Ogyen Choling Museum

BHU-4782The Ogyen Choling Museum is a must see if you ever get to the Tang Valley, perhaps the most remote of the 4 valleys of Bumthang in Bhutan. Bumthang is a very long drive from Paro and Thimpu over poor roads. We flew to Bumthang from Paro and spent 5 days in the Bumthang valleys finishing with a festival in Jakar. We took a number of days to return west touring dzongs in Trongsa, enjoying the Black-necked Crane Festival in the Phobjikha Valley, visiting a number of sites in Punakha, and making a short stop in Thimphu to visit Dhamey and Sonam on the way back.

Located on a hillside up the Tang Chhu from the “village” of Tang, the Ogyen Choling complex includes a museum, temple, and guesthouse. When we arrived Kunzang Choden had just begun telling a small group the history of the museum and of Bhutan itself. She is a descendant (around the 20th generation!) of the original family and curates this museum, which is part of the Ogyen Choling Foundation. She was educated in the US and was the first Bhutanese woman to write a novel in English.

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Kunzang Choden gave an interesting discussion of how Bhutan has changed in the last 50 years and how it has affected her family. She has preserved many cultural items in a multistory museum which is open to the public. It was the only museum in Bhutan we visited where photography was permitted. It is a shame that Bhutan does not allow visitors to take and share photos of some of the amazing works of art in government museums like the Royal Heritage Museum in Trongsa.

There were rooms dedicated to arms and armor used in the olden days to protect the estate and country. These rooms were crowded being the first a visitor would normally see, so I took a few photos and moved ahead of the others. Kencho was with me much of the time looking at my monitor after I took a photo. My camera was on a tripod so this was easy to do.

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In both Nepal and Bhutan I have found the old ladders carved out of logs fascinating.

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There was a re-creation of the original kitchen.

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In the olden days, and even in many modern homes in Nepal and Bhutan, the family sleeps in the kitchen since it is the warmest room. But nobility got their our room, and presumably got to sleep in the cold. Here is a photo of a re-creation of part of such a room.

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No bedroom would be complete without a nearby toilet. Here are the two units available.

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The museum had a wonderful collection of old masks.

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Ladders and stairs for a many story structure.

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Out in the courtyard, I photographed a young girl sweeping.

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Inside the courtyard was a temple. Several people were walking around it and praying inside.

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All in all we had a very enjoyable and informative visit to the Ogyen Choling Museum.

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As we departed I took a panorama of the Tang Valley from Ogyen Choling.

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Here are a few more photos I took during our visit.