This banner features ripe pine corns above Tandin Ney in Thimphu. Picture taken on April 15.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

A day in Phobjikha

Phobjikha valley in Wangdue 
It was a beautiful day, the day I visited the famous Phobjikha valley in Wangdue a fortnight ago with some of my colleagues. Pelela was awash with rhododendron flowers in full bloom. If winter makes this mountain pass between Wangdue and Trongsa treacherous, spring brings glorious beauty to it. But in fact, the mountain is equally beautiful during winter. I remember crossing it last December when it was under a thick blanket of snow. Snow made the road dangerous for motorists, but it made the towering mountain sparkle with beauty.

The resplendent beauty of the majestic mountain, however, paled in comparison to the surreal magnificence of the Phobjikha valley. At the height of spring, the valley was still grey. The vast grey expanse stretched as far as eyes could see. The small stream that meandered its way through the valley sparkled in the morning sun. Grazing cattle dotted its marshy banks. From the far end of the valley, a lone crane called out loud and clear before it took wing. No cow lowed. No herders bothered them. All was quiet and peaceful until some wood cutters started their work on the fringes of the valley. They sent the blaring sound of power chain saw across the peaceful valley. It went on for hours on end harshly drowning the sounds of chirping little birds that continuously fluttered across the valley floor.

The lone crane sent out another ringing call and flew over to a different spot. By and by, the monks of Gangtey Goenpa came strolling across the length of the valley and waded their way through the marshy area. They tripped across by a small pond. A gentle breeze rippled the surface of the pond, and on the gleaming surface floated a plastic Pepsi bottle. Nearby, there lay a few feathers of the black-necked crane and near it some more bottles. The modern junk food garbage had found its way even to the heart of the vast valley. Waste can soon be a problem in that idyllic valley like in other parts of the country.

At one corner of the valley, a Hummer SUV made its way away from a tent. Near the tent, a plume of smoke curled up into the still air. A tipper truck laden with logs groaned its way after the SUV. A group of young monks, who were trying to put one another down in a game of shot put, clambered onto the truck as it  stopped briefly. They precariously, but happily, perched themselves on the logs as the truck wobbled into movement.

Towards the late afternoon, the sky was overcast and it drizzled. The sound of power chain saw stopped. The farmhouses sent up grey plumes of smoke as they burnt aromatic leaves to sanctify the air.      


  1. Beautiful! I really enjoy Sidhi Bhadra la. Keep posting.

  2. It is really beautiful and insightful with vivid descriptions of the valley and narrative in flow. I would like to share this personal essay of yours with my children of 12th standard should you permit me to do.
    Since it is very coherent with simple and artistic language, it will not only inspire young learners but also encourage them to start a writing career.

  3. Dear friends
    Thank you very much indeed for your kind words of encouragement. To Sonam: I will be more than happy to see our students read it.

    Best wishes