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Review: Tashigang


Tashigang, Bhutan

Gom Kora, Chorten Kora and Tashi Yangtse

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2370 reviews

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  • Nov 2009
  • Husband

59 people found this review helpful

These are further up the valley from Trashigang, heading up into the hills towards the Tibet border and it is a full day's drive.

It is a very nice drive up the river gorge to Gom Kora. Every available bit of flat land in the valley bottom is terraced and used to grow rice. There were a few settlements on hillsides. Slash and burn agriculture had left grassy slopes with few shrubs or trees.

GOM KORA is in a lovely setting where valley widens out. Its golden roofs gleamed in the sun. It is surrounded by terraced rice fields and small vegetable and flower gardens tended by the small monks, using a hand held plough to dig. Chickens were running round.

The history of the site goes back to the 7thC when Guru Rinpoche meditated in a cave in a large rock in the garden before subduing an evil spirit disguised as a snake. The present building is 18thC and contains several of Guru Rinpoche’s sacred treasures which were found by Pema Lingpa.

There is a door into the garden with the huge rock where Guru Rinpoche meditated. There is a ‘sinners path’ around the rock. There is a big boulder by the rock. If you can carry this three times clockwise round the rock without dropping it, you are absolved of all your sins. Tshering, our driver tried to do this. He was sagging at the knees after the second round and unfortunately dropped the boulder just before the finish. Apparently if you can climb up the huge rock in bare feet to top, you reach paradise. We were very relieved when Tshering decided not to try and reach paradise.

Further up the valley, we had a brief stop at Duksum Village where the Kholong Chhu river joins the Drangme Chhu. There were a few small wooden houses built along main street. The village is suffering from rural depopulation and many of the shops were shut and houses empty. The road climbed steeply up the Kholong Chhu valley to Trashi Yangsi. We saw red monkeys swinging in the trees.

We had a picnic lunch at CHORTEN KORA built on a large flat area beside river at the base of steep wooded slopes. There were small streams crossed by cantilever bridges and several water driven prayer wheels.

The Chorten is built below the village and is surrounded by large white wall. Inside are large open prayer halls used twice a year for one week of special prayers and the caretaker monk’s house. It is a Nepalese style stupa built in the 18thC to subdue an evil spirit living on the site. There is a popular belief when the stupa was built that a pious princess from Arunachal Pradesh entombed herself within it to protect the local population. It is now a pilgrimage site for people from Arunachal Pradesh. There were lots of people going clockwise round the stupa with handheld prayer wheels.

These were three old ladies sitting outside who wanted their photos taking. There was great delight and much pointing of fingers when they saw themselves on the camera.

TASHI YANGSI is a simple, well maintained modern settlement. There were several people around who watched us but were reserved and didn’t respond to our ‘hellos.’ We drove up to Tashi Yangsi Dzong above the village. This is a small modern building and the most isolated administration centre in Bhutan. There are no monks here.

We walked round the outside wall to the back of the Dzong for views up to Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary. We looked down over fields and farms in valley growing corn and bananas. The mountains beyond were very clear and stretched as far as the eye could see.

Our pictures can be seen here.  

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