Haa: the valley of three sacred towering mountains

Located along the western flank of Bhutan, Haa is the smallest district in the Kingdom. Endowed with pristine alpine forest and surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks, Haa is easily one of the most picturesque locations in the country. Home to several communities of nomadic herders who live in the upper highlands of the valley with their yaks, Haa boasts a unique culture, traditional food, and an arcane way of life. Three towering identical mountains flank the valley called Meri Puensum or Rigsum Gonpo, representing Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig)- the Buddha of compassion, Manjushri ( Jampelyang) – the Buddha of wisdom, and Vajrapani (Chana Dorji) – the Buddha of power and victory. Haa is an ideal destination for tourists looking for a distinctive cultural and aesthetic experience.

Festival Highlights

HAA TSHECHU

This three-day festival of mask dances is held annually at the courtyard of Lhakhang Karpo. Various mask dances are performed during the Tshechu. The Tshechu concludes with the unfurling of Guru Nangsi Zilon Thongdroel (giant appliqué).

HAA SUMMER FESTIVAL

Held in the month of July every year, this festival celebrates the unique lifestyles of yak herders and nomadic communities and the living culture of Haa valley.

CLIMATE

Warm in summer and cold in winter

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

Spring and Autumn

CLOSEST AIRPORT

Paro Airport (International Airport)

DISTANCE FROM THIMPHU

3hours (105km) via Chelela Pass

PLACES TO SEE

Lhakhang Karpo

According to legend, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) is one of the 108 temples built in one day by Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. The Emperor is said to have released two pigeons – a white and a black one – to choose an auspicious location for the construction of the temples. Lhakhang Karpo was built at the foothills of three towering mountains known as Rigsum Gonpo where the white pigeon landed. The Lhakhang houses the shrine of Ap Chungdu, the principal deity of Haa valley

Lhakhang Karpo
Lhakhang Nagpo

Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) is located in Dumcho village, 15-minute walk north of Lhakhang Karpo. The Lhakhang derives its name from the black pigeon that landed on the site where the temple is built. It is believed that Lhakhang Nagpo was built on top of a lake, and the doorway on the floor of the temple is believed to be the passage to the underworld of the water spirit. The temple houses the shrine of the local Dado Tsen.

Wangchuk Lo Dzong

Built in 1915, Haa Wangchuk Lo Dzong is one of the newest dzongs built in the country. The Dzong was built after the old Damcho Dzong was razed to the ground by fire. Haa Dzong is much smaller in size compared to other dzongs in the country, which are usually built on ridges or hillsides as a defense fortress against invading forces. In 1963, Haa Dzong was handed over to the Indian Military to be used as training and coordination center.

Wangchuk Lo Dzong

THINGS TO DO

Nup Tshona Patra Trek

This six-day Nup Tshona Patra Trek is one of the most scenic treks in the country. The trek takes hikers through the scenic Haa valley, along beautiful alpine meadows and rhododendron scrub to the sacred lake, Nub Tshona Pata. The trail offers spectacular views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum and Mt. Kachenjunga. The trail ranges in altitude between 2,735m to 4,420m.

Try local delicacy ‘Hoentoe’

Hoentoe is by far the most delectable dish originating from the exotic valley of Haa. A trip to Haa is incomplete without sav dumpling stuffed with an assortment of ingredients that include dried spinach or turnip leaves, cottage cheese, butter, perilla seeds, ginger, and clove garlic. Hoentoe can be either steamed or fried. Hoentoes are usually eaten with ezay (a chili paste made from local dried chilies). The people of Haa serve this traditional dish during Lomba – the New Year Festival celebrated in Haa and Paro. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2023

Hoentoe
Haa Summer Festival

The Haa Summer Festival celebrates the unique living culture of Haa valley, nomadic lifestyles, and rich gastronomical traditions of people of Haa. During the festival various religious performances and folk dances are exhibited. It also offers the unique experience to immerse in traditional sports and local cuisines of Haa valley.

Rangtse Ney

About four-hour drive from the Haa-Chuzom Highway, Rangtse Ney (Lime Caves) is a sacred site believed to be the secret abode of 8th century Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche and his spiritual consort Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel. Rangtse Ney became a popular attraction after His Majesty the King visited the site on 23rd December 2017. Locals believe that there are seven doors inside the cave. Footprints of Guru Rinpoche and holy pudenda of Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel are visible on the rocks inside the cave. Guru Rinpoche is said to have hidden sacred treasures in the cave.

Haa Summer Festival