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GALLERY: landscapes

Ugen guru

Mixed conifer forest behind Ugen Guru Monastary, Paro

The location of the country in between two biogeographical realms and the dramatic rise in elevation of the Himalayas and the rugged topography has blessed Bhutan with very rich biological diversity. The policies of the Royal Government which place emphasis on sustainable development and protection of the environment has ensured that much of the country's natural environment still remains in near pristine condition.

About 70% of Bhutan's surface area is still covered by forests. The forest types range from the subtropical broadleaf forests in the southern foothills to the temperate forests, and coniferous forests at the "mid" altitudes to scrub forests and alpine pastures in the higher himalayas. The picture here represents a mixed conifer forest of larch, spruce and blue pine found around 3000 meters altitude. The golden trees in this picture is larch (the only decidious conifer) which turns a golden colour in the fall before shedding its needles.

Nikon N60, Nikorr AF 70-300 ED 4-5.6D

Village in Ugen Guru, Paro

Most of Bhutan is rural with about 80% of the people engaged in subsistence farming. This scene is in the same location as the above picture. This is what you see from the right side of the monastary. This picture shows some houses which are the traditional summer homes. Many households will maintain property in two locations at different altitdes for seasonal migration. This practice however seems to be slowly disappearing as the country's economy and infrastucture changes.

The houses are traditionally built of rammed earth and wood. The roofs are shingle held down by stones. Traditional buildings do not use nails in their construction, even for massive dzong (fortresses) and monastaries.

Nikon N60, Nikorr AF 70-300 ED 4-5.6D

Village in Ugen Guru

Tshophu lake

Tshophu: high altitude lake in JDNP

This is a high altitude lake near Jhomolhari and Jichu Drakey Mountains (in the background). The lake is probably close to 4500m high, and the two mountains above 7000m. I was up at the lakes one September during the Thimphu Tshechu holidays. You can trek there in 3 days (2 if you rush) from Paro and return there, or even extend it on to Lingzhi, Laya, Gasa and Punakha. If you are feeling really adventurous you can continue on and complete the month long Snowman trek.

When I was up there, I was there with a friend just after the sun was up. I had been taking pictures of the sun hitting on Jhomolhari from base camp. It takes about an hour to hike there from the Jhomolhari base camp (4000m). It was really peaceful and calm with the warm sun and quiet. We saw a herd of blue sheep on the other side of the lake.

Nikon N60, Nikorr AF 28-70 3.5-5.6D

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