|Chhali Gewog, Mongar District - Bhutan|
We departed at 8.30 am in the morning. We went to visit one Community Center (CC) in Chhali Gewog in Mongar District. We saw the red yellow signboard on the main road below and follow the only one way up to the village (usually to indicate the government building location). The CC location was really far, up high in the mountain.
|Paddy plantation at Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
|Maize plantation all over Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
As we drove through the winding road, what we saw on our left and right side were mostly rice and maize plantation with fruit trees such as: orange, mango, banana, and papaya. The view was very beautiful. I couldn't stop enjoy the greenery and some Bhutanese villagers' houses in between.
|Typical Bhutanese farmer house in Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
|A simple Mani Dzongkhar in Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
|Busy farming in Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
We almost thought we were on the wrong way since after so far, we still couldn't find the CC. There were many people seen too as they were all busy farming. But after a while, we finally saw a more proper government building and yes, that was the place!!! We felt so relieved because otherwise we had to walk all the way down and find the right place again :)
|Small Buddha's Eye Chorten in Chhali Gewog - Mongar, Bhutan|
|Butterfly 1 :)|
|Butterfly 2 :)|
|Butterfly 3 :)|
|Butterfly 4 :)|
While Luzee was busy doing her work, the rest of us visited the Chorten just nearby the area. There were many beautiful butterflies flying from one flower to another. Lilly and I were busy taking photos as we didn't want to let the beautiful moment passing by :) We were so lucky having such visual treat so early in the morning. Thanks for the beautiful nature that you offered to us la! :)
|Things to do during road block :)|
At 11 am we left the place and headed to Khoma at Lhuentse District. On our way, we faced a road block. While waiting, there were few things we could do though, such as the following:
1. Stretch our body and walk to the nearby road block area. In this case, Lilly and I walked to the bridge nearby :)
2. Drink tea (if you bring it from home) and eat some snack (I had my Parle-G mini on my bag)
3. Eat your packed lunch (depending on the time of the road block)
4. Write journal (great time to write - highly recommended!!! :D)
5. Take photo of the beautiful surrounding, if not, selfie!!! :P
6. And if you had too much energy, you could also practice jumping photo wherever you are (like what I did in above picture) :P
Hope the above suggestions would be useful for you! :)
|Big bee hives found on our way to Lhuentse, Bhutan|
Once the road block was opened, we continued our journey :)
|Lunch break at Khoma bridge - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
At about 1 pm we reached at the Khoma bridge in Lhuentse District. We stopped and had our packed lunch there while enjoying the beautiful view in our surrounding area.
|View of Lhuentse Dzong from Khoma Bridge - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
|Chorten at the end of the Khoma bridge - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
|Beautiful Khoma bridge - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
After lunch, we had a little walk crossing over the bridge and enjoyed the breeze and river view below it :) Felt like in heaven!!! ^^
|Cremation ground at Khoma - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
There was a cremation ground in nearby area. Luzee said it was a good place to cremate the death one. She conveyed her prayers every time we passed by the area.
|My sketch in Kishutara as drawn by Au Kinzang Tshering :)|
Lhuentse was the ancestral home of Bhutan King and there were many sacred sites of pilgrimage around the area. It was famous for Kishuthara, especially from Khoma village, the weaved textile done by Kurtop women. It was considered the best source of Kishutara in the country. It's also famous for its ara (local brew alcohol made of maize or rice, often fermented or distilled, white in colour). Eastern Bhutanese were also known to consume high level of alcohol, More often or not, they developed their drinking habit even since a very young age.
|Khoma - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
|Visit to Khoma Gewog Community Center - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
We visited Khoma CC there. After Luzee finished interviewing the staff, his wife came and brought few Kishutara Kira and table clothes. She showed it to us and asked us to see if we were interested to buy. The Kira didn't come cheap. I forgot the price she asked for it, but I think it would be around Nu 60,000? That was because the size and complication of the color and design of it. The table clothes were much cheaper though. A pair of each design cost about Nu 1,000 to 1,200. Luzee and I bought one pair each. We cut it into two and got one design each :) I was so happy to get that souvenir back home. It was not only beautiful but represented the hard work and dedication of the maker. And the price was definitely much cheaper compare if it was sold at handicraft shop in Thimphu :)
|Inspiration from two kids at Gangzur Gewog - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
We moved to another CC. This time was in Gangzur Gewog. The place was beautiful as there were many sunflower plants around the area. And the two children above inspired me to create that positive quote as per photo above :)
|Happiness is when you are able to give and receive :)|
And the photo above, was another one. I submitted to the Happiness Bhutan Photo Campaign, however, it wasn't approved by the Management. But still, I can share it here hehehe... :)
It was actually started with one kid who loitering around the CC. As I had a sweet, I gave her one. Immediately she brought another friend with her, but I had run out of sweet. Lilly remembered that she bought few sweets the day before. So she went to the car and took it. The above was the moment when she passed the sweet to this little girl. See how the little girl accepted the sweet? With her both hands and her head was slightly bowing down. It was so touching and sweet gestures, at least for me. It showed her gratitude and appreciation, although it was only a sweet. While the first picture, was after they both received the sweets. They were very happy and played around with the pipes located nearby. When they were tired, they just lied down on the grass between the pipe. They chit chatted among themselves and enjoyed their sweets. Weren't they sweet? That's how simple happiness could be found around us :)
|Lhuentse town - Bhutan|
Once done, we moved on. This time we went to Lhuentse town. A very small town. There, Luzee bought quite a few of handmade clay pot as shown in the photo above. She said, people would feel their food cooked better and tasted nicer when using this clay pot, especially when you cooked ema datshi (chili with cheese). It was cheap too, sold at Nu 200 each. She also bought many dried fish there as gifts for people that we're going to visit. Inside the shop, they sold their famous Gho and Kira clothes. The shop seller could weave during their free time just inside their shop. Nice ah? :)
|Lhuentse Dzong - Bhutan|
|In front of Lhuentse Dzong - Bhutan|
As our time was limited, we only took picture in front of the Lhuentse Dzong, as a souvenir :) Maybe one day I'd visit the place again ba, if fate permitted :)
|Paddy field in Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
|People worked at paddy field in Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
|Bakhar Lhakhang at Tangmachu - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
From there we continued our journey to Tangmachu Village. We visited Bakhar Lhakhang, a small sacred Lhakhang where there was an imprint body of Guru Rinpoche. He was passing by this area and meditated there. Khenpo (Head of Monk) who was in charge there was Drugyal's brother-in-law. So when we went there, she helped him buying some stuffs required for the monastery. We were received in his room then we visited the temple to convey our prayer. After that we went to Drugyal's other brother-in-law's house and we stayed there for a night.
|Stayed at Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
We stayed in a traditional village house. It was beautiful la. They said they also received tourists to have home-stay there, to let them feel how it was to live inside the Bhutanese house. They cooked various food and served us ara cooked with egg for dinner. It was delicious.
|Tradition in Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan|
After dinner Luzee asked me to go down to their living room. When I reached there, many people gathered there. They were the house owner's sisters, mother, nieces, and nephews. They took out a pair of bangchung (bamboo woven bowl) - see the photo above - filled with rice and maize. Once you collected the items and emptied the bangchung out, you had to fill them up with money as an exchange. That was the tradition of villagers in east of Bhutan.
One pair of bangchung was given by one family and each guest would receive one. I didn't know how it worked and I didn't know how much should it be given. And when I came, they already did the exchange, and I wasn't quite get it. Now I felt a bit guilty for giving less money :P Drugyal told me that villagers would be happy when there were guests coming to their village and would offer their produces to them. They were actually not expecting in return but I guessed, that how the tradition worked. Especially if the guests were family members. Lots of time they would give ara too and ask you to drink together with them. Luckily no ara was seen that night. And that was why many people who moved to city would be reluctant to go back to village often as they would expect this during their stay back in village, which meant they had to prepare lots of money for the exchange of the goods received. It could be a non-stop event as all villagers would come to where you stay, be it in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Interesting, wasn't it?
I was quite tired already and went to sleep after that. It's been a long day and we sat inside the car a lot. But we went to many places and enjoyed the great view surrounding us. So it was all worth it. Many pictures I put in this post too. Hope you won't get bored reading it :)