Embrace Bhutan Cultural Tour
Lateral Road | Bhutan
12 Nov 2019 | Tue
Day 06 of 13
- Morning Walkabout | Wangchuk Dem Village Gangtey
- Drive | Gangtey to Trongsa to Jakar
- Passed by Chendebji Chorten
- Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Dam
- Riding on the Edge of Bhutan’s Lateral Road
- Trongsa Dzong
- Lunch in Trongsa
- Hotel Ugyen Ling Jakar
Drive | Gangtey to Trongsa to Jakar
Since there will be some overlap in coverage between this post and Riding on the Edge of Bhutan’s Lateral Road, I will only be posting a general outline of today’s events driving to Trongsa and Jakar.
Drive | Gangtey to Trongsa
After loading up and leaving Wangchuk Dem Village, Gangtey it was time to begin our driving journey to our next two destinations – Trongsa and Jakar.
We start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan, crossing Pele La Pass and Yotong La Pass. In the morning, we return to the main highway and climb up to the Pele La Pass (10,825ft). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan.
Beyond Pele La are Longtey, Rukubji and Chendebji valley where people raise sheep and yaks. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat.
En route past the 18th century Chendebji Chorten, a whitewashed stone chorten (or stupa) built in order to nail into the ground a demon who had been terrorizing the inhabitants of the valley.
The last leg of our drive is crossing streams, waterfalls, passing farmlands and villages as well as primordial forests that have never been inhabited because of the deities believed to reside there. The road finally emerges from the gorge and follows Mangde Chu river valley, then it turns and heads straight north to Trongsa.
The first sight of the Trongsa Dzong one of the largest in Bhutan, is from across the valley. But the road winds another 12.5 miles before we will actually get there.
Passing By Chendebji Chorten
Chendebji Chorten is a stupa in Bhutan, located 41 kilometres (25 mi) west of Trongsa at 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) in elevation.
According to legend, Chendebji Chöten covers the body of an “evil spirit”.
Chendebji Chorten is constructed in the style of Nepalese stupas such as Boudhanath. It was built at some point in the 18th century, and is located along the Chorten Lam, a path connecting various chortens in Bhutan. A prayer wall or mani stone is located in the complex. It was constructed by Lam Oensey Tshering Wangchuk, reportedly to repel the demon Ngala.
A festival is held there annually from the 21st to the 25th day of the 9th lunar month of the Bhutanese calendar.
– Wikipedia Chendebji Chorten
Passing By Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Dam Trongsa
Riding on the Edge of Bhutan’s Lateral Road
For more info on our exciting journey along Bhutan’s Lateral Road – with road conditions, construction projects, info on unstable area near Trongsa, and more!, check out our post Riding on the Edge of Bhutan’s Lateral Road.
Visit the Impressive Trongsa Dzong
Visit the spectacular Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1647, it is also the ancestral home of the Royal Family, and both the first and second kings ruled the country from Trongsa. The Dzong sits on a narrow spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde-Chu River and overlooks the routes east, west and south. It was built in such a way that in the olden days, it had complete control over all east-west traffic. This helped to augment the strategic importance of the Dzong which eventually placed its Penlop (regional ruler) at the helm of a united country when His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck became the first king of Bhutan. To this day, the Crown Prince of Bhutan becomes the Penlop of Trongsa before ascending the throne, signifying its historical importance.
We will also, visit Ta Dzong Museum, dedicated to the Monarchs of Bhutan, which had its cradle in Trongsa, and the history of Trongsa Dzong.
Drive | Trongsa to Jakar
Following lunch depart for Bumthang valley (8,500 ft), the cultural and historic heart of the kingdom. From Trongsa, the road rises rapidly through a series of hairpin bends until you arrive at Yotong La Pass (11,200 ft). From here the road descends until you arrive at Chume Valley (the first of the four valleys) we will visit several center of “Yathra” weaving. Yathra is the name for the colorful, hand-woven woolen cloth (often with geometric designs) that is produced in this region. Distinctive patterns and bright, earthy colors enliven the fabric, which is used for a wide variety of purposes and sought after throughout Bhutan. Continue our drive to Jakar (district headquarters) crossing the Kiki La Pass (9,500ft).