Haa, Pema Gatshel, Pangbang, Samtse, Nganglam and Gasa were the list that still vibrates over my hippocampus of the brain. Having made to Haa a week earlier, I got to hitchhike this time to Gasa for the shorter duration.
Freaked by the ice along Dochula-Lamperi road and the constant beat of the car’s cushion along spinal cord from inconsistent Punakha-Gasa highway, the final destination Land of Trashi Thongmon, GASA was a treat. The transition of scenes from ice to snow was sane.
Like other fortresses in Bhutan, Gasa Trashi Thongmon Dzong has its linkage and history that brings in the father of founding Bhutan the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel into picture. The Dzong was named after the region’s protecting deity Trashi Thongmon. Yes I read and confirmed myself that the fortress is unique with a circular shape and there are three watch towers placed at different positions. All the lhakhangs inside Dzong were inaccessible as the renovation was going on. My sheer intention to scan the skeleton of the sheep that followed Zhabdrung during his journey from Ralung to Bhutan.and the saddles was fulfilled. Duesum Sangay was the Nangten of the Dzong I have seen this time.
Served as a defending barrack in 17th century from Tibetans from the North and as a sub-district of Punakha Dzongkhag until 1992, Gasa has itself gathered the pasture of decent development over the decades. Explored not much than a slow walk around the Hamlet like a town, the best I have seen was the paved footpath that connects places within the town. There is no need of Taxi in Gasa, all the government and corporate offices are at kid crawling distance.
Need not worry of financial transactions, except for BNB and DPNB, Bank of Bhutan, Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan, and Bhutan Development Bank sign boards and their services prevail. School, hospital, Bhutan Power Corporation, Forest Range office and the Army camp were also congregated spaciously within the town.
The better examples I gathered from Gasa was a waste segregation effort, and the good housing for the employees of Bhutan Power Corporation. The funny few words I read the cold early morning were the sign boards of the two shops, the “Ha Ha Restaurant” and “Tummy Full Restaurant”.
Koka breakfast at the Ha Ha Restaurant has introduced me to the Zheypoen of Gasa. It was an honor to have listened him sings few Zheys of Goen and Wang. The stories and wisdom he shared was blessings of knowledge. From below phrase I got to know that the original name of Gasa Dzong was Gangtseen Ku Nga Cheodzong
He sang “Dzongchen Zhengchi Dzongchen Zheng
Jangchub Yuel Lu Dzongchen Zheng
Dzongchen Di Ge Tshen
Gangtseen Ku Nga Cheodzong Zer
Nor Ygaana Niku Bue Phe
Zema Niku Bueday Bee
Paay Druba Sa Manay
Paay Druba Chayla Chag Tselo”
I learnt Zheys in Bhutan was originated from Goen and also Wangzhey is a replica of Goenzhey. For lingual clarity please watch him in the videos. If you are in town look for Zheypoen Tashi Namgay. I am told he is living legend there who is the book of stories and zheys.
Two things didn’t please me to the least than it would affect me. First the number of bars in the town against the inhabitants is antithetical. Every house that has sign board of restaurant has BARS followed. Is it the height of the location a requisite for the bar license? Other is an archery range pitched right inside football ground within few meters away from the road.
Next was Seolchu, the local mineral water. The first glance anyone would glare is the love for bottle than the cleaned content of water inside. The rate within Gasa differs; few sell at 25 and majority at 35. However, if one wishes to take away from Gasa the rate stands at Nu. 40 per bottle.
Washed away completely in 2008, the Gasa Hot-spring is now restored to its popular grandeur today. It’s a season now and the congregation of all aged people from all over the country at the site was huge. Guest houses fully occupied. Few tents pitched along. While I was totally immersed into the softness of the hot-spring I heard a cranky voice of nubile little guy trying his best to get attention of another young beautiful girl. There is reason that the management has put up signage that reads “More Sex Partners increase risk of getting HIV/AIDS. Use condom.” So take condoms.
Since we were not prepared with logistic this visit, we just spent a night and half day. Getting meals wasn’t easy at the camp site with only a makeshift M/s Deki general Shop & Bar helping us feed. An in-house restaurant at the camp will be a good seasonal business for people from Gasa. Well if you are going for longer duration, I am sharing the obvious information you would know. There are two types of guest houses. Where one has two spacious rooms, kitchen attached at Nu: 500 with mattress and two pillows provided along and other at Nu 200 just for a room only.
The Tsachu has four ponds temperature ranging from 36 to 43 degree Celsius with another special PAY & USE pond. The pay and use pond is used seldom for its moderate temperature than other ponds. The charge is Nu: 250 per hour and it could accommodate six people with an ease. The Tsachu also has a separate resting place for differently abled person. You may contact for booking: Manager-+975-16288150/17360152
Gasa town is a town that does not employ mechanical workers. The road less traveled has a less wheels mending machine. The only auto workshop in Gasa is located at a distance of 15KMs from Tsachu towards Damji and from Damji its 4KMs towards Gasa.
You may watch the videos attached along and the photos. I would say planning a week or long time for Gasa would not disappoint. There are so many things you can learn, do and see.