Friday, August 07, 2015

East Bhutan Trip Day 3 - 5 July 2015 Mongar - Guru Rinpoche Statue at Takila, Trashigang Town, and Sherubtse College at Kanglung

Beautiful morning at Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan

We started our day by going to Bakhar Lhakhang. We had a morning walk departing from home at 7 am. It was a cold and foggy morning, peaceful and serene. Only three of us - Luzee, Lilly, and I. We had our morning prayer inside the temple then walked back. Good exercise :)

Breakfast time - Tangmachu Village - Lhuentse, Bhutan

When we returned home, we were called for breakfast. I was amazed looking at the packed lunch prepared by the house owners - see the photo above (below). The packed lunch had been prepared for us. The orange wrapped Tupperware was rice, while the veggie curries were inside the yellow-green bamboo basket. I was told that Bhutanese usually treated their guests to their very best, to the extent not only provided them with bed and meals, but also helped up in preparing their packed lunch. And even, prepared some gifts to be brought back home.

The vertical wrapped colorful clothes (rice), few covered bangchungs (maize and/or zaw - puffed rice), and transparent bottles (local brewed ara) were actually their gifts for Drugyal and Luzee as to bid them goodbye. They presented us with those only after we finished our breakfast. The owner's brother came to see Drugyal and brought such gifts for her too. 

I was very touched with their warmth hospitality to all of us and I think that was what made Bhutan a GNH country. And as a gratitude, usually the guests would pass them some money back. "Give and take" was something that lived within their culture :)

The Biggest Guru Rinpoche Statue in Bhutan - Takila, Bhutan

From there, we went up to Takila to a place where the biggest Guru Rinpoche or also called Guru Padmasambhava statue in the form of Guru Nangsi Zilnoen was located. 

The sample model of the Guru Rinpoche statue - Takila, Bhutan

"The statue is 173 feet in height including a 40-feet-tall Lion Throne and a 19-feet-high Lotus seat (Pema). The exterior edifice will be built in bronze as the basic structural material with all the intricate individual laminates exquisitely and laboriously hand shaped and fixed into place. The face measures 14-feet in length made with bronze coating in precious 9999 stamped pure gold." - Source: Druk Odiyana Foundation

With Mr Kunzang Tobgay and Khenpo with Guru Rinpoche Statue at Takila, Bhutan 

The construction project for building this statue was started in February 2008. It was conceptually designed by the Venerable Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche and it was projected to complete by November 2015. H.H. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and H.H. Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche performed consecration ceremony in September 2013. It was built to bring peace, harmony, and prosperity to the world as prophesied by Lord Buddha and Great Dzongchen masters and terton.  

I was indeed very lucky being able to go to this place. I guess it was due to karmic connection with Guru Rinpoche in my previous life. After watching the video above, I realized that I'd visited many Lhakhangs and places all over Bhutan that related to Guru Rinpoche, such as: Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Mebar Tsho, Paro Taktsang, Kyichu Lhakhang, Gom Khora, Bakhar Lhakang, and now, this precious giant Guru Rinpoche statue temple in Takila,
PS: If you can't open the video above, you can click here to watch the video. Don't forget to switch on the subtitles if you want to have English translation :)

Work-in-progress inside the Guru Rinpoche statue temple - Takila, Bhutan

And by being there, inside the main temple, I indeed felt very blessed. The interior was big. There were seven exquisite major Buddha statues inside the first floor main monastery of Nirmanakaya Buddha. Guru Ngadrama (Looks Like Me) was in the middle. The history said that the Guru Ngadrama statue was built by Guru Rinpoche himself at Samye Monastery in Tibet. But it was destroyed and only a single picture preserved. Therefore, based on the remaining picture, the Venerable Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche built it so far as the only duplicate of the famous Guru Ngardrama statue. On His right hand side was the "Khenchen Bodhisatva", while on His left hand side was Tibetan King "Trisong Deutsen".

We had a chance to go to second floor (Shambogakaya) and third floor (Dharmagaya). Both floors were not completed yet. The mandala was built at the second floor (photo above in the middle).
The monk's resident and Buddhist University were still under construction - Takila, Bhutan

Druk Odiyana Foundation planned to build the back light of 190 feet in height (equal to 19 storey building) and 118 feet in width with an umbrella at the top of the Guru statue. All the elements and ornaments would be men-made by Nepalese carving artist. The above photo was the undergoing construction of monk's residential and Buddhist Univeristy. Both were also projected to finish by November this year. If you are interested to know more about the project and would like to make donation for this project, please read more information here.

Thank you SB for the good karma that all of us were able to visit this place. Thank you to Luzee too who arranged our visit to this precious temple. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :)

I'm thankful and blessed!!! :)

From there we drove back to Mongar to have our packed lunch there at Drugyal's best friend's house (Ugyen). They hadn't met for quite some time. Btw, her friend's wife was Ugyen Panday's (the Bhutanese famous singer) eldest sister hehehe... I wished he was there too though lol... :P

Thank you Ugyen and Sonam for receiving us there and fyi, your coffee was the best coffee I drank in Bhutan. The proportion was so perfect and it went well with the cracker biscuits that you served ;) The packed lunch was prepared by Drugyal's brother-in-law and his wife and it was all vegetarian. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for your time and effort in preparing that for us!!! :)

On our way to Trashigang - Frogs stones (big and small frogs) - Bhutan

At 1.30 pm we left their house and visited one CC at Ngatshang Gewog, Mongar. After that we continued our journey to Trashigang.

Trashigang town - Bhutan

We reached the Trashigang town at 4.30pm. We stopped and browsed the town for a while.

Evening tea break at pastry shop in Trashigang town, Bhutan

We had our evening tea break at one pastry shop nearby there. A piece of cake with a cup of tea :)

Delicious Momo break :) - Trashigang, Bhutan

We didn't stay long in the town as we still had to go to other place. So we continued our journey. However, when passing by the junction above, we saw a place where many food were sold. Drugyal was looking for momo earlier but couldn't find. So when she knew this place sold momo, we decided to stop and buy hehehe.... Drugyal and I had our beef momo, while Lilly ate two plates of cheese momo. Ooppss....!!! :P It showed how delicious the momo was!!! ;)

Main gate to Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan

Only then we continued our journey. This time, it was my wishlist - to visit Sherubtse College in Kanglung :) It took us about an hour to reach. We reached at 6 pm and the sky was still quite bright.

Yayy!!! Mission accomplished!!! Finally I visited Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Bhutan :)

Sherubtse, meant "Peak of Learning", was the first accredited college in Bhutan. It was founded in 1966 under the leadership of  Rev. Father William Mackey. Read more about its history here.

Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan

Most Bhutanese in early years was studying here as there weren't many choices of school back then. Many of my Bhutanese friends were graduated here - including Luzee - and many were still studying there :)

Our visitation to Mother Peters Hall at Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan

While browsing, we visited one girl's hostel called Mother Peters Hall. Luzee and Drugyal visited their toilet and I pitied the condition of the toilet though. The broken mirrors were scattered here and there. Outside each room was quite dirty too. Seemed like it wasn't maintained well. I was wondering how the students managed to stay throughout their year there :D

Around Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan 

What made me want to visit this place was because I was curious and also I read the book by Jamie Zeppa - "Beyond the Sky and Earth: A Journey into Bhutan" - before. I wanted to see how the place looked like in real life where many students spent their younger years here - full of fun, madness, happiness, falling-in-love feelings, brokenhearted, anger, stress, and even sadness.

Outside the Sherubtse College Library - Kanglung, Bhutan

So since I traveled to east this time, I requested Luzee to drop by this place and thank you Luzee for granting my wish :)

One last photo with the inoperative clock at Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan 

Uuhhhh... I hadn't even visited my own college after so long graduated from there but yet, I visited many other Bhutanese colleges in Bhutan. Lol... I still wished for that day to come... One day... yeah one day... wish me luck!!! :)

Another gate to Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan

We left the college after an hour time as we had to find the place to stay. Luzee had already informed her relative that we were going to stay there for a night, however, she couldn't remember the location well. And we had to walk a distance to reach the village from the road.

Beautiful sunset sky - Kanglung, Bhutan

Evening view near Sherubtse College - Kanglung, Bhutan

After contacting few times, we finally met the two children who led us to where they stayed.

Bhutanese village house in Kanglung, Bhutan

We brought only necessary thing there as we had to walk a distance before reaching the house. We stayed at a simple Bhutanese village two-storey house with maize and other plantation were grown nearby. The house, kitchen, and toilet were built separately just like many other village did. We all stayed inside the living room, a cozy and warm place decorated with many colorful King and Queen, Buddha, other Gods, deities, and family pictures on the wall.

Separate kitchen in Bhutanese village - Kanglung, Bhutan

The kitchen was just at the opposite of the house. It was small, simple, and they still used wood to cook.We had dinner - Shakampa (dried beef with chilli)  and rice - cooked by the granddaughter whose name was Kinzang, currently a student in Sherubtse College - pretty, sweet, demure, and soft spoken :)

Outdoor toilet - Kanglung, Bhutan 

The toilet was about 10-meter distance from the house and it was among the maize plantation. Good thing that the water was linked by the pipe so we didn't have to carry our own pail there. At night Lilly and I had an opened air bathing session just behind the kitchen, using hot boiled water mixed with cold water that came from the tap. Under the gazing stars we both faced the other way around, laughing excitingly and trying to finish bathing as soon as possible. It would be unforgettable moment especially for Lilly, who had her first time bathing under the stars :D But that was the simplicity of village life. Not many people were lucky enough having such opportunity. At least, it was my second time experience :D

Another long and satisfied journey we had today!!! Soon after, we all fell asleep and recharged our energy for the next day's itinerary! :)

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