Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bhutan trip day 7 - Wed, 11 Sep 2013 - Haa Day 2

By the time I woke up, sun had risen up to the sky. Time shown was 8am. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and had rice for breakfast. Chencho went to work while me and Riku went to visit Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) in Üsu Gewog.

At first, we thought of having a walk to reach the place, but due to the scorching sun and it took quite long distance to reach the place, we finally took a cab there. Hahaha... No wonder Chencho was raising his eyebrows when Riku told him that we wanted to go there on foot :P

In front of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
When we were there, there were tents prepared for the upcoming Haa Festival (which was held the day after), and group of women rehearsed their singing and dancing. There were constructions going on at the left and right side of the temple.

Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
Lhakhang Karpo was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries. He built Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo in Haa Valley. According to legend, rays of light emanated from his body. Lhakhang Karpo was built where the bright rays fell and Lhakhang Nagpo where the dark rays fell. Another legend said that a white pigeon and a black pigeon, emanations of Songtsen Gampo, flew to this place from Tibet and landed where the two temples were built. A third legend said that these temples were built by three group of people who emerged from the nearby three brother hills of Haa, known as Miri Phunsum as it was situated at the foothills of the three towering (mountains) venerated as Rigsum Gonpo (Jampelyang: Manjushri, Chana Dorji: Vajrapani, Chenrizig: Avaloketeshvara). (Source: Which legend was correct? Might as well believe all :)

I went inside the temple alone while Riku was waiting outside. Group of monks were chanting and playing the religious instruments. I quickly had my pray and paid a respect to the Lama inside, gave the offering, and came out.

The view behind the Lhakhang Karpo in Haa, Bhutan
After that, Riku and I looked for a way to visit Lhakhang Nagpo.We had no idea where it was located and how to reach that place. Riku was asking the one of the construction workers and he asked us to go up the hill through the back of the temple. We walked carefully up through the scattered stones from the construction site. Wow, the view from the back was beautiful too!!!

On the way to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) guided by someone helpful :)
Both of us looked so lost, really had no idea where and how to go. Suddenly, someone helpful appeared from nowhere (as if the Deity knew that we needed a help). He was so kindhearted leading us all the way to the temple. He even warned us not to anyhow touch or disturb the dog who was guarding the temple. Thank you Uncle for your kind help :)

Apple orchid
On the way there, we passed through the apple orchid. Oh, there were so many apples on the trees. I wished I could go in and help them picking up the apples from the tree hehe... but it was all fenced so I'd better not to disturb them.

Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
After seeing the temple, I then understood why it was called Black Temple. There was no one there, and the door was locked. We couldn't go inside. So we just took photos surrounding the temple.

Once done, we continued walking. Both of us took our own sweet time to walk, enjoy the view, take photo, etc. The place was so calm and peaceful. Riku said, "Here is the GNH country supposed to be. Unlike big city, such as Thimphu." I nodded my head. If he, as a Bhutanese, said that, there shouldn't be any reason for me not to agree, right?

Welcome to Bhutan, GNH country - Haa
On top, our crazy photos - one way to release stress... Lolx!!

I felt like having a farmhouses walking-tour in this village, for REAL!!! Unlike the one displayed in Folk Heritage Museum in Thimphu! Here, all houses were original and stayed by villagers. I was so lucky being able to browse around this area! Thank you for the good karma given!!! :)

Bhutanese farmhouses in Haa, Bhutan

There were many farmhouses and all was so huge! Just wondered how rich they were!! Hehe... :D The fences were made of natural stones stacked to each other. Stones were also used to hold the roof on the main gate, with strong and thick wooden material used for the door-gate to protect the owners from thief and strangers coming in. The traditional houses like those seen above in the photo were usually built without using a single nail, three-storey high, with room for livestock on the ground floor, storage and living quarters on second floor, living quarter and shrine-room on third floor, and on rooftop, usually was used as open-air storage area. Other than stones and wood, the materials used to build the house were timber, brick, and clay.

Me with phallus-painting house owner in Haa :)
Riku spotted one house with two Phallus painting on the wall. He wanted to take picture, but the gate was locked. Luckily I saw the owner in the rooftop and we were asking for their permission to go into their house and take photo. So, there we were!!! :)

Haa, Bhutan

We went back to front side of Lhakhang Karpo then walked all the way to outside the Indian army camp. Weather was still hot. Both of us sat on the grass at roadside taking a good rest after having a wonderful walking-tour and at the same time waiting for the empty cab.

Haa town
We went to town area and met up with Chencho for lunch. We ate at one eating shop nearby his office. It was another dining experience for me haha... First, we sat outside and had our tea. Once the food ready, we went inside the kitchen, took a plate, and scooped the dishes on our own. We could take as much food as we could eat. Hahaha... It was wonderful, wasn't it? You could take second and more serving, as long as you could finish and they charged same price. The best thing was that we could go inside the kitchen and took the food from the pot directly. The owner should have trusted the guest a lot by letting us doing this way. Well, perhaps, this was common there, but I never experienced that before :)

We had spicy pork, ema datshi (chilli with cheese), and dhall. Tell you, although the look of the food was so so, the taste was superb!! The pork was so fatty but delicious. I think if I could choose which place to stay in Bhutan, I would love to stay in Haa, seriously!!!

After having lunch, we went to the groceries shop. Chencho bought some groceries.When passing by the pastry shop, I could smell nice pastry and we decided to buy some bread and cakes back home for Chencho's father. Before leaving the store, I saw ice cream with separate cones inside the freezer and we decided to buy one too. Suitable for hot weather :)

At Hotel Two Sister in Haa, Bhutan

While waiting for Kinley we went to Hotel Two Sister. This time, we played pool. Again, I had to learn this from Chencho hahaha... When Kinley had done, we went back to Chencho's house. Riku had to go back to Thimphu while I extended my stay in Haa for another day. Oh, see? How much I loved Haa!!! :D Well, I decided to extend for another day since there would be a Haa festival on the next day and I felt it would be too bad if I missed it since I had already been there. Just too bad that Riku wasn't able to extend his stay as he had to go back to work. Luckily Chencho was there, with Kinley and Lambuz to accompany me during my stay. So, we sent Riku off after waiting for the cab for quite some, and luckily he managed to get one as it was quite late and not many cab left to Thimphu.

Chencho and his office in Haa

I followed Chencho to his office to take a look how his office looked like. You know la, I am such a curious chap for things I've never experienced before :) I just stayed there for a while because he had to go back to Lhakhang Karpo to do the rehearsal again for tomorrow's event. We went home together with Lambuz as both of them had to wear Gho with white Kabney (scarf) together with theirTsholham (traditional shoes).

While they went out, I was staying at home, taking a nap and writing my journal. At about 4 plus, Chencho came back home. We planned to cycle together. Luckily rain had stopped. At about 5pm, we went to two of his friend's house to borrow the bicycles.

Cycling in Bhutan was one of my to-do lists in Bhutan too! But I never expected to cycle in Haa. I considered myself very lucky being able to borrow the bicycle (and not to rent with very high price in Thimphu), complete with a guide (which was Chencho himself) Hehehe... Ooh... I was very very grateful SB!! Thank you for giving me this chance, plus a very good weather!!!

Cycling in Haa, Bhutan

It was wonderful experience!! I loved it so much!! We went quite far from his house. Not many vehicles on the road but we still had to control our bike well as we went through mountainous road. We made one round at Indian army camp. While cycling both of us had a chit chat about many things.We stopped few times to take photo and to have a cup of coffee. We went into a school too and made one big round as he wanted to show me how the school looked like, plus the boarding area for students to stay. Luckily we didn't have to go up slope hahaha... I was so scared that we had to go through a steep road upward as we needed lots of energy kekeke.... We returned the bike back to the owner, at the same time we sat down in their houses for a while. By the time we reached home, the sky had turned dark.

We took a rest. In a while Chencho prepared our dinner. We had rice with kewa datshi (potato with chilli) and dhall. Delicious! :) While eating, we had a chit chat again.

At 8.30pm, we left the house. This time, I wanted to experience Drayang. We walked through the dark to town as no lights on the roadside. It started to rain too. Before going to Drayang, we stopped by at Lambuz's shop. He and his wife opened a small eating and drinking place. Since the weather was so cold at night, I follow Chencho, ordering two shots of Rockbee mixed with apple juice. Lambuz offered me if I wanted to have Juma (beef intestine's sausage - black in color). Hmm... it turned out that the Juma tasted so heavenly. Until now, I still can imagine how it melted in my mouth. It tasted really good. Oh Lambuz, please send the Juma to me by fax or email... I miss it so much!! He was also offering me to taste the wild plant datshi. It tasted good too. You can view the Juma here.

After a short while, his wife, his daughter and his friend's wife and daughter came back from watching 'Miss Kota'. Actually I wanted to try watching movie in Bhutan too, but they said it took three hours per movie, so I gave up right away. Hahaha... If only two hours, still acceptable lah.. Three hours?? Without understanding the language?? Err.. I'd better sleep ba? If they had English subtitles, then I wouldn't mind. Too bad ya??

Anyway, at 9pm we left the shop and headed to Drayang. "Drayangs are basically bars with a stage where girls dance, sing and entertain customers. The customers are predominantly male. The entertainers are mostly young girls, most of them, high school leavers, with no job prospects. Others had come from remote villages to try their fortune in the capital. Apart from singing and dancing, the girls also go around cajoling customers to sponsor a song or a dance, mostly to male customers. And this is where suspicion arises, that the girls could be sexually harassed." Source:

Visiting Drayang in Haa, Bhutan

The Drayang in Haa was quite small. There were only around 6 rows times 2 column of wooden chairs with a small stage in front of us. To my nightmare, the girls had already left the place by the time we reached and it was only 9.30pm. Yalama kheno!! As substitute, the boys were singing and dancing on the stage. Kekeke.... By right it suited me no? Hahaha...

Most people who went there were male. Only few females occupied the place. Most of them were intoxicated with alcohol. I think only Chencho and I was sober hahaha.. We ordered a glass of whiskey with apple juice each and watched them dancing. At 10pm we left the place and walked back home. A bit disappointed though but at least I went and saw how the place looked like :D

After a long day, we slept and hid ourselves behind the thick blanket again. Zzz.... Continue my journey in Haa here


Sherab Tenzin said...

Wow...madam you look beautiful and young. Photography has added more to it.

Overcome said...

Thank you for your compliment Sherab! It must be Riku's skill and the camera quality that made me look young and beautiful hehehe... :D

Have a great Sunday! :)

Riku said...

Nice post. Loved it thoroughly.

Overcome said...

Thank you Riku! :)

Sangay Cholden said...


Overcome said...

Thank you Sangay :)

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