Thursday, October 18, 2012

a dzong, a farmhouse and two handstands

We visited the Punakha dzong, reputably the most beautiful - it was of the ones we saw.. It was the secong dzong to be built in Bhutan and served as the seat of government until Thimpu bacame the capital.
It has a picture postcard setting where two rivers meet (above) and a splendid new cantilever bridge (below) - a gift to the new Queen on her marriage which took place there last year. The site between the rivers has seen it flooded on occasion, and like most of the dzongs it has suffered a fire at some stage. ( A problem of them burning butter lamps, and everything being made of wood and highly decorated maybe)
The colour and decoration on the buildings is splendid, made more special by seeing the monks in their red robes. These steep wooden steps on the entry can apparently be drawn up, in times of danger

Near the entrance
Bees nests and honeycomb hanging on the outside

scenes from the courtyard areas

The main hall (can't take photographs there) was full of brilliant, vibrant decorations - paintings, silk banners and embroideries etc
As we went in and as we came out  a little woodpecker flitted about the trees.

We saw the huge new golden Buddha under construction, very prominent on a hillside near Thimpu
 This is a panorama view from the huge forecourt in front of the statue
 and a smaller view
Here is the national animal - the takin- which is endangered. Rather strange looking it is a cross between a cow and a goat. This is one of 12 in a special reserve.
 Part of a nunnery, complete with lazy well fed dogs...

We visited a tradional farmhouse, the home of six generations.

-  the garden
 - the wood stacked and stored
 - rice sheaves and more wood stored
 - threshing the rice. 'Very hard on the feet' said our 16 year old English speaking guide (daughter of the household)
 - the old style, wood fireplace...
 ... and new style electric hotplates and rice cooker
 - the chillies drying on the roof, and the little window (on the right) to get out there -
but I'm not sure about this gap!
 - storage cupboards like Aussie coolgardie safes
 - the steep steps up to the first floor living area
 - the farm house showing the usual 3 levels - lower level for farm equipment and animals, next level for living, and the top 'attic' level, usually with open sides, for storage of grain, timber or whatever.

... and finally, children are children anywhere.

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