Haa was once an important trade route to Tibet. It also has the distinction of being the district where Bhutan’s first school offering modern education was inaugurated in 1914. The entire valley of Haa exudes a strong sense of tradition, nature, and a way of life that has remained as it must have been in times long gone by.
|Surface area||1,706 sq. kilometers|
|Altitude||2,670 meters above sea level|
Getting to Haa
There are two routes to get to Haa. One is about 3 hours drive from Thimphu through Paro and crossing the Chelela pass (3810 m), the highest road pass in Bhutan. Along this highway, high up on the mountain face below the Chelela pass, is the Kila Goenpa. There are several small temples and retreat homes for about 30 nuns at this Goenpa. The other route takes about three and a half hours from Thimphu and passes through the Dobji Dzong, a relatively small Dzong built in the 16th century, and several charming villages. It is recommended to go to Haa via one route and to return through the other.
Places of Interest
Wangchulo Dzong: This Dzong lies at the entrance into the Haa valley, on a gentle slope that ends in the Haa Chhu. Its building was commissioned by Kazi Ugyen Dorji, the grandfather of the Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother. An earlier Dzong, recorded to have been built in 1895 at a location not far from the present Dzong, had been destroyed by a fire in 1913.
Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo: Although less known than the Jambe and Kyichu Lhakhangs in Bumthang and Paro respectively, Lhakhang Karpo (the White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (the Black Temple) in Haa are believed to be part of the group of 108 temples said to have been built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in a single day to pin down a demoness. Both the Lhakhangs date back to the 7th Century. The annual Haa Tshechu is held in the courtyard of Lhakhang Karpo.
Tagchu Goenpa: This monastery was founded by Lam Sangay Gyatso. Oral history has it that Lam Sangay Gyatso served as the head of the Nub Dali fort in Tibet and therefore modeled this monastery on this fort.