Dzongs, Temples, Monasteries - They're Everywhere

 

 

 

 

        

        The map tells the tale, once one sees the key.
        A check mark means that we visited there.

 

                First day: Kyichu Temple (built 659 CE). The Paro dzong (built 1644 CE) from watch-tower/museum overlook.

    Last day, the trek of the trip was hot & tiring to the extreme, up to the Taktsang (or Tiger's Nest) Monastery,        hanging on a precipitous cliff at 10,240', about 3,000' above the Paro valley. The trail begins about 8,500'.
               Notice the flight of steps down into the gorge before climbing up again to the monastery.
              
    Tom & Laura took horses up most of the way. After our climb to The Tiger's Nest, two Korean nuns and
      then Tom & Liz pose for pictures on an overlook by the gorge. Everyone is exhausted; some show it!
         

 

                      High above Thimphu and its huge Buddha statue, we hiked up to a small monastery,
      where we met a man who had prostrated himself so often that his feet left a pattern on the temple floor.

                              

  At another temple near Thimphu, we took a group picture (see Bhutan home page). On our drive East, we stopped at Dochula Pass (10,200'), at 108 chortens and a temple built relatively recently by the Queen Mother. 
            

   Driving back, we stopped at the Punakha Dzong, at the confluence of two rivers. It was the administrative           centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital moved to Thimphu.
     The monks spend the winter here. The bees are busy making wonderful hives on the dzong til they die!
         

    
      
    A painting showing "The Year of the ..." animals,                   and another of the "Cycle of Life".

 The Trongsa dzong, seen from our hotel room, had an ominous cast, due to rain and the painted reminders...
           

        Rain kept interfering with our trek to the four Bumthang Valley temples near Jakar - so very few photos!

    

               We visited many more temples and monasteries - too many to chronicle here,
                        but meaningful to us and to the history of Buddhism in Bhutan.