmasambhhava. And on the left hold the ashes of Bhutan’s first three kings.


The above three Lhakhangs are the ones i just talked about.
The one on the left is the image of the Chorten right in the middle of the compound.

The image below is the carvings for prayers on the stones outside the compound.

Right above this monastery, lays the Kurjey Drubchhu (spring water). It is believed to have been extracted out of a rock by Guru Rinpoche. Bhutanese believe that this Drubchhu can heal various physical and mental problems.

people collect the spring water and take it home for those who were not there

On the third day we went to visit Tang valley and Ura valley.  There is a very scared lake in Tang valley called the MEBAR-TSHO (burning lake). PEMA LINGPA, a great lama had retrieved hidden relics from the lake which were used to propagate the teachings of Buddha. It is called the burning lake since he went into the lake carrying a burning butter lamp, and when he surfaced the butter lamp was still burning. Both ends of the lake looked completely wild but this lake was surprisingly calm and intense.







offering prayers near the burning lake

View of the lake from above


Front view of the lake

Tried to capture the intensity of the lake b



Over view of the Ura town with the Ura Lhakhang
After that we travelled towards Ura, which was approximately 2 to 3 hours from Tang. We couldn't enjoy the Ura valley since we had to make this visit short as we planned on returning to Trongsa for the night. But we did have great home made lunch at a small restaurant on the way and also enjoyed the sites.



Following are the sites I captured on the way.









On the fourth and the last day, we sadly returned home from TrongsaL. It breaks my heart to realise that I won’t be able to be in Bumthang as and when I want. I wish to have a house at Bumthang…haha…well I hope to see this wish coming true some day ^ _^

Following pictures were taken while returning to Trongsa






 HOPE YOU ALL HAD FUN GOING THROUGH THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE, BUMTHANG!!!