Wangduephordang is the last major western town. The town is no more than an enlarged village with a few well-provided shops. Perched on a spur, over looking the junction of the two rivers below, Wangduephordang Dzong is the town’s most famous landmark. In the 17th century, Wangduephordang played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese regions.

gaselo, wangduephodrang, bhutan
Tending to the fields

About 15 minutes before crossing the Pele la pass on the east west highway is a junction which leads into the Phobjikha valley. A beautiful signboard at the junction welcomes you, proclaiming Phobjikha as the valley of the Black Necked Cranes. Overlooking the marshy valley is the Gangtey Gompa, an old monastery dating back to the 17th century. The Gompa, resembling a small Dzong is an important institution in the Ningma tradition of Buddhism.

black-necked crane, phobjikha, bhutan
Black-necked Crane

The small stream that meanders through the valley floor is a rich habitat for trout and other incest. These are what the Black Necked Cranes forage on, when they come here to escape the harshness of Siberia.

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