of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise
of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard
climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast
space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the
valley’s are tightly enclosed.
A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor
lies the village of Phobjikha. This place is the winter home of black
necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass
winter in milder and lower climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900
m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the
periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two
beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and
Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water).
a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar.
The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the
snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice,
but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area.
The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey.
Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.
Gangtey Goempa Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the
Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side
of the Black Mountain’sGangtey valley, Bhutan and also the biggest
Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large
village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take
care of the Monastery.
Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grand son of Pema Lingpa, the
famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley establish the
monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions
of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa
Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up
good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of
Black Necked Crane Information Centre Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road
of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an
observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting
scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also
offers display information that outline the natural and cultural
history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells
handicrafts produced by the local people.
hh - heritage hotel ; ph -
palace hotel ; bh - boutique hotel ; gh - guest house ; hs - home stay