Senge Dzong (1): The Voyage Out

After the Chigme Phakmé Nyingtik drupchen in Bir last September, Chökling Rinpoche and his wife, OT Rinpoche and his wife, their kids (I think all of them), his brother Khyentse Yeshe, plus an assortment of monks and six westerners all set out for Bhutan. The westerners included Philip and Emilie H, and Emilie has very generously allowed me to post a few of her photos for your delight and delectation (thank you once again, dear Emilie).

I think I should point out immediately that this wasn’t an ordinary trek. It certain wasn’t an easy one. Senge Dzong is extremely remote and even the Bhutanese take three days to walk there up a narrow, treacherous path. And for Injis, altitude sickness is a constant companion. But no deterrent for hard-line Guru Rinpoche fans (like OT Rinpoche), for whom it’s a ‘must see’ pilgrimage spot, and particularly special for devotees of Yeshe Tsogyal who did all kinds of mind-boggling things there.

This particular trek wasn’t made any easier by the earthquake that struck Sikkim in the middle of September. Many of the roads and tracks in Bhutan were blocked and as the weather had been particularly wet, there was a great deal of mud to wade through. It ended up taking Chokling Rinpoche, OT Rinpoche and their party five days to get there, with no hotels or guest houses or even tea shops on the way. Everyone slept in tents and all the food for the journey (plus all the drupchen substances) had to be carried by the monks and cooked en route.

Once they arrived at Senge Dzong there was basically nothing there except a shrine room and a couple of outhouses. The drupchen etc. took ten or twelve days, and then they had another five-day trek back to civilization. Well, civilization of a sort…

I confess, I can’t imagine taking on such a challenge, but our intrepid friends tell me it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

With luck Emilie will post some comments once this piece and its sisters are online, and maybe Philip will too… let’s see.

Paro, on the voyage out to Senge Dzong

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