Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Trip to Lingshi – A Torture (Just an expression for recreation)

It was in May 2013 when I and Dawa decided to go to Lingshi on an official tour to gather data on rural-urban migration. We knew it was going to be a difficult trip for us as we were going to climb as high as 4000 plus meters above the sea level. However, we were excited as we were going to Lingshi for the first time.
Snow Caps in Bhutan

We started our journey as early as 5 in the morning to avoid ourselves in a cave or a dense forest. On our first day, we landed in Barshong in the late afternoon where there was small village comprising of about seven households and a primary school just with single teacher. We were told that we will land up sleeping under the caver if continue from there and the teacher was kind enough to rent her space for us for a night hold. Later in the evening we were also treated with delicious red rice with hot chillies for which we heartily thank the teacher as it is very difficult to reach ration and other necessary items to a place that requires walking for hours.

Jomolhari Mountain
We contacted the local leader of Lingshi gewog (sub-district) to help us reach Lingshi as we did not have a guide and interestingly, we were first timer to the place. Gup, the local administrator was kind enough to arrange our second night stay in his no-jangsa (a place where headers stay) as there was no one residing along the way until we reach proper Lingshi. As advised by the Gup, we started early from Barshong and luckily there was only one route. It was almost dark when we were received by the Gup at his no-jangsa. We were completely exhausted and signs of altitude sickness have already prompted in us as air was becoming thinner with altitude. We decided to take rest for day and Gup was kind enough to take us to Cordycep collection site where we had a chance to see how cordyceps were collected and experience the nature of nomadic life.

Overview of Lingshi Village

On the fourth day, we reached Lingshi after walking for about 9 hours. Finally, we made it to Lingshi which had just around 15 households with a primary school and a BHU. The Jomolahari Mountain was right in front fully covered with snow and we were literally shivering despite our efforts to keep ourselves warm through bukhari (metallic box used for heating using firewoods). We rushed to our works as we were felling completely isolated. Cellular network has reached but our mobiles were out of battery and I don’t know electricity will give hopes for Lingshi people.

Ruins of Lingshi Dzong destroyed by Earthquake

Both of us were completely exhausted as we were literally eating just noodles and chocolates throughout our trip (daytime). It was difficult for us to carry rice and cooking utensils as we were already loaded with official papers and our cloths. But I won’t ever in my life forget to acknowledge the teacher and the Gup who graciously offered us with delicious dinners. It is going to be a liability for the Gup if we had prolonged our stay as it is extremely difficult to reach ration to Lingshi. It takes exactly three days of continuous walking and it is hard to imagine your faith walking with loads of ration on your back. So, we decided to return as soon as our work was complete.
On the sixth day we decided to return from Paro track via Soe (name of a place) and we did just in one Day. We were back to Thimphu on the sixth day but foots were full of bloody blisters and hardly able to move ourselves.

The trip of adventurous but we suffered more than enjoying the beauty. I am sharing this experience so that anyone planning to visit Lingshi needs extensive preparation before the trip. Ours was ad-hoc and we were just able to breathe while climbing through Jomolhari base.

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