In the Tang Valley: the Heart of Bumthang

The Courtyard
The Courtyard

The province of Bumthang spans the middle part of the Bhutanese kingdom and includes some of the most beautiful terrain in the world.  Our day included a trek to the Tang valley, an almost pristine valley of family farms and small communities.

Near the center of the valley, on a hill, is the Orgyen Choling house constructed by a governor of Bumthang about five centuries ago.  The house and grounds have been preserved in excellent condition over the centuries and the house has been converted into a museum highlighting Bhutanese culture.

The drive to the house was on muddy dirt roads passing through fields and past farms all the way to the base of the hill.  The road up, sketchy in the best conditions, was soaked with a recent rain and the sky threatened another storm.

Our driver, Sangey, is exceptional and his work, on this day, was no less than inspiring.  He drove us to the top of the hill just as a light drizzle descended from the sky.

The grounds include a four story house of thousands of square feet.  To reach each of the floors, folks had to climb very steep steps that included hand rails for support.

Climbing the stairs in the main house...
Climbing the stairs in the main house…

In the museum, the signage told the story of the origins of the place, beginning in the 14th century.  Longchen Rabjam, one of the most famous Buddhist scholars, traveled from Tibet and founded the house and temple here.  His descendants became the leaders of the region and the family that lives on the property today is related to the current royal family.

Arrows and target, hidden from view.
Arrows and target, hidden from view.

The museum houses artifacts and information about Bhutanese life from the 14th century to the present.  Objects that came with the house included hundreds of important Buddhist texts, brought to this property for safe keeping.  Of these, one of the most important was the text Prajnaparamita written in gold ink.

Our lunch of noodles, rice, and eme datse suited us well as we ate in a farmhouse, wood stove burning, rain falling.

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