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Old Feb 28, 13, 5:37 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DCA/IAD
Programs: most of them
Posts: 3,229

After our morning trip to Radhi the afternoon was pretty quiet. We dropped in briefly at the monastery which is quite new and beautiful.

In the afternoon our driver Dewas wanted to be my guide as he knew some people in the town. We walked around a bit and stopped in at a little tea house run by a girlfriend of his. He didnít speak a lot of English but I felt a lot more comfortable with him than I did with the guide. He was a good guy and very good driver despite the fact that he looks like he is 20.

After Ranjung it was time to start our drive back to the west. We did an overnight in Mongar again which was pretty uneventful. Then the next day was another 10 hour drive back to Jakar. While we were in Mongar the first time there was a massive fire in Jakar that wiped out one big swath of town. The buildings were all made of wood and were fairly ramshackle. Apparently some sort of electrical short started it. This was very big news around the country. The king and his father the previous king along with many government official went to the town to lend their moral support. When we arrived our hotel had been largely taken over by government ministers and I think at least one member of the royal family. But we still had our rooms.

Lots of big waterfalls

first snows of the season on the mountains

From Jakar we drove to Trongsa home to a very large dzong and a nice museum overlooking it in the old watch tower

Trongsa Dzong

We spent one night in Trongsa. In the afternoon we went to see Kuenga Rabten which was the winter residence of the second king of the current dynasty. Itís a very large house. I believe he died there in an archery accident, IIRC.

Kuenga Rabten

From Trongsa we continued on to Punakha which used to be the capital and is still home to the spiritual leader for part of the year.

On the way we stopped at Chimi Lhakhang which is a very famous temple that couples visit who want to have a baby. They are blessed by a monk with a wooden phallus in a fertility rite.

Not sure who that little kid was trying to hide from

The guesthouse in Punakha was very nice with gorgeous gardens

Punakha Dzong. As the former capital it is probably the most impressive of them all. It is beautifully sited between two big rivers. Unfortunately they have had some major floods over the years when earthen dams upriver have broken

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