Photos by Lincoln Potter

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LHUNTSE (alt. 1700m)

77 kms and good three hours drive from Mongar is one of the most isolated districts in the country. Deep gorges and dense coniferous forests dominate the landscape. However, in between these gorges lie some of the most fertile rice fields of eastern Bhutan. The region is also famous for its textiles. The valley north of Lhuntse has the ancestral home of the Wangchuk Dynasty.

Lhuntse dzong

In 1451, Ngagi Wangchuk, the youngest son of Ngawang Chhogyal, came from Tibet to Bhutan. Accompanied by his family on this journey, he visited many holy sites, eventually arriving in Kurtoe. At the present day site of Lhuntse Dzong, he meditated and built a Dzongchhung(mini-dzong). It came to be known as Kurtoe Lhuntse Phodrang. For many years the lama resided here, and later went to Timula, and there he established his summer seat.

According to one source, Penlop Minjur Tenpa headed a battle at Kurtoe. After defeating his adversaries, he ordered the construction of Lhuntse Dzong. Another source states Lam Namsay led the battle and after the battle, he contemplated building a Dzong in the area. When looking for a site, he found the Dzongchhung of Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk a suitable place. In 1654 the Dzong was built and named Lhundrub Richhentse Dzong.

Khoma (Famous for Silk Textile)

Enjoy a walk from Khurbazam to Khoma Village (around 2 hours each way over clear flat paths), where some of the most famous and expensive textiles are woven in silk and cotton. Khoma village is famous for distinctive Kishuthara weaving and it is the main income source of the villagers. You will see many traditional back‐strap looms in the in their homes. Kishuthara is a silk on silk weaving technique with intricate hand laced patterns. It is the most expensive textile in Bhutan and highly sought after by collectors. We spend a full day in Khoma to see this traditional form of weaving and learn how the local people make vegetable dyes.