A man and 11 horses in the moun­tains

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing/ Laya

The point is that if you love horses and na­ture, you can walk across the beau­ti­ful moun­tains and vil­lages around the moun­tains for the whole day.

Horses and hu­mans in­ter­act in a wide va­ri­ety of ways. Dawa Dendup, 49, from Lingzhi has been work­ing for LayaLingzhi trekkers with his 11 horses for seven long years.

Laya-Lingzhi trek is an ideal des­ti­na­tion for the vis­i­tors to Bhutan. Each vis­i­tor is sure to find the per­fect way to dis­cover Laya and Lingzhi, two of Bhutan’s most beau­ti­ful high­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Work­ing with horses means one’s life re­volves around na­ture, eating and sleep­ing in the open, all the while en­joy­ing abun­dant space and com­fort of na­ture.

Al­though Dawa doesn’t have horses of his own, he earns his liv­ing by driv­ing other’s horses for tourists. When there are more loads, he helps the horse owner earn an av­er­age of Nu.70,000 to 80,000 in a month. How­ever, he is paid only Nu.200 a day.

But he doesn’t al­ways have to set­tle with his Nu.200 a day. He gets tips from tourists. “I get tips as high as Nu.3,000 and as low as Nu.500,” he said. That takes his monthly salary of Nu 6,000 a lit­tle higher.

Some­times, he treks with tourists from Paro to Lingzhi, which takes five days, and from there to Laya.

The owner of his horses works with Etho Metho tours and treks in Thim­phu. A horse is paid Nu. 400 a horse dou­ble the amount he gets.

Dawa is a fa­ther of two who lost their mother this year. His small sal- ary is, how­ever, enough to meet the ex­penses of his Class IX daugh­ter and Class VII son who study in Druk­gyel Lower Sec­ondary School in Paro.

He says trekking for days on end with his horses is the only free­dom he has in his life. But this free­dom, he says, is higher than any ex­pe­ri­ence of free­dom. His 11 horses are free to roam only when there are no loads of tourists. “They min­gle with each other freely day and night when they are free,” Dawa said.

Go­ing on guided treks with horses with var­ied abil­i­ties is re­ally an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence, he says. Work­ing with horses is so amaz­ing to for horses are friendly an­i­mals. “The en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence keeps me amazed,” he said.

Dawa feeds his horses feeds from Karma Feed, wa­ter, and all the nutri­tion they need for long treks. Horses are best suited for the hills and moun­tains that sur­round the high­land vil­lages. “My horses are beau­ti­ful and fit, strong, in­tel­li­gent and they keep sur­pris­ing me with their sure­foot­ed­ness,” he says.

The vil­lages are an orig­i­nal way in which to dis­cover a num­ber of ma­jor tourist sites through­out the trail. The trail rises from the river basin to the hill­tops.

Dawa not only loads and un­loads horses but helps trekkers dis­cover and lo­cate newer places. He vis­its new lo­ca­tions in the vil­lage of Lingzhi.

Walk­ing alone with the horses for days is, how­ever, not with­out chal­lenges to him. Over­time, his con­fi­dence has im­proved. And his spirit is also con­stantly kept high by tourists who en­joy the pun­ish­ing trek.

Laya-Lingzhi trek is very pop­u­lar and com­plet­ing it is al­ways seen as a per­sonal achieve­ment by all vis­i­tors.

Laya is of­fi­cially five days of trek to Lingzhi. But he takes only three days to reach Lingzhi.

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