– Embrace Bhutan Cultural Tour –
> Punakha | Bhutan <
10 Nov 2019 | Sun
Day 04 of 13
– Visit Local Village Temple Dompola Lhakhang
> Lunch with Elderly Monks at Guenzhu Kepiling Centre Tshochasa Punakha <
– Lunch with Elderly Monks at Guenzhu Kepiling Centre Tshochasa Punakha –
Arrival and Meeting Head Monk
After a wonderful surprise visit to Dompola Lhakhang Temple, it was time to continue our journey up the mountain to Guenzhu Kepiling Centre – a unique retirement home facility built specifically for elderly monks. Resting on top of a mountain, this beautiful 73-acre sanctuary offers breathtaking 360-degree mountain views while overlooking the Punakha Valley. It’s the perfect spot for such a divine place!
Excursion to Guenzhu Kepiling Centre in Tshochasa – the old age home for elderly monks, to lead a life of quiet contemplation, contentment, and dignity. The home design has been developed by Tsao & McKown Architects, USA following the American Disabled Act and is pioneering old-age friendly design concepts in Bhutan. The home does not have any steps so to enable the movement of elderly people. It is equipped with hand railings, with even toilets connected with ramps.
Guen means Elderly/Elders
Zhu means Retired
Kepi means Peace
Ling means Place
Guenzhu Kepiling means… “Peaceful Place for Elderly Retired Monks”– Embrace Bhutan Travel
The purpose of our visit today was to meet the monks, tour their facility, and provide lunch for them. We owe a big thanks to our wonderful guide Tashi for planning and arranging this amazing visit!
After arriving, we met the head monk of the facility in a beautiful little Bhutanese styled meeting house that was cantilevered off the side of the mountain (with amazing views). He was very welcoming and provided us with some tasty snacks and drinks.
While waiting for the food to be delivered (home-cooked and locally prepared), we had a nice discussion about the history and background of Guenzhu Kepiling.
Sharing a Wonderful Meal with Elderly Monks
After our nice visit with the head monk, it was time to go into the dining area to help set up the meal we were providing for the elderly monks.
When and how rules that monks use when they eat their meals vary between the three schools of Buddhism (Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravada) but typically, common people are not allowed to share a meal with monks. But since this was a special occasion, we were allowed to share a meal with them – but we still tried to give them their privacy.
Touring Monk’s Living Quarters
After lunch, we got to tour some of the monks living quarters. Again, we did our best to be respectful and not impose on them. However many of them seemed to enjoy our company and welcomed us into their homes. Afterwards, we all got together and had a wonderful group photo. Unfortunately, when it was time to go, many of them seemed a bit sad to see us go.
Tour Of The Facility Grounds | Amazing Views
Before we left, I was able to walk around and take some pictures of the facility grounds along with checking out the amazing views!