Women’s Voices in A Sacred Land: Women’s Writing Pilgrimage and Buddhist Practice in Bhutan: November 9 - 22nd, 2013
Please join a small group of women for 14 days of exploration and writing in the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. In a remarkable journey that combines spirit, travel, culture and writing – guided by SHT and Wendy Erd, writer and story facilitator, we’ll visit ancient dzongs, follow mountain paths, hear the ringing of temple bells and learn of the tradition and wisdom of great female masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Our journey into the heart of Bhutan will culminate in a four day writing retreat with Bhutanese women writers, held at Ogyen Choling, a remote monastery in central Bhutan. Kunzang Choden, Bhutan’s beloved woman novelist joins Wendy as a fellow writing guide during the retreat. In a cross cultural exchange of ideas, together write and share stories around the bukhari/ wood stove. At Ogyen Choling’s Tara temple, celebrate the wisdom and spiritual potential of women. For those able, walk 4 hours up a valley to spend a full moon night at Thowadra Monastery, a historic place of enlightenment for a great woman seeker. Others are welcome to stay at Ogyen Choling for a day of their own quiet contemplation and writing. On our final day climb to Bhutan’s famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery above Paro and light butter lamps before descending to celebrate a last night in Bhutan. We’ll close our pilgrimage by sharing stories we have made, women’s voices in a sacred land.
THE SNOWMAN TREK: (Spring-June and Fall-October) 2013
The Snowmen Trek is considered the most difficult and beautiful trek of the whole Himalayas. It’s rated one of the toughest and challenging treks by Lonely Planet and by famous trekkers of the world. This is due to several reasons like: Altitude, Distance, Remoteness and the weather.
Many popular trek starts from Paro, But this trek is unusual in that it starts from upper Bumthang valley “ Dhur village”. The trek leads you from the foothills of the Himalayan ranges and above the tree lines to the glaciers, crossing over 5,400m passes and camping at 5,000m plus altitude. The Snowmen Trek takes you over 400miles crossing over 14 passes. The best time to do this trek is from mid June to September. The route goes through the yak herder’s settlements, some of the most remote regions of Bhutan and one can experience the unique culture and traditions of Bhutanese villages high up in the mountains.
Haa summer festival - 5th to 12th July 2013
Haa is the mythical valley of the guardian spirit “Ap chundu” responsible for the wellbeing of Haa and its people. It is situated in the north-west of the country’s border to Tibet, about 3000 mts above the sea level. Haa has also served as a trade route to Tibet during the ancient times. The region is blessed with alpine flowers, pristine lakes and snowcapped mountains. The people are devout and hardworking. Yak herders and farmers cultivate high altitude crops; wheat, potatoes, barley and millet. Their religious life revolves around the appeasement of Buddhist and shamanic (Bon) deities including Ap Chhundu their guardian spirit.
The highlights of this festival will be an opportunity to sample home cooked delicacies favored in the region including local brewed wine, “Ara”. Take part in games; archery and Khur “dart” and experience colorful mask dance and folk dances. Authentic, Handicrafts are on sale as well. Besides that summer in Haa is beautiful with pleasant weather and greenery.