The prayer flags were fluttering in the air. The sound of the breeze was ringing through my ears. As I took the turn up in the eastern Himalayan ranges, the curvaceous road was suddenly engulfed in the ascending mist. I felt as if the wind was whispering, announcing the arrival of this compelling, yet hidden valley of Bhutan.

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This valley was a well-kept secret of the country and was off the tourist map till 2002. The pristine valley is the second least populated dzongkhag (District) in the country and popularly known as “Hidden-Land Rice Valley.”

Nestled on the westernmost edge of Bhutan, Haa Valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in the country. The isolated valley lies behind the mountain ridge of Chele La and it borders with the northern boundaries of the Chumbi Valley of Tibet on one side. The verdant, quaint and the remote valley spread across an area of roughly 1706.8 sq. km, will undoubtedly leave you speechless with its splendid beauty and compel you to fall in love with it.  Haa is one of the 20 dzongkhag or districts comprising Bhutan and apparently the smallest one in the country.

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By the time, I entered the valley, darkness had fallen over. It was drizzling. The tiny light of the scattered houses from the distant villages was visible. As I walked on the muddy trails, the earthy fragrance welcomed me to the hundred year old farm house.

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The restored old property left me awestruck as I climbed the wooden stairs to my designated room. The restored farmhouse with rich interiors, wooden furniture, painting, and the intricate details on the walls was overwhelming.

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Moreover,experiencing the warm hospitality of the Bhutanese family floored me completely. And I could not wait till dawn to explore this gorgeous hidden valley of Bhutan.

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As I peeped out of that small wooden window, early in the morning, my eyes were blessed seeing the sun-kissed valley beyond the horizon. I walked through the narrow village trail, following the sound of the prayer wheel, which was ringing constantly in my ears since last night.

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The sound became louder as I inched forward. With the chirping sound of the birds, twittering in the trees, the rustling leaves on my path, I landed on the bank of a gushing water stream. The tryst with nature in the mysterious terrain was blissful.

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Seeing the villagers starting their day, the rising smoke from the backdrop of traditional kitchen and the rising sun above the alpine forest was one of those moments which I will treasure forever. Life takes its own time to react here.

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As you walk through the valley, it feels as if nature is unfolding its beauty layer after layer. The green meadows with yellow flowers surely remind you of the countryside of the Alps in Switzerland.

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Apart from the picturesque locations, there are a few temples and monasteries, which are a must visit. Lhakhang Karpo (White ) and Lhakhang Nagpo ( Black ) temples stand out while the hundred year old monastery of Tagchu Goemba adds to the scenic beauty of the valley.

As I was strolling around, the symmetrical and gorgeous architectures of those scattered houses drew my attention instantly.Those small traditional houses in the lush green meadows looked like a painting.

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I was impressed by the uniformity of the architectural style in Bhutan.From the capital city to the remote corner, you will come across the same pattern, colour and shape, which gives you the perfect example of maintaining the cultural legacy throughout the country.

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The intricate details and the exquisite Bhutanese painting on the wall make it unique in the world. The architectural style of Bhutan is one of the most celebrated cultural identities of this Himalayan kingdom.

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I was more than happy when I visited an old (more than 100 years old) traditional house in Haa Valley. The house belonged to our guide Karma’s Grandparents, where they are still living a traditional lifestyle.

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Climbing up the steep wooden ladder to reach the first floor was like a task. The door opens up to a large kitchen and hall area which is basically used for both purposes. The aluminium utensils, the traditional stove with chimney, those rugged walls made me realize that time had frozen in this part of the region. The rawness of the lifestyle of people is obvious in every corner of this valley.

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The livelihood of the people of the Haa valley mainly depends on the agriculture. In its fertile valleys, people grow mostly high altitude crops like wheat, potatoes, barley and millet. The yak is considered a significant contributor to the economy of this region.

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A dried variety of Yak Cheese called the “Habi Ruto” is a speciality of this region. Most of the people of this region raise domestic animals such as yak, cattle, chicken, pigs and horses.

People of Haa valley are commonly known as “Haap”. The smiling faces and the warm personalities of the people make this part of Bhutan a desired land.

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A set of unique cultural practices of this valley sets it apart from the rest of Bhutan.

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I got to know that “Haap”, unlike the rest of the world, celebrate New Year much earlier. They celebrate New Year on the 29th day of the 10th Month of the Bhutanese calendar (early November). The “Haap” New Year is known as “Lomba”, that means “To carry the year”. Apart from that, they also celebrate the famous summer festivals where you will get a glimpse of their nomadic lifestyle and culture .

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As I was getting ready to leave this amazing quiet corner, I fell in love with its rawness. The stillness in the air and happiness in the faces of the people floored me completely. That unpretentious nature of the people was so overwhelming that it left me wondering about other parts of the world, where I find most of them are so mechanical. I don’t wonder anymore, why Bhutan is called the Kingdom of Happiness.

I was invited to Bhutan on a press trip by Bhutan Bookings .

Remote Travel Tip: While exploring the adventures of Haa Valley there are times when you simply have to work, now you can remotely access your online private workstation from anywhere on any device with innovative cloud solutions by Apps4Rent.com and get complete access to office suite by visiting O365CloudExperts.com.


 

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41 Comments

  1. Moon

    Wonderful post! Bhutan is such a picturesque land. Haa valley was not in our itinerary last time. However, I am not going to miss it next time. And I’ll definitely visit the country again. ?☺️

    Reply
  2. png

    hello. have been searching for a photo of tagchu goemba. can you pl share one if you have

    Reply
  3. Ankit chhipa

    Hi All

    We run Bhutan’s first online travel website for direct hotel bookings called http://www.bhutanbookings.com

    It is also integrated with Tripadvisor which means you can run a search on Tripadvisor for Bhutan Hotels and book directly with a credit card.

    Please write back if you need any help with this!

    Reply
  4. Mayur

    Well written !!
    Keep going ..

    Reply
  5. Payal

    Hello Parnashree.. I am planning to go to Bhutan.. Could you help me with the iternary

    Reply
  6. Rai

    I would like to thanks, author of this post for sharing such a most attractive images and information about Bhutan. My girlfriend and I had a fantastic seven days tour to Bhutan. Bhutan Mahayana Tours was a wonderful travel agency; guide us every time with all new spot we had about local geography and history. I would like to plan again to visit this wonderfull place.

    Reply
  7. Vyjay

    Bhutan is indeed a land where the currency is happiness. The natural environs, the culture of the people and the peace that envelops the place makes it the happiness capital of the world.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Bhutan is a place where i don’t mind settling for life.

      Reply
  8. Halina

    I woսld like to thank the website author. Ꮐood article.
    Tɦanks for sharing.
    Halina recently posted…HalinaMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Bharat Patel

    After reading the post I am convinced I must go there. It is the sort of place I long to be in. Thanks for the great descriptions and the tips.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Sir. This country is photographer’s delight 🙂

      Reply
  10. Debra Schroeder

    Gorgeous photos. You’ve really captured the beauty of Haa Valley. Will have to add this to my bucket list.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Debra. Bhutan is a must visit country and Haa valley should be in your itinerary for sure.

      Reply
  11. Emily Luxton

    Great post! Love those opening few lines, they really set the scene 🙂 Haa Valley looks gorgeous, and I love an off the beaten track place like this!

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Emily. You will love Haa Valley if you like offbeat places . Its a remote corner of Bhutan.

      Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Absolutely loved the experience . Would love go back to the valley again.

      Reply
  12. Sheena

    The Bhutan countryside looks so peaceful & picturesque. Bhutan has been on my list for a long time, I’m definitely going to remember the Haa Valley when I eventually start planning a trip there! 🙂

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Bhutan is an amazing country. Do visit Haa Valley whenever you are in Bhutan. The culture, people and the countryside makes this country a Happy Country.

      Reply
  13. Rijul Gill

    This wonderful post inspires me to take a trip to Bhutan very soon . It’s so wonderfully written and presented . The pictures are too good . Keep up the good work .
    Cheers !

    Reply
  14. Laura

    Bhutan is definitely in our list! These pictures are just amazing!

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Laura. A must visit country undoubtedly

      Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Monica. You will be left speechless once you visit this amazing country. The richness of its cultural heritage , scenic surrounding and the humble people makes it a Happy country. A must visit place.

      Reply
  15. Paige Conner Totaro

    Your photos really capture the serenity and color of Bhutan. Nice work.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Paige. Bhutan is simply stunning in real sense.

      Reply
  16. Dipanshu Goyal

    Haa Valley is beautiful and really a well kept secret of Bhutan.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thank you Dipanshu. I can’t wait to go back again 🙂

      Reply
  17. Annemarie

    I had no idea Bhutan had so many fir trees and looked like this at all! The first image made me think of Switzerland. It is definitely beautiful and amazing how kind and welcoming the locals were. Now on my travel wish list. 🙂

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Thanks Anne. The landscape looks like the countryside of Switzerland. Its amazing country and you should visit it soon 🙂

      Reply
  18. Matt

    We have just started to research Bhutan and this post is helpful and makes us quite excited to visit.

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Hey Matt, Thank you . I can help you out in case if you want to plan your itinerary for Bhutan.

      Reply
  19. Swati

    Haa Valley is truly blessed

    Reply
    • Parnashree Devi

      Absolutely. I can’t wait to visit again 🙂

      Reply

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