for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Saturday, June 3, 2017

On The Trails of The Divine Madman

LosarJab Chorten to Khuruthang- From the Divine Madman's Hat to his Field:

Beautiful and Blessed Lobesa
Lobesa is quite synonymous with Lam Drukpa Kuenley a.k.a The Divine Madman and there's more than what is heard and read when you travel on the actual trail. Despite the heat and little knowledge of my students who hail from the locality, we made a discovery hike from LosarJab Chorten till Khuruthang town. 

My  Team
The highly anticipated hike started off with a 200m descend from the LosarJab Chorten (Refer the photos for the location) and some photographs on the windy hill at the end of the hill. LosarJab Chorten is about 4 km towards Punakha from Misina junction. Then we took a left turn to follow a well beaten path towards Khuruthang. I was told by my guides/students that people use the trail for wild Asparagus picking and also as a shortcut to Khuruthang town.

So we walked the trail which is just about 30m above the Punatsangchu river and the whole trail follows the river in opposite direction till Khuruthang bridge. We tried to keep ourselves alert for snakes as the trail looks quite like a place for our hissing friends  and we were careful as the silent yet deep Punatsangchu flowed just a small fall below. I was too curious to see the Nye (sacred places) and kept throwing questions to my guides.

My guides who are 3 students from the locality and who willingly agreed to hike with me were well equipped too- They confirmed with their parents about the Nyes and also brought along a book on the Divine Madman.
I didn't mention it in the post as I couldn't confirm

Alas! We met with our first Nye which is the Lami Uuzham (Lam's Hat) and it did look like a hat.

We got our share of blessings and photos before we moved on to sight the Ngaa gi Paar (Fish marks) and Lam's cooking pot. My guides used a small stone to hit repeatedly on the pot and said that it makes the same sound as one hears when you hit on an aluminum pot. Believe it or not, I found the sound quite similar. Some good amount of time was spent there wondering upon the Fish Marks and couple of photos too.

Then we walked a few meters from the Fish Marks and saw what Lam Drukpa Kuenley is famous for-The marks of his Genital. To be honest, the marks were quite huge to take in.

After the unbelievable mark, we walked further to find Lami Aring (field). My guides told me that long ago people used come here to do paddy plantation. However I was wondering how much of paddy can this tiny hole hold- it is something beyond and to do with supernatural power to be considered a field.

After the tiny field we tried to visit the drupchhu (holy water) but it was too risky and we assumed it has been submerged in the swollen Punatsangchu river. One of my guides also claimed that it is only visible and accessible during the dry seasons. 
So we heartily resumed our hike which now neared Khuruthang town. We reached the town with no time and did some quick snacking before we returned home. 

As we look back with contentment from Khuruthang 

Now as I lay on my comfy couch at home and flip through the photos I thought it was a fulfilling hike with my dear guides walking on the trails of the world famous Divine Madman. The hike has woken up my long sleeping passion of hiking in the wilderness and also following the trails to the breathtaking and sacred parts of our blessed country.
The Namthar book that my students brought along.

As I end this quick journal, I'm anxiously planning my next hike to ...

Hike Start Time: 2.20 PM
End Time: 4.35 PM
Total Hike Distance: 6.2 KM as per Health App 

*Disclaimer: There can be inaccurate mentions of information in the post as my post is purely a personal anecdote based on information from my guides and from other oral sources. Please try to verify with the books on the Divine Madman if you look forward to accurate/researched information. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Explorers and Posers of the Divine Madman's Valley

Lobesa is truly a blessed valley and it is the heart of the Divine Madman's blessed places- almost everything here is blessed by Lam Drukpa Kuenley. I'm also sure that one will not see as many 'Phalluses' as you can see here.

Apart from all these divinity, Lobesa is one of the most beautiful rice bowls of Bhutan. The paddy fields offer cascading treats to the onlookers. There is more than meets the eye when you begin to take some time to walk those endless terraced fields. I'm lucky that I live close to the fields and the fields offer our family the perfect evening walks-my kids love it too. 
Birds, reptiles, butterflies, prayerflags, stupas, insects, varied grasses, crops, boulders, a  brook (though its highly polluted), a fish farm, domestic animals, trees, soothing breeze, even a "drup-chu' (holy water) and of course photographs are few of the many addictive adventures that the blessed land offers to the Explorers and Posers!

* Photos from toady's (June 1, 2017) hour long walk.