Photographer's Note

Trashi Thongmoen dzong, the stronghold of Gasa province, beckons in the distance. Located in the northwestern part of the country Gasa faced an onslaught of Tibetan invaders during the 17th and 18th centuries. The dzong was erected in 1646 after the first Shabdrung (King of Bhutan) had defeated the invaders and it proved useful in repelling further waves of attackers. Today the dzong houses the provincial administration and monk body, just like in the other Bhutanese provinces.

Gasa village is still somewhat off the beaten track. To get here drive north from Punakha via Tashitang to Damji village, where the road ends. From here a pathway follows the slopes up and down for a bumpy walk some 18 kilometers north. The path sees heavy traffic of horse caravans supplying the township. It is not a particularily difficult trek, but the constant uphill and downhill profile and the dreary condition of the pathway requires some patience to negotiate. The path is especially miserable during rainy weather when it turns to a river of mud and stones.

Gasa lies at an altitude of around 3000 meters and the famous 23-day Snowman Trek passes through here. To get to the next town of Lingzhi you will need to cross mountain passes at 4500 meters. Apart from the magnificent dzong Gasa has few attractions. There are some hot springs located in the valley below, and the trek here has earned a reputation for being heavily leech infested.

The photo is taken from a viewpoint at 2510 meters some 1-2 hours walk from Gasa. The colours have been corrected as the original turned out quite grey/green.

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Additional Photos by Johan Rehn (grantcorp) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 13 N: 44] (123)
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