Sunday, September 26, 2010

A quick pit stop. Rinchending Goenpa.

Sunshine! I woke up to the sight of the bright shining sun! After days of being in dreary India, it was nice to finally see some blue sky.

No breakfast for me as I thoroughly stuffed my face at dinner last night and I've done nothing since then but sleep.


I was the first down to the lobby and Tenzing was already there.....looking very dashing in a light gray gho.  Before I knew it, my bags had been whisked somewhere....hopefully, someone took them to the car.  I waited in the lounge for the rest of the gang.

Bye, bye Puentsholing!  Thimphu, here we come!  But before we truly get started on our all day roadtrip, we take time out for a brief visit to a nearby monastery.


A short distance out of town, the driver pulled off the main road and on to a long driveway at the end of which was a small parking lot.  We were about pay a visit to a small monestary called Rinchending Goenpa.  To be honest, I don't really what the difference is between a dzong and a goenpa and I had no idea what this sign was telling me to not do.  Not free or maybe not feed the animals?? 

The monastery was not visible from the parking lot.  In fact, I couldn't make out anything or any building that looked remotely like a monastery.  There was a lot of greenery around us and it was a nice walk through a tended garden.  Then we saw the monks, scurrying about with dishes in hand.  Breakfast maybe?

As we rounded a corner and I looked up to the top of a small hill, I saw the outline of a building that I guessed was the monaster

















Yep, it was the monastery. At the bottom of the steps leading up to the chanting hall, there was a group of small chortens. From there, we also had a bird's eye view of Puentsholing. It was looking like the sunny day that I awoke to was turning cloudy. Though the view was a bit hazy, I could still make out the Torsa River which separates Bhutan from West Bengal, India.....Jaigaon is somewhere on the other side.
    
The front gate to the monastery was locked or at least it looked to be locked.  While we were gazing at the view of Puentsholing below, Tenzing went off in search of monk with the key.


By the time we were done checking out the view and the chortens, the doors to the chanting were open.  We went in and basically it was just a single room with an altar and the usual trappings of a Bhuddist temple.  After about 10 minutes, I was done looking around and headed back outside to wander the grounds.


It wasn't long before everyone else emerged from the monastery and slowly, we all meandered back to the van.

The roadtrip begins!