The Phobjikha valley 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.
A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. Phobjikha at an average altitude of 3,000m is a wide and beautiful valley, designated as conservation zone within the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park (formerly known as Black Mountains National Park) is a natural habitat for wildlife, including nesting grounds for endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from Central Asia in the winter (late October and stay till March). The lodges here provide hot water in the bucket and rooms are heated with wood stoves. The valley is known as Phobjikha and falls under Wangdue Dzongkhag.
ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
BLACK NECKED CRANE
The rare and endangered Black-necked cranes is passionately known in Bhutan is subject of many Bhutanese songs and folklore. This bird migrates from Tibet in late autumn and typically stays till the mid march. Every year, over 300 of the estimated 500 cranes that migrate to Bhutan spend their winter months in this valley. Black Necked Crane Information Centre is situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, 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.
GANGTEY GOENPA MONASTERY
The Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 gomchens who take care of the Monastery. It is headed by the ninth Gangtey Trulku. It was founded in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinlay, a grandson and reincarnation of influential treasure finder Pema Lingpa. An incarnate line of Pema Thinlay, representing the body aspects of Pema Lingpa, contrasted with mind and speech emanations. The monastery has been recently built and surrounding the monastery are village homes and hermitages.