Wednesday, 13 Nov 2019
- Visited Jamba Lhakhang temple. According to legend, Jamba Lhakhang was one of the 108 temples built in AD 638, by a Tibetan Buddhist king in order to overcome a giant ogress who laid across regions of the Himalayas in order to prevent the spread of Buddhism.
- At the time of our visit and main reason to be here this time of year is to see some of Bhutan’s famous mask dances. The person with the mask (see pictures) is considered a “clown” like character.
- Visited the impressive Kurjey Lhakhang – where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock.
- Leaving Kurjey Lhakhang we had a short walk to Tamshing Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Saint Pema Lingpa and containing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan.
- On one quiet side of the Tamshing Goemba there is a cloak of chain mail made by Pema Lingpa. It weighs about 25kg (55 lbs), and if you can hoist it on to your shoulders it is an auspicious act to carry it around the kora three times. I (Dean) did the three times (see pictures) while Kanchana did once.
- Along the way we noticed that marijuana is actually a “weed” that grows wild in Bhutan (see pictures)
- Stopped off at a local weaving shop
- Visited Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake) – It is believed that in 1475, a Buddhist saint (Terlon Pema Lingpa) jumped into the lake with a burning butter lamp. However, before he jumped the declared to the crowd “If I am a demon I shall die and if I am a true emanation of Guru Padmasambhava let me come out with the treasures and the lamp still burning.” Accordingly after a few minutes he came out of the lake holding a statue, a script and a ritual skull with the butter lamp still burning. There after this lake was known as Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake).
- In many areas around the lake (and walking trail) are several hundred small conical clay mounds, called tsatsas (tsha tsha). These are often engraved with a sacred Buddhist symbol and sometimes contain human ash or bone. These distinctive little sculptures are offerings that are made as part of religious practices, and they can be dedicated to either the living or dead.
- Visited Pema Choling Nunnery, where over 100 nuns, mostly teenagers and young women, study and practice.
- Checked into Ogyen Choling Manor (Guest House) – a national treasure, privately owned by the same family for hundreds of years. It’s remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. The best part of the Manor is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons–including gun powder made from petrified yak dung-tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits.
- Note the “stairs” (more like ladder) to our second floor room (see pictures)
Photo Highlights from our 7th day in Bhutan (Wed, 13 Nov):