Saturday, August 08, 2015

East Bhutan Trip Day 4 - 6 July 2015 Gom Kora near Chazam and Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse

Gom Kora or Gomphu Kora - Chazam, Bhutan

We left Kanglung at 7 am and reached our first destination - Gom or rightly named Gomphu Kora (Gomphu means meditation cave and Kora means circumambulation) at about 9 am. It was located 13 km north of Chazam along the Mongar-Trashigang-Trashiyangtse road. It was one of the temples where Guru Rinpoche doing his meditation and left his body print on to the rock.

Gom Kora - Chazam, Bhutan

It was such a picturesque temple below the road, surrounded by the lush greenery beside the Dangmechu river.

Gom Kora - Chazam, Bhutan

We circumambulated the temple while waited for the caretaker to come and open the door. He only came a while later after Luzee desperately looked for them. The monk was finally came and opened the door for us.

"The central figure in the temple is Guru Rinpoche. To the right is Chenresig, in his 1000-armed aspect. To the far right is an image of the snake demon Gangan Yonga Choephel, who holds a golden mirror in his right hand. The wall murals to the far right are believed to date from the 15th century.

There are numerous sacred objects locked in a glass cabinet that either miraculously appeared here or were brought by the Guru. The largest item is a garuda egg, which is very heavy, perfectly shaped, egglike stone. Other relics include the traditional boot print of the Guru, the footprint of his consort Yeshe Tshogyal (aged eight), the hoof print of  Guru Rinpoche's horse and a phallus-shaped rock belonging to Pema Lingpa." - Source: Lonely Planet.

The area behind the goemba where Guru Rinpoche meditated and subdued the demon - Gom Kora at Chazam, Bhutan

"Behind the goemba is a fantastical large black rock. It is said that Guru Rinpoche was meditating in a small cave near the bottom of the rock when a demon in the shape of a cobra suddenly appeared. The Guru, alarmed, stood up quickly leaving the impression of his pointed hat at the top of the cave and then transformed himself into a garuda, leaving the imprint of his wings nearby. The Guru then made an agreement with the demon to stay away until the end of his meditation. The contract was sealed with thumb prints, which are still visible on the rock. The serpent also left a light-colored print, with his hood at the top of the rock. 

A small sin-testing passageway leads from the cave to an exit to the side of the rock - one successful participant reported that you must indeed move like a snake to get through the cave. Visitors also test their sin levels and rock-climbing skills by trying to climb up the side of the rock (the 'stairway of the dakinis' - female celestial beings) - only the virtuous can make it. On certain auspicious days, holy water, believed to be the Guru's nectar of immortality, flows down from a crevice in the rock and pilgrims line up to spoon it into bottles. You may also see childless women carrying a hefty holy stone around the kora path to boost their chances of conceiving." - Source: Lonely Planet.

PS: When we were there, the monk went around with us and explained the whole story in Dzongkha. Luzee tried her best to explain to me, however, I caught some piece and puzzle from it. Therefore, I took the words from Lonely Planet to share the story described by the monk about the things there :)

Ashtamangala or the 8 auspicious symbols and Vajra (thunderbolts) at Gom Kora - Chazam, Bhutan

Again, I felt blessed and grateful for being able to visit this sacred temple as the site was believed to have been blessed with infinite prayers and virtues by the Guru and those visiting the site today were believed to gain indefinite merit :)

There was even a song lyrics, "Thinong korni korba lai sholaya namning korni tongpa lai sholaya," composed by Jigme Drukpa - a popular Bhutanese singer and composer who composed the song when he was in second year studying in Sherubtse College at Kanglung - which meant, "Go around (circumambulate) Gomphu Kora today for tomorrow may be too late (or useless)," as to entice devotees - especially girls - to visit the place :D It's said that the song was very famous in the late 1980s. People used to sing it irrespective of age and gender, especially in the presence of girls ^^

PS: Lyrics were given by Au Kinzang Tshering as the explanation was contributed by my friend who came from Trashiyangtse, Karma Drupchuk. I even had the song sung by Kipchu's friend, sent through my What's App :D Kadinche-la all for your inputs :)

And during Gomphu Kora Festival - usually held in early spring - it was believed that this was also an occasion for people to choose their spouse during circumambulation, which led to many marriages. So if you were single and had a chance to visit Bhutan in early year, you might want to join in the festival and who knows you would be able to get marry there with Bhutanese or Indian who came from Arunachal Pradesh :D

Bath tub of Guru Rinpoche - Dangmechu River, Bhutan

As we left the Gom Kora, we drove along the Dangmechu river. Suddenly Wangdi stopped the car and showed us the wooden thing beside the river as shown at the above picture. He told us that this thing used to be the bath tub of Guru Rinpoche. How true was it? I had no idea... :) We continued our journey by visiting one CC at Bumdeling Gewog, had our packed lunch there, and finally we visited the famous Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse :)

Chorten Kora - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Whenever I told my friend that I planned to go to Trashiyangtse, they always advised me to visit this beautiful place. Chorten Kora was located next to the Kulong Chu river. It was built in 18th century by Lama Ngawang Loday (the nephew of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal) in order to subdue a harmful demon believed to have been living at the site.

The stupa was modeled after the famous Boudhanath Stupa and it took 12 years to complete. Lama Ngawang Loday went to Nepal himself and brought back a model of Boudhanath Stupa carved in a radish. He copied the shape and built it there so people could visit this place instead of making a long trip to Nepal. However, if you noticed, the Chorten Kora was so much smaller and slimmer compared with the original Boudhanath Stupa as the radish had shrunk during the trip back to Bhutan and therefore, distorted the craving.

Back part of the Chorten Kora - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Posed together with local devotee at Chorten Kora - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

The temple behind the Chorten Kora - Trashiyangtse - Bhutan

The door was locked so we could only cicumambulate the area while turning the wheel prayers surround it. At the back there was a temple. It was believed that when the stupa was built, a pious Dakini Princess from Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh in India, entombed or buried herself alive and meditated on behalf of all beings.

Circumambulate around the Chorten Kora - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Another dream came true - Visited Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

It was such a beautiful place. Now I understood why everyone recommended me to visit this place. And all of us were blessed with good karma for being able to visit this place safely and happily. See how happy we were from the photo above!!! ;)

Trashiyangtse Chorten Kora Town - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

After that we went to Trashiyangtse town. Initially we planned to stay overnight there but we didn't know anyone there and we had to stay at hotel. However, after asking the hotel fare, Luzee thought that it would be better for us to travel back to Mongar and stay at Sithar and Pema's place for a night. We were not only saving money from paying the hotel rate, but also saving our time so the next day we wouldn't have to travel so long when returning back to Bumthang.

Wood lacquered production from Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

So before leaving this town, we went to the shop that specialized in selling wood (lacquered) products - famous product or souvenir from Trashiyangtse. I bought myself 4 pcs of wooden wine glasses from that shop as I saw it before at the Bumthang cheese and wine shop at Batpalathang as a souvenir since I myself loved to drink wine occasionally while Luzee and Drugyal bought ara bowl for themselves :) And after this, we finally left the place and drove back all the way to Mongar.

Picturesque mountain view from Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Jamkhardang Waterfall - Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Beautiful rainbow over the mountains - on our way back to Mongar from Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Beautiful horse on our way to Mongar - Bhutan

On our way, we stopped at the Jamkhardang Waterfall for a while and enjoyed the rest of our journey with many other picturesque views. Again we were lucky to see the rainbow over the mountains :) However, it started raining soon and to add in the drama, one of our car tyres was deflated and our car fuel was left quite minimum. Wangdi had no choice but to change the tyre under the rain - luckily before sky turned into dark and he had to drive as soon as possible to reach Mongar town. Thank Buddha we reached Mongar before the fuel had become empty and safely. We stopped by at the general store to purchase ingredients for our dinner then headed to Sithar and Pema's house.

Dinner at Sithar and Pema house for second time - Mongar, Bhutan

We were all tired from a long drive and visiting but felt relieved at the same time that we were finally able to settle down at their house for a night. Tired from eating rice, chili, and cheese, they decided to cook pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. Pema offered ara for us to drink, however, Luzee and I chose to have Takin wine that night and we used the wine glass that I just bought as the celebration hehehe...

As changpa, Luzee and I ate mango with wine while Pema ate banana with his ara hahaha.. Drugyal was drinking ara too that night. We had a very relaxing dinner and celebrated our last night at east of Bhutan. Time was really flying, wasn't it?? That day too signified my half journey in Bhutan. Wow!!! Without realizing, I'd left home for half month's time. I wrote few post cards for family and friends back home before taking a good sleep after a hearty dinner and conversation (over few half-glass of wines) :P Thank you SB for your protection that we had all our journey smooth and sound! We visited all places that we wanted to visit in east Bhutan. Thank you, thank you, and thank you la!!! :)


Janvier said...

I like these pictures so much. Have a safe and blessed journey.

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you Lan Dang :) I'm glad you liked it! Wish you can visit the place one day to enjoy the real nature and get all the blessings and merit :) Wish you have a wonderful weekend! ^^

Janvier said...

Thanks for your wishes. I also hope to come back to Bhutan soon. In waiting time, I continue to see Bhutan through your lens :)

Kipchu Kipchu said...

I have only heard about the existence of those great places and their beauty. Now that you have presented them through your eyes, I am grateful.You have got beautiful shots with descriptions and added your own flavors(you experiences and feelings). And the later being the best part makes it a good blend. Happy weekend!

Rima Reyka said...

Nice to hear that Lan Dang! :)

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you Kipchu for your lovely comments! :) Wish you have a wonderful weekend too! ^^

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