The mesmerising Phobjikha Valley

Bhutan’s beautiful landscape is made of sub-alpine Himalayan Mountains, valleys, meadows, rivers, and sub-tropical plains. Landlocked in the Eastern Himalayas, most of the population of Bhutan is centralized in valleys and lowlands. There are a total of 21 valleys in Bhutan and Phobjikha valley is one of them.

Phobjikha Valley is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. The place is known for its beautiful landscapes and passes. It offers beautiful landscapes ideal for walking and hiking. Also known as Gangteng Valley, Phobjikha Valley is a huge U-shaped glacial valley. Every year, black-necked cranes, an endangered bird species, migrate to Phobjikha Valley in the winters. This has earned the valley the name “Valley of black-necked cranes.”  Every year a 9-day festival is held in Phobjikha Valley to celebrate the arrival of the black-necked cranes to the valley. This festival is celebrated at Gangtey Goenpa and is one of the few festivals where you can witness cham(religious dances) and the hanging of a thondrol (large religious painting).

There are many places to visit and explore at this valley and some of them are the Gangtey Monastery, Kumbhu Lhakhang, Nyelung Drachaling, Khewang Lhakhang, Damcho Lhakhang etc. The Gangtey Monastery is located not very far from the valley and is one of the largest monasteries in Bhutan. Kumbhu Lhakhang is dedicated to a deity of the ancient Bon religion Sipey Gyalpo. This lhakhang is also a meditation center. Khewang lhakhang is the oldest lhakhang in Phobjikha Valley dating back to the 15th century located in the east side of valley. Nyelung Drachaling is a 14th Century Buddhist temple. The temple age-old relics such as thangka painting whose back bears the handprints of Longchenpa printed in his own nose blood, a golden statue made in Longchenpa’s own image, a fossilized horse’s tooth, and an iron skillet made by Pema Lingpa, with his thumbprints in it. Other places you can visit in Phobjikha valley are Jomolhari, Gangtey Nature Trails and Hikes and Black-Necked Crane Information Centre. Phobjikha valley looks like the valley of dreams and you must include this place in your itinerary.

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