Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trashiyangtse trip

We left in a very leisurely fashion on Tuesday morning and it was only as we approached the Trashigang Dzong that any of us thought about whether the road would be open or closed as they are widening it. Our driver and friend Samdrup, who is also Ian's colleague and Dzongkha teacher at Rangjung LSS, is one of those unruffleable guys and sure enough we got a tank of juice and trucked on through just before the road was closed behind us. 

This trip was really about getting out of Rangjung for a break and celebrating Ian's birthday in the manner that we always have, ie by going somewhere we have never been before.

The birthday boy wearing Julian's Brokpa hat from Merak - Sakteng; that is somewhere we would really like to go next chance we get, given the tales we have heard from those who braved it this time round.

We also got to the police checkpoint and got our official paperwork to travel out of the Trashigang district quite efficiently. They checked their files and found Ian's application to the DEO and the Dzong's approval and then checked our work permits and issued us with the required pink slip of paper. We had to state, then and there, when we would come back and then return the pink slip to them at that time, which of course we did. A hassle but not too onerous. 

We stopped at Gom Kora, a place Samdrup had taken us to before and I was glad to get out of the car as the road was just getting steep and windy and it was making me ill. We had a quick look around and then headed off again. It really is a lovely temple but we were hot and bothered and keen to be heading into new territory now that the holiday had really begun.

From there it was only just over an hour all up hill to Trashiyangtse and the views were spectacular. We even saw a family of langurs on the side of the road but we weren't quick enough to photograph them. We pulled into town and stumbled upon the very hotel that we thought looked the best choice from the Lonely Planet write up and sure enough as we checked in we were asked if we knew Kendra (who is a BCFer and lives there) and told that 2 other BCfers had already checked in. 

 The service was great because the staff were more than helpful and the rooms more luxury than most of us usually experience but it was really the views and the company that proved to make the occasion the celebration it was intended to be. 

We literally bumped into the other BCF folk.

By dinner that night we had 10 of us on site and 6 of us in the hotel we selected and 3 in another. They had already ordered a meal so we were instantly in good spirits and happy to be out exploring new places. 

Although Trashiyangtse is a capital of a district it is not as big as Trashigang, but it has a lot of character and a really lovely atmosphere. That first afternoon I found a handicraft store and bought a couple if trinkets and we walked down the road to a prayer flag covered bridge where Ian became obsessed with capturing the movement in that fast flowing water.


We had already had a good look around the town, which is just lovely and took several dozen photos of the amazing Chorten Kora. It is a copy of one in Kathmandu which we saw years ago and very spectacularly situated right on the river front. Over the next 3 days we couldn't resist the urge to keep photographing it. 

The next day we all went out to a handicraft school "Zorig Chosum" a brief walk out of town and uphill all the way of course. I started the buying there with a gorgeous thanka or Buddhist scroll. Others also bought scrolls and wood carvings and paintings and Ian bought some brass items and a offering bowl. Though there were any number of lovely items available and choosing was a difficult task.

It was Ian's birthday so he chose which thanka, he wanted but of course it is really for both of us and it looks lovely hanging on the wall in our house here in Rangjung. We put it up yesterday almost as soon as we got home. Maureen even asked about how to correctly tie the yellow protective cloth layer correctly. When the scroll is on display it needs to be decoratively folded at the top of the scroll. She got a demonstration from the salesperson cum artisan in the centre and I watched too. I didn't try it myself until we got home yesterday but did OK for a first timer I think.

BCFers at dinner that night were in a jovial mood!

That view from the hotel window as we saw it on the final morning.

All in all a great time with some fun people and a chance to really unwind.

Maybe it is a universal that we all wish the holidays were longer!!!! But Rangjung is still home and we aren't sorry to be here.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Vicky! We stayed at the Karmaling Hotel when we were in Trashiyangtse as well! Lovely spot :)