Bhutan # 6 Wandering in North Punakha Valley

Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which we visited in Bhutan musings #5,  dominates the upper Punakha Valley and commands views south along the Mo Chhu and north towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.


P1000409  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000409 © DY of jtdytravels

The view down the winding Mo Chhu towards our hotel and Punakha village was truly stunning.  The road snakes its way at the foot of the hills on the other side of the river.  Rice farms use every possible piece of land between river and hills. Conservation of the forests is high on the Bhutanese Government’s agenda. But it’s a balancing act with a growing population meaning more people to feed and so more land needing to to be cleared for farms.  It’s a problem in most countries worldwide.


P1000409  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000409 © DY of jtdytravels

The view north, upriver towards Gasa and the higher mountains of the Tibetan border is equally pleasing. When I was here in 2003, we walked down from those mountains to this river before a small bus picked us up for the final bit of road into Punakha.  Looking at this view brought memories of that trek flooding back to me.


P1000412  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000412 © DY of jtdytravels

As we began to wend our way back down the slope, we looked down on an amazingly intricate patchwork of rice terraces.


P1000413  ©  DY of  jtdytravels

P1000413 © DY of jtdytravels

These terraces seemed to just tumble down the mountainside.  Some harvested, some are ripe for harvest, and others , on the upper slopes, still green.  Careful planning is obviously needed to balance the work load and the harvest timing. Both white and red rice are grown in this valley.


P1000389  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000389 © DY of jtdytravels

 This time, as we walked down the path, we were able to look down onto the terraces below us.  The family we had seen earlier were still hard at work threshing their rice. While we wandered, they worked.  Thought provoking!


P1000390  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000390 © DY of jtdytravels

Toddlers at play whilst their parents work.  No creche here.


P1000424  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000424 © DY of jtdytravels

Hibiscus trionum, a weed in these crops, shows just how temperate the climate is here.


P1000425  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000425 © DY of jtdytravels

There must be very few countries in the world where the ubiquitous but rather beautiful Morning Glory doesn’t grow.


P1000431  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000431 © DY of jtdytravels

A well camouflaged dragonfly with delicate gauzy wings.


P1000434  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000434 © DY of jtdytravels

Just the very top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Temple showed on top of the ridge as we made our way back down through the rice fields.


P1000442  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000442 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking the other way, the view was one of rugged mountain peaks.  Clouds began to roll in. Was this to be the end of our good weather?  Hopefully not. We still had so much to enjoy in this valley.


P1000436  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000436 © DY of jtdytravels

It pays to look down as well as up, even when surrounded by magnificent mountains.

Back down near a fast flowing small stream, I found this insect, maybe a water nymph…

his shadow, a perfect replica in the mid-day sunshine.


P1000446  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000446 © DY of jtdytravels

Nearby was a rather attractive butterfly.


P1000447  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000447 © DY of jtdytravels

A quiet eddy by the side of the river.


P1000449  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000449 © DY of jtdytravels

After a pleasant wander, we were back to that flag bedecked bridge across the Mo Chhu.

‘Twas time to return to our delightful hotel for lunch –

 and it was a well earned lunch!

More anon.


All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

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2 comments on “Bhutan # 6 Wandering in North Punakha Valley

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