The Heart Shaped Stone- Story to remember while you hike through Phobjikha Nature Trail.
Interesting Stories from the Trail
A pleasurable walk (around 2 hours) that gives a nice feeling for Phobjikha valley. It is the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. From the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from here through beautiful forests and into the open valley.
Surrounded by soft green grass, in front of the Khewa Lhakhang in Phobjikha, lies a stone with a heart-shaped impression. This bare natural formation conveys a love story between Dungshi Chubhi Drungdru, the only son of a rich family of Tshalay Village, and Sangwa Kuenge Yoenten, a beautiful girl from Sangtana in Phobjikha valley.
The story begins the night before Dhungshi Chubhi Drungdru’s planned departure for the Gangtey Tshechu when his parents interrupted his preparation with a strange warning. His parent’s explicit advice was, “Do not be the first to reach and last to leave the festival ground. Also, you must not mingle in the crowd during the day. “
In his excitement, Dhungshi Chubhi Drungdru left very early the next morning, and despite his parent’s pleading, was the first person to reach the festival ground. As he waited for the festival to start, he excitedly watched people arriving from all directions of the valley. Down the path came the beautiful Sangwa Kuenge Yoenten. She caught Dhungshi Chubhi Drungdru’s eye at first glance and walked towards him. They instantly fell in love during their brief meeting in the shadows of Tabab Chorten, the Stupa near the Gangtey Monastery. To avoid the crowds and any on-lookers, they agreed to meet again at Nalay Hill in the evening.
Listening from her perch atop a lone pine tree branch was the Nalay Dhuem, the Devil of Nalay Hill. She too had developed a soft spot for Dhungshi Chubhi Drungdru and knew about him meeting with Sangwa Kuenge Yoenten below her home hill. Nalay Dhuem, a wicked demoness, is one of the seven daughters of Nyala Dhuem also known as the Devil of Nyala Hill, which one can find on the way to Trongsa.
When Sawang Kuenge Yoenten reached home after the festival, she was asked to roast 20 days (a traditional measurement unit that is equivalent to 2.5kgs) of barley by her parents. Several days later, her family planned to migrate to the lower ground to escape the cold winter. Many tasks need to be finished before they departed. Sawang Kuenge Yoenten tried her best to finish her chores working as hard as she could, sweating over the burning fire. Alas, she did not finish in time and was late to meet Dhungshi Chubhi Drungdru at their agreed place at Nalay Hill. Meanwhile, Nalay Dhuem took advantage of the girl’s delay by disguising herself as Sangwa Kuenge Yoenten and met with Dungshi Chubi Drungdru in her place. The demoness seduced the boy and later took his soul.
When Sangwa Kuenge Yoeten reached the destined meeting place, to her disbelief and despair, she found the boy dead. Her anguish for her true love did not allow her to leave his body behind. So, she took her beloved up to Khewa Lhakhang and cried for help, keeping the body on a stone in front of the Lhakhang. She stumbled to the door of the Lhakhang and knocked. Through her cries, Sangwa Kuenge Yoeten requested help. Except peering inside, behind the massive door, she heard the Buddha Statue in the Lhakhang speak. The statue spoke of a great Lama called Gangtey Trulku in Gangtey who could help and asked her to take her true love’s body to Gangtey. When she moved Dungshi Chubhi Drungdru’s corpse to begin her long journey, to her amazement, what remained was an impression resembling a large heart set in the stone on which he laid.
Gangtey Trulku was expecting Sangwa Kuenge Yoeten in Gangtey in the morning and instructed his attendant to permit her entry. The Gangtey Trulku performed all the cremation prayers and requested the girl be ordained as a nun. She joined a nunnery and later went back to Nalay Hill and subdued the demoness. She dumped the demoness inside a place where today stands a white Chorten on Phojikha Nature Trail Hike.
After passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang, the trail ends at the local community school; this involves a 30-minute walk up to the start of town. The Nature Trail can be combined with a visit to Gangtey Goemba and the local school. Gangtey Goemba is a 16th-century monastery situated picturesquely at the hilltop at the edge of Gangtey village, making it the landmark structure of Phobjikha valley.
If you are interested to hike the trail or make your travel itinerary to Bhutan, contact DrukAsia, Your travel partner to Bhutan.