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Himalaya

Day 105: Gantey to Thimpu

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe Gantey valley has turned grey overnight. A fresh coating of snow has picked out the field boundaries and transformed the gently sloping, treeless slopes from straw brown to light silver, making this beautiful corner of Bhutan look like the Yorkshire Dales.

From my window I can see a woman from the house behind, in a blouse and long pink skirt, stepping gingerly across the ice to the public water pipe. She brushes a white cap of snow off the top of the tap and starts to wash. The flying droplets of water, back-lit by the morning sun, splash round her face like particles of gold.

Before we leave, we pay a visit to the monastery, or gompa, at the far end of the ridge above the valley.

Benji explains that Bhutan may be a Buddhist kingdom, but the sects here are different from those in Tibet. The Galupka school, the Yellow Hats, dominate in Tibet and the Drukpa Kagyu school, the Red Hats, in Bhutan. The Je Khenpo, head of the Drukpa school, is the religious authority here. The Dalai Lama has no jurisdiction in Bhutan and has never visited the country.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 105: Gantey to Thimpu
  • Country/sea: Bhutan
  • Place: Gantey
  • Book page no: 244

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