Our last weekend in Bhutan, so we asked Karma Lharzin(one of our teacher colleagues at Tang) to stay with us at Pema Dawa’s Riverside Lodge in Jakar. We wanted to do some shopping, have a hot stone bath and visit some temples.
Well the weekend was fabulous and went far beyond our expectations. Karma phoned her aunt and discovered there was a huge prayer meeting near her mothers family home in a village way up the valley. There were seven hundred monks attending so it was quite a gathering!
So we set out after breakfast on Sunday morning and Karma drove the 20km in her little Suzuki Maruti over a very rough and rocky road. It took almost two hours to reach the house, which was built in the fifteenth century! The family had their own temple, where about one hundred of the monks were staying. It was magnificent. We cannot take pictures inside temples, but the paintings and decorations were very elaborate. It was a privilege to look inside.
The house was ancient, and a highlight of our visit. Karma’s Uncle served us a delicious lunch before we headed to the temple. Wow, it was like stepping back in time!
The prayer gathering was a major event. We were invited to receive a blessing from the head lama. This required us to walk between the rows of monks chanting their prayers. I was certain I would trip and make a complete fool of myself! The lama was so gracious and was interested to hear we were volunteer teachers. It was a remarkable experience. It was an insight into a belief system that I can admire and appreciate regardless of my own diminished religious values. I was impressed!