Embrace Bhutan Cultural Tour
Punakha | Bhutan
10 Nov 2019 | Sun
Day 04 of 13
Visit Local Village Temple – Dompola Lhakhang
Unexpected Surprise Visit
On our way to visit with and provide lunch for elderly monks at Guenzhu Kepiling Centre Tshochasa Punakha, our guide Tashi asked the group if we be interested in visiting a nearby temple that was having a Buddhist ceremony. He told us that we could stop by for a few minutes then continue on to visit the elderly monks. The group quickly agreed – yes! let’s do it!
When we arrived our guide first went into the temple grounds to ask for permission and to make sure it was okay for us to visit – which they agreed that it would be okay. I’m sure Bhutanese people by now are used to tourists visiting their country but at the same time, I can only imagine what might be going through their minds when they see a group of strangers come to visit them and their temple.
So for us, it was understandable that we would be getting a lot of strange looks and stares but think for them, it was mostly out of curiosity. While walking around and observing we tried to be respectable and considerate and not too offending when taking pictures (after all this is their home, their temple, and their life).
I think when we arrived, we were early (before their ceremony) so many people gathered in the front seemed to be waiting while others in the back were busy preparing food and drinks. Everyone we came in contact with was very friendly and welcoming.
After a short time, people seemed to warm up and tried to interact with us. We had a few of the Bhutanese men offer us (men in the group) some of their homemade liquor. I think it’s referred to as “Ara”, which is a fermented or distilled alcohol that is usually made out of barley, rice, maize, millet, or wheat. It is also common to be used for religious purposes as an offering on certain auspicious days. A quick taste reminded me of a very strong sake.
Amazing Young Bhutanese Girl
Later, I (Dean) broke away from the group to take pictures of the temple (outside) and the surrounding area. after a few minutes, I was approached by a young girl who wanted to have a conversation. She asked a lot of questions about where I was from, what I did, and wanted to know what it was like flying on a plane. She requested that I take her picture (below).
This young Bhutanese girl was very unique – in a few words, her nature was, smart, elegant, and graceful. She had the demeanor of someone much older and wiser. It was such a pleasure to meet and talk with her.
Group Offering to Temple
Before we left, our group (along with Tashi’s help) made a donation offering to the head monks of the temple. We also thanked them for allowing us to visit their temple.
We were so glad for the opportunity to visit Dompola Lhakhang. Our visit was short and sweet but gave us a chance to visit, interact and experience what it’s like for locals visiting their community temple. Even though it was for a short time, it was an honor to be allowed into their realm.