Rain, rain go away
13.10.2016 - 13.10.2016 16 °C
Woke to grey skies again today, not a good omen. We set off early to attend the Thimphu Tshechu and join the throngs of people pouring into the Thimphu Dzong arena. It was standing room only as we waited for the performance to begin. The traditional dancing, performed by monks and laymen was very colourful and entertaining. Just being in the atmosphere of the arena was amazing. Loved the colour of the Bhutanese dressed in their traditional dress, the Gho for the men and the Kira for the ladies. They come here to socialise and enjoy the Tshechu celebrations and it was such a shame that it began to rain not long after the performance commenced. We stayed for about an hour before the rain became too unpleasant and we moved on.
We did not have to go far for our next stop at the Thimphu Dzong. This impressive structure consisting of white washed outer walls, three storey towers capped in red and gold and a spacious inner courtyard where monks wander about gave us plenty of photo opportunities. The courtyard is lined in part with prayer wheels which are a common sight in Bhutan. The revolving wheels which are required to be spun clockwise are filled with printed prayers that are activated each time the wheel is turned. I find it very spiritual to spin these wheels which we first encountered when travelling in Nepal many years ago. Entering the main temple of the Dzong, we were required to remove our shoes. Inside we observed the rhythmic chanting of the monks as they prayed, another spiritual experience for me. The temple is lined with thousands of Buddha statues and is decorated in traditional style and colours similar to the temples of Tibet.
Leaving the Dzong we drove to Motithang Takin Reserve with two short stops on the way. The first at a quaint little nunnery and the second to view the unusual prayer flags placed on the mountainside to honour the deceased. The Takin is the national animal of Bhutan and it is a most bizarre looking creature. It is said to have the body of a cow and the head of a goat. Although they are housed in a large enclosure, their grazing area is in a forest like setting which provided a natural environment for the Takins.
The rain started to pour as we stepped out at the fortress like temple of Changangkha Lhakhang. On a clear day we would have had great views from here but today was not one of those days. Traditionally the temple is visited by parents to get blessings for their children.
It was a relief to get out of the rain at our lunch stop at the Hotel Kisa. Another buffet meal with a reasonable selection of dishes. As usual I ate too much.
With the rain continuing I returned to our hotel for a break whilst John returned to the Tshechu to photograph more of the performances. Upon his return we downloaded a ton of photos and relaxed before dinner at our hotel. Let's hope the weather improves tomorrow.