Strolling around the little Wangdi village
Legends relate that Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan as a nation-state in 17th century, met a small boy named Wangdi (वांग्डी) playing in the sand on the banks of the Punak river and was moved to name his new dzong ‘Wangdi‘. While the name of the town was later changed to Wangdue Phodrang (Wangdi’s place), local people still refer to the town as Wangdi.
After touring the Wangdue monastery, we frolicked around the little town until it was time for the bus. Remember that it is very important to book bus tickets in advance since they get full pretty fast, especially on weekends. There are few (sometimes just 2 or 3) services from Wangdue to Thimphu and the next option, i.e. shared taxi, is expensive.
Radak Natshang is a 17th century temple near the bazaar. This temple is dedicated to an ancient warrior king and there is a large collection of helmets, arrows and shields in the anteroom. The caretaker family lives on the lower floor while the temple is housed on the upper floor.
We had lunch at a dark shack adjacent to the bus stand. It was a large house probably consisting of several families. There are couple of such simple eating places around the bazaar and the options are limited. We had simple Nepali style rice and lentils (daal bhaat) with a generous serving of lime pickle.
All Bhutanese people carry a National Identity card with them. Our travel permits were checked again and the bus was let to pass on its way to Thimphu. This was the end of our little but fun filled excursion: Thimphu – Punakha – Wangdue – Thimphu. We visited the temple of Divine Madman, the grand Punakha monastery, got blessings from Bhutan’s highest Buddhist monk and saw the scenic Wangdue monastery among many other things.