The annual Punakha Tsechu begins today following a three day domche. The Punakha Domchoe ended yesterday with Norb Chu Sha Ne or the symbolic immersion of the sacred relic into the Mochu River.
Decked in colorful ghos and kiras, the people of Punakha and other nearby dzongkhags flocked to the Punakha Dzong to witness the final day of the Domchoe. The highlight of the final day of the three day Domchoe was the symbolic immersion of sacred relic into the river.
The ceremony brings to life a historical event which took place about 400 years ago. An invading Tibetan force had come to forcibly take back the sacred Ranjung Khasar Pani. The Zhabdrung hid the sacred relic in the sleeve of his robe and threw a fake one in the river. The Tibetan force believing that the relic has been lost for ever went back home. Continue reading Punakha Domchoe concludes
Tourism spin-off uplifts Trongsa farmers’ standard of living
|The trail is the source of additional income to farmers
It’s now winter but farmer Thinley of Trongsa is looking forward to next autumn. Not that he’s particularly crazy about the season, though things may seem nicer then. What he’s excited about is the stream of tourists that the fall delivers.
Tourists mean opportunity for work, to make some money.
The 50-year-old lanky man from Nabji village, made about Nu 10,000 in 2008 portering tourist bags and tents and foodstuff using his ponies. Fortunately for him, since the government opened the Nabji-Korphu eco-tourism trail, tourists have been coming to the region. Their numbers are not huge, but enough to keep him occupied- from autumn through winter, the seasons tourists visit. Winter is not bitter cold like in Paro or Bumthang, it’s relatively balmy. Continue reading Eco-trail windfall for local economy
Nabji-Korphu horses falling by the eco-tourism trail
|Nabji: Horses are the only means of transport
When the government started the Nabji-Korphu eco-tourism trail a few years ago, locals residing along the trail found in horses a source of quick cash inflow. The trail became popular with tourists and farmers grabbed the new opportunity with both hands. However, with many horses falling victim to what villagers suspect to be a strange disease in the last two years, locals are worried sick.
“My two mules died last year, causing me a loss of Nu 30,000,” said Pema Gyeltshen from Korphu. Pema Geltshen, a father of five school-going children, ferries loads from Reutala, the nearest road head to his village. “With the opening of Nabji-Korphu eco-tourism trail, horses become an important source of income to us,” he said, adding that, given the remoteness of the place, horses were the only means of transport.
In Korphu, almost all the 186 households own about two to three horses each. With numerous reports of horses dying, villagers are anxious. “Last year alone, Korphu lost about 30 horses,” said a 66-year-old resident, Yuden. Villagers say that about 20 horses died in 2008 in Nabji and at least six died in Nimzhong village. They say that horses do not survive even a day if they have the disease. A tshogpa from Nabji village, Dorji, lost his three horses, one by one, to the fell disease. “I lost about Nu 36,000,” he said. Continue reading Equine fatalities from epotorium plant
16 December, 2008 – The unique culture and tradition, pristine environment and beautiful trekking routes make Bhutan one of the best tourist destinations in the world. But, for the Christopher family from the United Kingdom, there is more than that.
“Bhutan is very child-friendly,” said Christopher, 51, who has been visiting Bhutan for the last four consecutive years with his family. “My sons feel free and enjoy playing in Bhutan like any other Bhutanese children and people are accepting and open to the children,” said the mother, Joanne, 33. “Bhutan is a special place for family and children to be. We’d love to come back.”
The Christopher family has a special attachment to Bhutan. During a visit to Taktshang monastery, the couple met a lam and received a Bhutanese name for their son, who was then only six months in the womb. Archie is now two years old and is called Samzang (kind-hearted) while in Bhutan. Continue reading Bhutan- child friendly travel destination
15 December, 2008 – It was a tribute to the Wangchuck dynasty for a century of visionary leadership in conservation of Bhutan’s rich natural heritage. And for once, it was the only protected area comprising of all four national symbols-flower, animal, tree and bird.
Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley inaugurated the second largest protected area in the country, Wangchuck Centenary Park (WCP) in Nasiphel village of Choekhar gewog, Bumthang on December 12.
Covering about 3,736 km sq of north-central region of the country, WCP connected Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park in the west and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in the east.
Adding to its special features was also the park area being a source of Punatsangchu, Mangdechu, Kurichu, and Chamkharchu, the rivers, which would power hydropower projects. Continue reading Second largest protected area inaugurated
Source: Bhutan Observer
By Rabi C. Dahal
19 September 2008
Small handicraft outlets in the country are crying foul over exorbitant commissions paid by bigger competitors as incentives to tour guides. The smaller retailers say they are unable to pay as much to guides and so are unable to sustain their businesses. Hoteliers, meanwhile, complain about tour operators and guides demanding luxurious rooms and food when they are with the tourists. This is said to be most rampant in Paro and Bumthang.
A source in the tourism industry said almost all the handicraft outlets in the country paid commissions to guides, drivers and tour operators and it has now become a custom. About five handicraft shops in the capital are said to be paying (as commission) as much as 20 percent of the value of items bought. Most others paid 15 percent. He said that last year a guide earned Nu. 300,000 as sales incentive from a handicraft shop for a single purchase. Continue reading The Hospitality Commission