Sunday, August 02, 2015

Bhutan Trip Day 8 - 30 June 2015 Long journey to Samcholing and private mask dance at Samcholing Palace :)

A beautiful day to start with - Journey from Bumthang to Trongsa :)
Five memorable days in Bumthang had finally passed by. It's time for me to move on into another place. Next, I went visiting my dear blogger friend, Rupa, who worked as a teacher and matron in Samcholing Middle Secondary School, Trongsa. I knew her through her positive blog and coincidentally we both had the same liking in life, which was Doraemon :D (We were like 'never growing up ladies'. Lol!!!)

Stopped for our tea break - Journey from Bumthang to Trongsa :)

We both were equally exciting to meet but I wasn't aware about her school's location. I only knew that her school location wasn't too far from Trongsa town. Therefore, we planned to meet at Trongsa bus station and from there we would take taxi to her school. Also, at first I wanted to take public bus from Bumthang to Trongsa. However, due to the starting of the school holiday, all bus was fully booked and there was no way for me to take the bus there. Fortunately, Neela had kindheartedly offered to drop me there. He even had to take half day leave from his office for this purpose. Thank you very much Neela!!! :) 

Happily posed with Trongsa Dzong in background :)

Four of us left departed from home at 8.15 am. The weather was beautiful - sunny and bright!!! However, the road on our journey wasn't that good - lots of potholes and muddy. But with the beautiful weather, we were lucky enough that the road wasn't that muddy and too hard to go through. Upon reaching Trongsa bus station, I called Rupa. She told me she was still at her school as she couldn't find any Taxi to come over. Yalama!!! Neela continued the journey but up to certain point, we had to face road block!!! 

Road block opening and closing timing - near Trongsa town

He stopped the vehicle. We girls walked near to the road block area and found the above signboard. I looked at my watch and time shown was only 11 am, while the road will only be opened next at 12.30 pm. We had to wait for 1.5 hours.

The cause of our road block - Landslide near Trongsa town

I informed Neela about it and told him to go back, assured him that I would cross over the road block area myself - on foot perhaps, and waited until Rupa came and picked me up. I didn't want to trouble him more. He had already sacrificed his half day leave to send me and now, with the road block, he wouldn't be able to make it on time if he had to wait for me. 

Eating packed lunch while waiting for the road block

But with situation where Rupa was still at her school and couldn't find any Taxi and he didn't want to leave me stranded there alone and unsafe, he told me that he would send me at least after the road block area as Rupa mentioned that her school's location was only around 10-minutes away from there. So, we waited further. Luckily Devi prepared packed lunch and tea from home. We were a bit hungry by then and decided to eat while waiting. I updated my travel journal too while waiting. So, after some time, the road was finally opened.

Dangerous muddy road - Landslide area near Trongsa town :(

Narrow, slippery and muddy!!! - Landslide area near Trongsa town :(

The above two photos were taken once the road block area was opened. Yalama kheno!!! As I sat in front seat, I witnessed how narrow, slippery and dangerous the road that we had to pass through. It could only fit one vehicle at one time. I was worrying and praying hard that Neela's small car was able to pass this road safely and we all reached and returned in one piece. He could even sense my worry through my face reaction. Thank Buddha nothing bad happened there!!!

After waiting and going through this, they only had one hour time to return back or otherwise they had to wait again until 4.30 pm. We called Rupa for direction to her school. The 10-minutes journey as she mentioned earlier turned up to be a more than one hour journey!!! There was no way for Neela to be able to return within an hour time. With that, he had to take one whole day leave instead of half day. I felt very sorry and guilty but they took it positively. They even made a joke with it, that because of me, they were able to visit Samcholing and spend more time there, just like a tourist, like me. At the other side, Rupa finally got her Taxi (white Bolero) and she too, tried to catch me from the other side. We met on the road and finally went to her school together.

Rupa and Devi prepared lunch at Samcholing :)

Rupa invited us to go to her place and she immediately went to her kitchen, busied herself serving us tea and lunch. Devi went helping her after seeing her disappearing for so long inside there haha....

Browsed over the school area - Samcholing Middle Secondary School, Trongsa, Bhutan

Once lunch had over, we had a walk in a school's surrounding. Students were still there cutting the grasses, preparing for the upcoming two-week long holiday. The school was located on the mountain and we had to go up and down to reach one place to another. The weather was cold and refreshing too!!! At 3pm, Neela, Devi and their daughter bid us goodbye. They had to drive back as they want to catch the next road block's opening time. I conveyed my deep heartfelt thank from my heart to all of them for the time and all the trouble and hassle they had to go through to send me there safely at the destination. No word could replace my gratitude feeling to them. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!! :)

Browsed around the school - Samcholing Middle Secondary School - Trongsa, Bhutan

After they left, we took a rest for a while then Rupa brought me around to her school once again. This time, with more places to visit (including to her teachers' office). One boy - Ugyen - was trying to be inside our photo. Haha.. He was so cute!!! He looked like my one of my brother's sons :D He also followed us around excitingly, even when we decided to visit Samcholing Palace, the nearest Lhakhang from the school.

Our visit to Samcholing Palace :)

The place above was called Samcholing (Samdrup Choling) Palace. It was a three-storey building that looked more like big house rather than a palace. It was built around the year 1860s - about 155 years ago. The second King - Jigme Wangchuk - used to stay there with his wife - Ashi Pema Dechen. In 1940s the palace was once renovated and there was monastery there too to teach young children about Buddhism. To date, the number of boys registered to the school had decreased and there were less than 10 students now.

We went inside the Lhakhang and there, Khenpo Tempa Rabgye, the Caretaker of the palace and Head of the Dratshang, was seated. Khenpo was asking about us and since he couldn't speak and understand English, Rupa had to become a translator for both of us. She chatted with him for a while and he invited us for a cup of tea in his place. Since we had nothing to do, we accepted his offer.

In his room, Khenpo was telling us many things about the Buddha Dhamma. Rupa was having hard time trying her best to translate all his words for me. Thank you Rupa for your kind effort :) We were there for a while and before we left, he invited us to visit the Lhakhang again around 7 to 8 pm to watch the mask dance and to listen to the ritual prayer musical instruments' performance performed by his fellow students. Other than reciting prayers and learn about Dhamma, the young monks were trained to play the Buddhist musical instruments and mask dance too on regular basis.

Buddhist ritual prayer musical instruments' performance at Samcholing Palace - Trongsa, Bhutan

From Rupa's perspective - Buddhist ritual prayer musical instruments' performance at Samcholing Palace - Trongsa, Bhutan

So that night, since we had no agenda, we visited the Lhakhang again and they showed their performance to only both of us :)

Sole guests for the night at Samcholing Palace - Trongsa, Bhutan

I felt blessed, serene, and peaceful hearing those instruments, which sometimes followed by their chants and prayers. With just two of us as guests inside the Lhakhang, suddenly I felt grateful, and wondered if I had ever been there before. I mean, since the building was built for more than a century ago, it shouldn't be impossible if I ever visited this place during my previous life before. It felt so homey and warmth my heart.

Beautiful mask dance performed by two very young monks at Samcholing Palace - Trongsa, Bhutan

Two young monks performed the mask dance full of vigor and enthusiasm. They jumped and turned their bodies all the time following the instruments' rhythm - with no smile. I was wondering if they enjoyed what they were doing. Were they there because they wanted to? Or just because they were forced to, by circumstances or by chance. Parents leaving their child in the monastery might be a common thing there in Bhutan. But I still thought that they were just too young to understand.

With two young mask dancers at Samcholing Palace - Trongsa, Bhutan

The performance lasted for 40 minutes. After that Khenpo brought us to the main Lhakhang and the room of the second King. I felt blessed just for being there. Thank you Khenpo for your kind invitation! Thank you fellow young monks for your hard work! May all of you be happy always :)

Changpa for the night prepared by Rupa :)

We went home afterwards and it was time to have our dinner. Rupa prepared a tray of chang pa for me, accompanied with red wine Takin while she was having orange juice for herself. And yes, that was Indomie that you saw, Indonesian favorite's instant noodle, at the land of the thunder dragon. I told her that I wanted to cook it myself, using my style. However, she insisted to cook it for me, using her style, the Bhutanese way of instant noodle. In the end, she cooked it dry (with no soup), and it tasted very salty (as it supposed to be a noodle soup), and she cooked two packets of it. Yalama... :D

Warm cosy bedroom - pink and blue - her favorite colors :)

After a looonnngggg day, it's finally time to rest and sleep. Rupa had prepared my bed with new bed sheet, pillows, pillow's covers and blanket cover. She also put two new carpets to keep our feet warm. Thank you so much Rupa for your kind hospitality. I felt blessed being there although there were so many insects flying around your room. Big or small, I had to endure hahaha... So that how our first night went by. She must have been very tired too with all the preparation and cooking. Once again, thank you Rupa :)


Kipchu Kipchu said...

Rima and Rupa has got many than just Doraemon in common; smile and slightly the hairstyle too. Even your blogs really focus on the bits and pieces of life-you know the little drops that makes the mighty ocean. I have only read about Samcholing Palace in history books. It brought me chills reading about the road blocks.Take care lah!

Rima Reyka said...

Haha.... Yeah we have many things in common, not only our liking for Doraemon :D We both like to laugh out loud ^^

Oh you read about it in history book? Lucky me being able to go there even without any knowledge about what happened there before hehehe...

And yes, the road block chilled my spine ya... Luckily it's over :) Thank you Nuchu for going through and your constant comment la! :)

Rupa KK Gurung said...

Yalama :P you exposed everything :P
haha nice to go through la... I was taken back to that particular day... :) I was kinda exhausted because I have been running since morning as I had my paper on that particular day. I was never tired cooking for u la... :) Today, I stand as a little better cook and a bit good at house management as well :)...
I chased all insects (moth) haha Morten is the best solution to kill insects...
One of my student was saying, you look like a Japanese woman, very tall and beautiful haha.Thanks for your beautiful gifts, beautiful lady, beautiful moments, beautiful toasts and a beautiful day... Thank you so much Dear Rima maam for coming and making my day beautiful la. M extremely happy...
*Kipchu, nice observation made by you... Haha ya la... many common between us…We laugh a lot… LOL exactly :)

Happy Friendship Day :)
Loads of love :)
God Bless You :)

Himalayan Sonam said...

You are really a lucky human. You visited more places in Bhutan than I actually did. It's embarrassing, a fact though, as Kicphu wrote, beside in history subject, Samcholing palace is still a historical landmark to be visited for me. Blessed you are :) to get to witness young monks perform also. And to sleep on Rupa's new bed sheets and pillows and step on the carpets. :D
P.S. Happy Belated Friendship Day. Buddha bless us, all, with beautiful friends in our lives.

Have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am glad you have made it to several beautiful places in Bhutan in such a short period. And yes, you are definitely blest to have got so many Bhutanese friends to help you during your stay. We hope to see you once again sometime in the future...

Rima Reyka said...

Yes, I forgot to mention that you too initially took half day leave but because of the road block and no Taxi incident, you became taking whole day leave. I felt more guilty now that two persons had to take whole day leave because of me :(

You sure you have become better in cooking and room management now? Not asking your students to help you? Lol :P

If only that day your brother bought Mortem instead of Black Mountain whiskey hahahaha... we didn't have to suffer from various insects inside your room :D

Happy Friendship Day to you too dear Rupa! Oh forgot to say that Japanese are usually small and short in size la, unlike me at all hehehe... :D Have a wonderful week ahead la! :)

Rima Reyka said...

You don't have to feel embarrassed la. Like you, I also haven't visited many places back in Indonesia ^^

But you were right that I was blessed la by being able to visit many places in Bhutan. And it wouldn't be possible without meeting up with such a nice, kind, cheerful, helpful, and positive person just like Rupa :) I'm indeed grateful!

Happy Friendship Day to you too Sonam! It's my blessing too being able to know you through my blog :) Wish you have a beautiful life ahead la! Buddha bless you! :)

Rima Reyka said...

Hi Amrith Sir! Yes la, I'm blessed being able to meet many friendly and helpful Bhutanese around. Without their help, I wouldn't be able to visit many beautiful places in Bhutan, just like what you said above :) Thank you for going through and yes, hope to see you again in the future! :)

Rupa KK Gurung said...

Haha I am laughing out loud... Reading Sonams comment, :P "And to sleep on Rupa's new bed sheets and pillows and step on the carpets. :D " ROFL ya... and you mentioning about my brother buying black mountain :P instead of mortein... hahaha...
it’s never a new bed sheet and pillow :P
Its oki worries:) Everyone of my collegues and my students were happy to see you here...and I was happiest of all to receive you :)
Pleasant evening ahead :)
Love you loads and miss u :)

Rima Reyka said...

:D :D :D
Thank you and same to you la!!! ^^

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