Our day started earlier than expected, as a group was leaving the homestay at 7 am. We could hear them getting up and ready from 5:30 am! Great homestay, wonderful family, but not the best sound insulation!
We finally got up and at it for breakfast for 7 with a departure of 8 am. Today was going to be a big day with a visit to Mebartsho Lake and then on to hike to the temple and monastery at Tharpaling. This would be our highest hike yet at 3691 M, or 12,000 ft.
We left the beautiful homestay and the gorgeous valley, and I wanted to give you a taste of the kind of roads getting in here, and why it takes hours to go a few km!
Today our first stop further down the Tang Valley is a very sacred place here. Mebartsho Lake, or Burning lake is said to have been where Pema Lingpa performed a miracle in front of many village skeptics. Carrying a lit butter lamp, he jumped into the lake to receive hidden treasures that had been foretold to him. When he surfaced, not only was the butter lamp still burning, but he also held a statue and a treasure chest that had been hidden centuries before by the 2nd Bhudda.
After the short visit at the lake we continued on our journey. We travelled a road that was in much better condition. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop shepardesses from using the same road to move their sheep!
We soon found ourselves at at the pass, and the beginning of our hike to Tharpaling Goemba. We started this hike at an elevation of 2750 M and ended at close to 3700M. While it was a gentle climb, it was steady for over 12-14 km. The path was smooth and covered in pine needles for the most part. Today it was my turn to be feeling a little punky ( not sleeping well and extra hard mattresses didn’t help). We took it slow and steady and tried to enjoy the hike as much as our panting would allow! A brief stop at the halfway mark for some trail mix, and some electrolyte replacement certainly helped the rest of the hike! Here are some shots along the way.
About 45 minutes before the end of our hike, we see our driver Penjor coming towards us. What a welcome site he was!! (I think Kencho was getting worried he’d have to carry us both, and sent for reinforcements!)
With only 45 minutes or less to go, we were suddenly energized. The end was in site! We soon came to the highest point of our hike at 3691 M, and could see the Temple, Monatery and Goemba or Monks University on the next hill.
Once at the Temple grounds, we set up for lunch with one of the most beautiful views we’ve had!
After lunch we tried to visit the Temple, but it was closed. Tharpaling means liberator, and it is said on this site a spiritual teacher came from Tibet to meditate attracting many disciples. After meditation they all were enlightened and rose beyond this life on earth. There are many meditation facilities high on the ridge for the many monks who inhabit this Goemba.
We descended down into the valley by car after lunch, and arrived at the Chumey Nature Resort for the night. Another stunning place, and stunning room. Extra bonus was great internet that allowed me to play catchup on my blog!!
Well, it’s been a long day! Time to get rested up for tomorrow. We head out of the Bumthang Valley region of Central Bhutan and into the West. On to Trongsa and the Phobijikha Valley for a couple of nights! Until tomorrow!