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What are the main draws of Bhutan's charming Gangtey Lodge?


“Happiness is a place, and it’s called Bhutan”… discover why a luxury holiday to Bhutan should be on everybody’s bucket list! Gangtey Lodge offers true immersion into Bhutan’s Buddhist culture and its pristine environment.

One of the main draws of a stay at the charming Gangtey Lodge is their connection to the local Buddhist monastery and Shedra (monk school) where guests can experience first-hand and take part in several ceremonies and rituals, gaining a fascinating insight into everyday the culture of Bhutan.

Some of these experiences of Buddhism include:

  • The Morning Prayer service. This is very important as the morning is considered by Buddhists to be the time at which the body and mind is the most pure.
  • Accompany monk teacher on his morning rounds and learn more about the monks’ daily lives, as well as ask all of your questions.
  • Evening Prayers, which takes place around dusk and can be combined with a mediation class.
  • Witness the monks debating for a fascinating insight into the traditions of Buddhism.
  • A private experience with a senior monk teacher where one lights butter lamps accompanied by prayers, representing relief from suffering and a guiding light to find enlightenment.
  • Witness the prayer flag ceremony being performed at Gangtey’s Shedra.
  • Wear the traditional Bhutanese dress to the monastery or even to dinner. Men wear the "Gho", a knee-length robe that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as a "Kera" whilst women wear the "Kira", a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a "Tego", with an inner layer known as a "Wonju".

Other experiences that one can take part in during your stay at Gangtey lodge include:

  • Learning the national sport – archery – from some of the very accomplished archers at the lodge.
  • Walk through the Phobjikha Valley, part of the Black Mountain National Park, to see all the flowers, plants and wildlife, though you can cycle if you prefer.
  • Visit to the black-necked crane information and observation centre, where one can see the cranes nesting when they are here over the winter months.
  • Taking a spa in the lodge’s bath house, overlooking the valley.

Why stay at Gangtey Lodge?

This gorgeously charming twelve-bedroom lodge is quaint and homely without compromising on service or luxury; indeed they have over 50 staff to ensure that all guests’ needs are taken care of!

Designed to blend in with the traditional Bhutanese farmhouses that dot the area, the lodge has been built – and is operated – to the highest standards of sustainability. The hotel encourages guests to switch off from their everyday lives and instead connect with the local environment and cultures.

The local area of Gangtey, also known as Phobjikha Valley, is one of the most stunning destinations in Bhutan, typically reached via the Dochula Pass where on a clear day one can enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range. Once here one can take walks in the countryside in the Black Mountains National Park, enjoying the clean air and the fantastic forests on the slopes of the valley.

Why should a holiday to Bhutan be on your bucketlist?

At the core of Bhutan’s culture lies the 13 arts and crafts, known as Zorig Chusum, that are deeply rooted in Buddhism and are an essential part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. These 13 traditional arts and crafts are taught to the young, a practise that has been ongoing for centuries. In the West one would be hard pushed to find teenagers studying calligraphy, sculpting, embroidery and masonry to name just a few, yet here it is way of life and one that at least for the foreseeable future they do not plan on changing.

It is also well-known that Bhutan prefers to base its success on its Gross National Happiness over its Gross Domestic Product, which gives a fascinating insight into how much the country values its people.

The Bhutanese have the utmost respect for all living organisms, whether it be the forests, which cover seventy percent of the country (there is a law that states at least 60% of the county must be forested at any time) or just for each other. In this modern world, this is refreshing, and something which we all should seek to emulate.

 

Images provided courtesy of Gangtey Lodge and copyright to Ken Spence. Video created by Human Eyes.

 

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