Friday, 1 December 2017

Punakha

There is so much to report today, so I am going to have to keep each visit quite brief.
We started our day with another hike through beautiful paddy fields. We stopped at a prayer wheel where Daz took a quick twirl to get some good luck for the journey.
We were heading to the top of the hill to the Khamsun Yulley Namgyal Chorten - basically a temple I believe. 
We stepped in through the impressive entrance and up some steps to a wide green lawn. Sitting in the middle of it was the temple, which is actually very modern. 
It was paid for by the Queen Mother, who is one of the four wives of the fourth king. He is still alive, but abdicated in favour of his son, who is known as the fifth king. You would sort of expect that the fifth king would have five wives, but he has only one. Bit of a boring end to that paragraph. 
After hiking back down the hill we went to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. It started life as a way of connecting the village at the end to the main town, but it is so picturesque and bouncy, that it has become a popular tourist attraction. Well, we enjoyed it anyway. 
We then went to the main reason for our visit, which was the Punakha Dzong, or fortress. It was a beautiful and imposing building, and the people who lived and worked there all wore traditional dress. It is occupied by monks in the dark red robes who live there in the winter months, and by administrative staff who wear traditional dress and an extremely impractical scarf that is forever coming untucked. 
After that we had lunch and then a walk around the town where we saw a brilliant Nepalise stupa. It has eyes on each side and they stare at you in an alarming way. 
Finally, we went up to a peaceful nunnery on the hilltop above our hotel, and then we walked all of the way back down. 

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