There is something overwhelming about the mountains. Maybe it’s their tall and majestic posture which makes us feel small .or the thrill that we get with the thought of climbing it. Whatever it is Mountains are calling and I must Go
This trek is for mountain lovers.
“Bjop Gey Sheru, Dagalai Phu Methong”.
A Bhutanese oral saying, even the Nomads who are raised in Dagala Pasture Land cannot reach the mountains till their last breath. The reason is that myriads of path lead to these valley of Mountains and if you lose the path you will be lost in the maze.
Dagala One Thousand Lakes Trek is a 5 day trek with the most beautiful views of the world highest mountain including Mount Everest , Mount Kanchenjunga and other Eastern Himalayas. The trek route was used by Daga Penlops in the olden time to visit Punakha which was then the capital of Bhutan. However we can do this trek in 4 days as well.
Most of the people claim that this trek is an easy Trek, but ironically it is one of a high Altitude Trek and requires a lot of stamina. The campsite ranges from 3200 meters to 4200 meter. As you move through this trek you have to cross many Passes above 4000 meters. However the view of crystal clear lakes (Believed to be the Procession of Aum Jumo) and Eastern Himalayas is simply of another world. The trail also takes you through several Bhutanese villages, so you can get a good idea of traditional Bhutanese life style. You will also be witnessing semi nomadic lifestyle.
The Trek starts from the Most beautiful village known as Genekha ( 2750 meters) .
We just need to follow the foot step of Daga Penlop and his retinue through the forest of Blue Pine and Conifer forest till we reach the sub alpine Zone call Gur at an altitude of 3200m, you can choose to camp here if you are not so much of an altitude person or proceed further up to a place call Watasachen (4150m) crossing a pass known as Pagalaptsha 4250m from where we can get the beautiful views of Kanchenjunga, Mount Lhotshe, Jumolhari with Jichu Drakey and Tsheringmeigang crossing the 4 mountains and four valleys of Dagala ( Gang Zhi Shong Zhi).
The forest below the Toursit camp Gur is also very famous for the most Expensive Mushroom known as Masutake in Bhutan.
But you can also choose to camp at Watasachen. Once at the Camp at Watasachen, you can explore the village and lifestyle of Nomads of Dagala. Though they live above 4000 meters, they stay so clean, perhaps the cleanest Nomads in Bhutan. Thanks goes the support from UNDP for helping the Nomads with clean toilets,metal roof, solar panel and Gas Stove for cooking.
From the village of Nomads,if you hike another 20 to 30 minutes just to find ourselves above the Dancing clouds with stunning view of Nychen Dongkola ,Kanchenjunga and the Phodrang/Palace of Aum Jumo of Dagala
The next can be dedicated in exploring the Lakes of Aum Jumo like, Yue – Tsho, Tsha-tsho, Thro Tsho, Bay Tsho, Dagay tsho, Bjagay tsho, Jumo Latsho, Ser tsho, which is called as the procession of Aum Jumo. You can also witness he meditation cave of Tshampas/The Monks in the small island of Bjaytsho Lake with Aum Jumo ridge overlooking.
You can also witnessed the ruins of Daga Penlop Auchu Tshering’s at Labamata ( known as Dophu Tshawa in between two small streams.
After checking on the ruins and beautiful lakes we crossed Laba Gu at 4450 meters
You can have Lunch at Taju la at 4350 meters. In this place during the time of Penlop Auchu Tshering married a Girl who indeed was a manifestation of Aum Jumo. Two of them used to love watching the horse race . So at Taju la, they use to make their subject compete for horse race. Ta- Horse Ju- Race and La- pass; this is how the name came about.
From here we will have a magnificent view of Mount Kanchenjunga and Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tsheringmeigang.
The camp will be just below the Taju la pass from where we can get the magnificent views of Jumolhari and the beauty of the Mountain is further enhanced during sun set view
So next day, afternoon having a good breakfast, we ascended to another .pass known as Labagay, which is the highest point on this Trek
From this pass if you climb another 100 meters up then you will be able to see the Mount Everest, Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Lhotshe and the Last Himalayas in Bhutan including Gangkhar Punsum at the far end.
Here we can really coexist with the sky, Mountains, Lakes and rivers. One will always feel that we are on top of the world.
After crossing the Labagay pass, we slowly descend down on the stony path that had been used by Daga Penlops while going to Punakha. This is the historic route passing by the lake known as Dungkhar Tsho ,the last lake on the Trek.
We also come across a very beautiful Nomad pasture known as Laba Chung with the Yaks grazing.
If you happen to come in spring, this place looks like Botanical Garden. The walk through the shrubs of Rhododendrons Anogosium will lead you to the bridge and after crossing the bridge, we will ascend slowly towards Pangka Camp 4000 meters. The walk is so lovely the people forget to walk at their own pace as they falls in love with flowers, once one of my friend told me, we have to be like Flowers, they never try to compare their beauty with one another.
Pangka is one of the most beautiful camp in this Dagala Trek with good View of the mountain starting from Sikkim to the Last Himalayas.
The walk from Pangka camp gradually ascends to the nameless pass with the Best views of the Himalayas. Then descends down to a place known as Zorina
So from there we will be ascending to the Chari la Pass ( Rain Coat Pass 4200 meters) and if lucky will be able to see the Blue Poppies and Yellow Poppies on the way up.
In olden time It is said that the strongest Solider of Daga Penlop had to carry the stone from Zorina to the mini pass of Chari la ( Rain coat Pass) while ascending up and then have to bring it down while going back to Dagana to prove their worth
Once when you are on the pass, your will be greeted by the Labtsha
The most Beautiful Pass.Chari la is another beautiful pass, from where you will be able to see the whole mountains of the world
The walk gradually descends towards another Nomadic place known as Kherkewa.
And from there we will slowly ascend and descend to Gechula 3850 meters. It is the diversion from here, that leads to Chamgang, Gaselo, Talakha, Nga Phu and Tshochekha village.
For me I always follos the trial of Daga Penlop and ascends up
On the way, we will be able to see another Ruined Inn of Daga Penlop
After reaching on top, you will be able to view Thimphu city protected by 24 Temples and Monasteries
That point is the Palace of Tshangkhap Jeley, the Guardian Deity of Talakha Monasteries
Once on top of Jeley Zey, you will not want to descend down. The sunrise and sunset will be the most beautiful from this point.
Only the meditators and Hermits can meditate in this area peacefully without any disturbance
Slowly we will descend down to Pangserbu to say Good bye to Mount Kanchenjunga, who had been guiding your direction like a Guiding star since from the starting day of the Trek.
The walk down hill is more enjoyable, as we will walk in the forest of Dead Trees and the Conifer Forest and soon you will by pass a logging farm road and then enter into a forest of pine trees.n
Then slowly you will be Greeted by the small monks who are getting trained at 3000 meters under the strick Guidance of their respectable Teachers.
After making a visit to the Talakha Monastery, and thanking the Guidance Deity ( Tshangkhap Jeley, for taking care of you and your teams and after getting a blessing from the old Kanjure printed from on Daphne plant, we bid an Adui to the Trek of 1000 lakes, sometimes knowns as Walking in the steps of Daga Penlop.