Our day began with an early morning rain shower and then we eased into a rhythm on the bus to Punakha. The roads in Bhutan, I have found, are always so very close to being completed. Since there is only a single road that crossed the country, it is in some state of repair (or disrepair) as the case may be. Our three hour journey turned to five.
we started off with a visit to the national archery grounds in Thimphu and watched an archery match. The event was mesmerizing watching the archers shoot at a target 140M away. While they missed the target about half of the time, when they hit the small board, the losers danced and sang.
Our first stop outside of Thimphu was the Drolma Pass and the temple in honor of the fourth king. We stopped for tea and biscuits, sat outside in the thin air and watched the clouds roll in an over the mountain side. The morning was idyllic in a way that only Bhutan can engender.
After the pass, we traveled down the dirt/gravel/paved surface to the Temple of the Divine Madman. I’ll save that story for the students to tell, but in a nutshell, the Divine Madman was among the most remarkable people in early Bhutanese history.
Our walk to the temple included a hike through the rice patties and meeting folks who were planting a new crop. The work is backbreaking and those folks deserve respect for their hard work and effort.
From the temple we headed onto the Punakha Dzong. This massive structure is the winter home of the king and his staff. Pictures simply do not do justice to the space and the shrine room.
From there we walked past the cremation grounds and onto a suspension bridge that crosses the Po Chu river. From there we headed to the hotel in Lobesa and an evening rest.
Tomorrow we meet with students at the Tsangkhap Lower Secondary School and hopefully play a game of soccer!