Meeting our host at Ogyen Choling
A steep uphill trek, backpacks which had started to hurt our backs, and company of kids who were returning from school, it took us 45 minutes to reach Ogyen Choling heritage house. Adorning a hill and its surrounding neighborhood with its placid and rustic presence.
I wanted my experience to be immersed in culture and history. I came across Ogyen Choling while trying to look for monuments or buildings of historical and cultural value. We had stayed in Ngang Lakhang before commencing on our Tang Valley trek, I wanted to conclude it with Ogyen Choling heritage house.
In the hindsight, this was one of the best decisions that I had added this place in my itinerary without having any booking confirmation. It had taken a fair amount of research, multiple follow-ups on emails and phone calls to get a confirmation.
We were tired, our pants were smeared with dirt, and our raincoats were wet. We were greeted by an old couple, Kunzang Choden and Walter when we reached the heritage house. Kunzang Choden has inherited this house and they have made it their home after spending years in Switzerland. We were pleasantly surprised to find our hosts because we had not paid much attention that the place was run by an elderly couple. They are spending their efforts in restoring the place to its lost grandeur and preserving the artifacts in the museum. They were also caught by surprise when we told them that we had trekked without a guide.
We had survived on nuts and protein bars on our trek and we were dying to have food. We chatted over hot beverages, sharing our story of getting lost in the forest and receiving help from a dog and a nomadic family.
Our rooms in Ogyen Choling guest house were simple, yet cozy. A warm shower felt medicinal for my body aching from 10 hours of continuous walking, trudging and climbing.
Tales for a lifetime
In the evening, we made our way from our rooms to their little abode. Walter showed us his collection of spirits and stories of his excursion in Bhutan.
Our dinner was simple yet rich. We had a wonderful time listening to the stories of Yetis, and people who had witnessed them. Walter nonchalantly remarked on how it was always someone who knew someone who had seen a Yeti. We heard stories of trekkers encountering bears in Tang Valley, and our thoughts wandered to that only time when our dog barked at something which we could not see and that was the only time when the dog had barked. Kunzang remarked that we got lucky because people generally do not venture on this trek alone, as there are stories of people getting lost in the forest. It sent a tingling of fear down my spine. My partner and I looked at each other. We knew that we had narrowly escaped that fate. However, we had chosen the right time (sunlight, less rain, no fog), a satellite map downloaded on our phones, which helped us in understanding the terrain.
We were happy because we had experienced a lot of emotions during our trek, had discovered our stamina and courage in the face of uncertainty, had humbling interactions with other humans, who could help us without even knowing a common language.
Next morning, I spent time in the museum, learning about the culture, manuscripts, and artifacts which were displayed and preserved. I roamed around, soaked in the wide view of the Tang Valley from the hilltop. It was refreshing, peaceful and full of joy.
We had planned a trek to Mebar Tsho lake (the burning lake), after discussing it with them, we thought to hire a cab to take us there directly and then to Jakar.
I was proud that I could weave in such disparate experiences together, could stay with such wonderful people in Ngang Lakhang and in Ogyen Choling heritage house, and listen to their stories, which ranged from caterpillar fungus to yetis.
If you want to book your stay at Ogyen Choling guest house, you can use the website: http://www.oling.bt/contact.html.