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Location: Western Bhutan, south of the Paro Valley
Distance from Chuzom (river confluence): 79 km
Elevation: 2,670 m, 8,758ft
Haa Dzongkhag is a picturesque remote valley and consists of five Geogs. Characterized by rugged and mountainous terrain, it has been difficult and expensive to deliver development services to the Dzongkhag, due to which most communities are isolated from roads and town. To rouse this problem, the Dzongkhag is constrained by short growing seasons and limited arable land, as only about two percent of the land is cultivable.
Because of the dryland areas and natural pastureland, wheat is the main cereal crop cultivated, although a variety of other dryland crops such as barley and buckwheat are also grown. Potatoes constitute the principal cash crop for the Dzongkhag while apples and vegetables are also cultivated. Livestock rearing is also a key economic activity in the Dzongkhag. Because of the cold, most families raise yaks.
The dzongkhag has a good network of mule tracks and suspension bridges. More often than not, it is muddy in summer and cold in winter. The seasons suitable for trekking are spring and autumn.
1. Haa Dzong
Wangchulo Dzong in Haa is one of the newest, built in 1915 to replace a smaller structure. It is a large square structure with battered (inward-sloping) walls.
2. Chhundu Lhakhang
It is one of the many temples dedicated to the protective deity if Haa, Chhundu. It is 5 minutes walk from Gayekha.
Chhundu did not get along with his neighbours. He was banished to Haa by the Zhabdrung after an altercation with Gyenyen, Thimphu’s protector. He also had a quarrel with Jichu Drajye of Paro and the Paro guardian stole all of Haa’s water- and that’s why there is no rice grown in Haa.
3. Wangcha, Haa- Cheli La- Paro Bondey
It is 26 km from Haa to Cheli La. There’s no habitation on the route as the road switches back through a forest of blue pine, fir and oak. At about 3400m the road traverses through alpine country towards the pass. Cheli La is 3,810m. It is then a 35 km drive down to the junction with the Paro road in Bondey.
4. Lhakhang Karpo
Lhakhang Karpo was established in the 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gempo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. He built Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo in the Haa Valley. According to a legend, a black and white pigeon were released to select sites to build the temples.
These two temples stand as the guardian sentinels keeping watch at the south entrance of the valley. The white pigeon landed on the foothills of the three towering mountains worshipped as Rigsum Gonpo and is where the Lhakhang stands today.
The temple was named Karpo (white) as it was built on the site where the white pigeon landed.
5. Lhakhang Nagpo
Located in Dumchoe village, the monastery was established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. It is situated towards the north of Lhakhang Karpo. Legend has it that King Songtsen Gampo released a black and a white pigeon to select sites to build the temples. The black pigeon landed a little north of the white pigeon, indicating the preordained site of the present Lhakhang Nagpo. The temple was named Nagpo (black) as it was built on the site where the black pigeon landed. Built on a lake; an opening in the floor of the temple serves as the channel to the underground lake. Lhakhang Nagpo serves as the seat for the guardian deity Da Do Chen.
The principal relic of the monastery is the Choe-Lung-truel Sum.
6. Tagchu Goemba
Established in the 20th century, this monastery is located in the Lungse Kha village under Haa Dzongkhag by Dali Lama Sangay Jamtsho.
The principal relics of the monastery are Tshepame(Amitayus or the God of countless life), Guru Rinpoche, Dorji Chang (Vajradhara), Chenrizig (Avaloketeshvara), Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Tamdrin (Hayagriva). It also houses religious texts such as Kanjur (translated words of the Buddha) and Tenjur (translated commentaries on the words of the Buddha).