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2013 Bhutan – to Trongsa

Friday, October 25 ~ To Trongsa with stops for wildlife and scenery
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After our visit the the Tharpaling Monastery and the rare Monal Pheasants we drove to Trongsa over the Yotong La (pass) at 3,425 meters or 11,234 feet with stops for birds, mammals, and spectacular views. The scenery is superb. This was a short travel day and we arrived mid-afternoon for tea, dinner and overnight at the Yangkhil Resort built in the wonderful Bhutanese style of architecture.

It is also situated in a superb location, overlooking the town of Trongsa and its massive Dzong at 7,000 feet. The lodge is surrounded by beautiful grounds laid out with a prayer wheel powered by water as well as prayer wheels powered by hand.

Most of us rallied ourselves to visit the Dzong that is built across the river and blocks entrance to the valley. It is a most intimidating sight.. and was meant to be so. Dzongs are fortified monasteries, much like a western castle, that also house administration buildings. Much of the administration in these out-lying areas still serve as a place for justice administration similar to an American court house.. with Bhutanese differences of course.

The second cousin of our guide Hishey, is a lawyer and a justice here, although he had just been appointed to the High Court in Thimpu. We had a chance to meet with him and ask him questions about the legal system in Bhutan.

In the courtyard of the administrative section of the Dzong, we watched a little girl playing hopscotch while she waited for her parent(s) to finish work. Several monks were practicing a dance for an upcoming festival.

Bhutan nationals are required to wear ‘formal’ attire in the dzongs and monasteries. For women it is a kira (long skirt) and a jacket, for men that means their traditional ‘gho’ and a sash. The sashes are color coded to denote status. The general public wear white sashes, the king and the monastery abbots wear yellow, legal administrators wear green/blue, monks wear red etc. etc. Hishey’s cousin, as a justice, sported a beautiful green sash, while Hishey wore his regular white one. The men’s ghos also has large white cuffs. Traditionally the length of the cuff also denoted status. We knew we were going to visit something interesting if Hishey and the rest of our guide staff showed up in their ghos.

Lodging: Yangkhil Resort near Trongsa

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