That morning, the drive through Tang Valley took us over narrow gravel roads with magnificent scenery, woods, traditional villages, and encounters with invariably very friendly Bhutanese. When we met an old woman almost without eyesight, the guide and I were so touched that we were thinking hard to offer her a solution. She continued her long walk to her animals, while we wondered how she was going to tend to them without seeing much. A few hours after reaching a chorten at the river, Tashi the driver parked our car. A lonely old man was walking around the chorten. We greeted him before we crossed the suspension bridge over Tang Chhu river. We were on our way to Ugyen Chholing Palace.
We walked through the farming lands here, met several farmers and cows, and quickly climbed the hill to reach Ugyen Chholing Palace. As expected, we found a prayer wall and prayer flags at the entrance. When I stepped through the access gate, I stepped into what seemed a separate world. A quiet courtyard, the white walls that are typical for Bhutanese buildings, and the intricately carved wooden windows and doors, an old man watching us, while several kids were looking down at us from one of the windows on the top floor. While the original palace was built in the 16th century, what you see now are reconstructed buildings after the original ones collapsed following the 1897 earthquake.
We walked to a kitchen of residents around the corner, to find someone to open the main building of Ugyen Chholing Palace for us. After we found him and he finally opened the door for us, we nosed through this building, starting at the top. It was the best introduction to Bhutanese life I had so far. We saw printing blocks used to print texts on Daphne, the traditional Bhutanese paper, and prayer flags, traditional clothes, kitchen utensils, house interiors, and many more things. Apart from the information given, I loved the museum because of its charming organization. After our educational visit, we took a shortcut down the hill towards Tang Chhu river. When we reached the other side of the river, the old man we had seen before, was still walking his kora around the chorten. We left him behind, continuing up Tang Valley.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ugyen Chholing Palace (Bhutan). 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 Ugyen Chholing Palace.
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