Bhutan Day 4 – on the road to
Here comes the rain again – Annie Lennox
peak altitude 3030m or 9999 or call it 10,000 feet….
Everyone is well
Philosophical musing: 108 – this is an important number – in the 7th century the religious Tibetan king asked to build 108 stupa’s all over the Himalaya to subdue the demon on his back – and since then it has become a very auspicious Buddhist number – e.g. 108 volumes of teaching, 12 monks and 9 planets – (9 x 12 = 108) etc
Bhutan moment: today we focus on the phalus. it has great symbolism of course not just in western culture but particularly here in Bhutan. In fact we were blessed by being bonked (careful spelling everyone) on the head with 2 phalus’s and a bow and arrow -I kid you not….the significance of the phalus (they are all over) is that it symbolizes fertility and wards off evil spirits – so for protection.
Up and out of the hotel early this am in the pouring rain and off to the giant Buddha (50m or 159 feet tall) – largest in the world!!! there will also be 100,000 8 inch and 25,000 12 inch Buddha’s within the temple once complete – it is pretty impressive. Dale’s response- ‘Holy Moly’.
On our way we found out that Brian had not in fact lost his wallet (last nights big news flash) and that it was in this room safe (where the girls told him to look but since it was locked he didn’t)…..and hence he is wearing the blonde necklace – a team booboo necklace for a quintessential blonde moment…….I am a bit terrified as i think i will be wearing it most of the trip.
Then we started our drive to the trailhead. And oh what a drive it was….we are supposed to be at the tail end, emphasis on the end, of the monsoon season – but clearly Zeus (god of rain) got his dates wrong. as a result the road was really something. We summitted a pass at 10,000 feet and stopped to have lunch. Typical bhutanese fair with rice, noodles, pork, veggies and tea.
Dale and Dave at Lunch
Then back on the road to descend 8000 feet to our destination. We came to one section of the road and there had just been a slide putting a large tree stump and much mud in the middle of the road. What followed was one amazing example of team work – cars lining up in both directions, everyone out in the pouring rain, trying to get cars through this narrow pass with a 500 foot fall off on one side and the mud/tree on the other. OMG. After about 30 cars got through with much pushing we were able to get the bus through!!!
Cars and Mud
Came to the town of Punakha and went to see the Chimi Lhakhang temple of the Divine madman – a Tibetan Buddhist saint known for his unconventional ways. Hence our major introduction to the phalus. This temple is known for granting fertility (way past my sell date). Couples come here and carry a giant phalus around the temple 3 times in order to get pregnant (my mom never got past page 11 on sex education – but I am still sure there is more to it).
HR and the Phalus
Our Hotel is magical, rustic, wood and stone, with huge spacious rooms. Tomorrow we are up and out early with a long drive on a bad road (really Khandu – today was a good road????) to the trail head……..
We are still having Battery Blues and have been unable to complete the echoes.
Walking in the Rain