It is a bowl shaped valley where you will find nature at her loveliest best. The Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan is a glacial valley lying near the Black Mountain Peak bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. And this place is known for the “birds of fortune” that fly here during the winters. Well, birds of fortune are the black-necked cranes that fly at high altitude over the Himalayas in Tibet, their summer breeding grounds to the milder Phobjikha Valley in winter. Each year more than 300 to 500 birds flock at the valley and that tend to attract naturalists and ornithologists from all around the globe to this part of Bhutan.
Punakha to Phobjikha and backWe started the day early as we planned to ride to Phobjikha and return back to Punakha in the evening. Phobjikha is around 80 km from Punakha with roads worse than thimpu to Punakha. After riding for 3 hours, first glimpse of Phobjika valley which was mesmerizing proved the point that "Great roads take you to cities but worst roads take you to heaven". The valley was so beautiful, that we even considered the idea of not going back to Punakha but later on dropped it for practical reasons and returned back to Punakha. Heavy rain made the return journey like a roadies task, mud roads became very slippery. Phobjikha valley was one place for which I can repeat the bhutan trip anytimeDistance covered : 150 km (to and fro)Ride Time : 7 hrsRoad Condition : Roads were worse than thimpu to punakha route (Quality : 1/5). Heavy rain while returning did the work of catalyst.Food : There are very limited number of restaurants in Phobjikha, mainly there is a culture of homestays there. We somehow managed to get noodles and tea for 10 people which costs us 3000 rupees.Places visited : Valley, Gangtey Monastery
It was one of the most beautiful valleys I visited in Bhutan. The beautiful sun kissed moors were like my Famous Five fantasy place. I saw Black necked cranes in wild as we got out of car and went closest we could without scaring them. It was absolutely beautiful experience. We also went to famous Gangtey monastry on way back to Thimpu.
Phobjikha is a bowl-shaped glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Because of the large flock of black-necked cranes that winters here, it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country. In addition to the cranes there are also muntjacs (barking deer), wild boars, sambars, serows, Himalayan black bears, leopards and red foxes in the surrounding hills. The Nakey Chhu drains the marshy valley, eventually flowing into the lower reaches of the Punak Tsang Chhu. Some people refer to this entire region as Gangte (or Gangtey), after the goemba that sits on a ridge above the valley. The valley is snowbound during the height of winter and many of the valley's 4700 residents, including the monks, shift to winter residences in wangdue Phodrang during December and January, just as the cranes move in to take their place. The local residents are known as Gangteps and speak a dialect called Henke
The picturesque and small Khewang Lhakhang (temple) is located in midst of wide spread marshlands of the Phobjikha valley. The temple was built in the 15th century by Trulku Penjor Gyeltshen who was believed to be an incarnation of the great Tibetan nyingmapa master Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjampa. It is said that the Trulku hired sculptors and labourers from Tibet and built the temple in the Tibetan style.