It was only when we were driving uphill to reach Wangdue Phodrang that I saw a village on the other side of the valley, even though we had just passed under it a few minutes before. The sun was still reflected on the corrugated roofs, and somehow, the village was asking to be explored. When I returned after a week, I left the hotel very early, and walked towards the Swiss bridge crossing Punak Chhu river. But before reaching the bridge, I found a path leading up, and guessed it would take me to Rinchengang village.
After meeting several school girls on their way to school, begging to have their picture taken, I soon reached the first houses of Rinchengang. The village is famous for having its houses built close to each other, and indeed, the space between houses was at times barely enough to walk through. Soon, I reached an open space that gave the impression of a square, with people gathering, talking to each other, more schoolgirls and boys getting ready for another day of learning, a mother with a baby asking to take their picture. People looked surprised to see a lonely foreigner intrude in their space, but still welcomed me to their ancient village.
Walking further uphill, I saw various different houses - some looked very decent, with whitewashed walls, and wooden window frames, that looked like houses elsewhere in Bhutan. Others looked totally different, built completely of adobe and without the traditional wooden window panes I had become so accustomed to. Rickety wooden ladders positioned outside the houses gave access to the upper floors, animals were just grazing in between the houses, and looking back, the view over Panuk Chhu river and Wangdue Phodrang with its impressive dzong was perfect. Unfortunately, I was running late, and had to leave Rinchengang behind too soon. Actually, the guide and driver were so worried when they did not find me in the hotel, they had started driving around looking for me, and were overjoyed when they spotted me back on the road, walking towards breakfast.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Rinchengang (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Rinchengang.
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