Merak Sakteng Trek
Close to the border with India’s Arunachal Pradesh, Merak-Sakteng is located about 50 miles east of Trashigang at an altitude of approx. 3,000 m above sea level: The Brokpas(Highlanders) population of Merak and Sakteng are semi-nomadic yak herder. This nomadic community has maintained its own unique dialect, dress and culture from other Bhutanese. It has been opened for tourism only form the beginning of 2010.
This is a special 6 to 7 days moderate cultural and natural trek of an isolated Merak and Sakteng village in the far remote eastern Bhutan.
With the domestic airstrip at Yonphula in Trashigang, the journey to the East will be shorter, along with Guwahati, India route now opened for tourist’s entry and exit through South East Bhutan. The Trekkers has ample of opportunity to experience the living culture and tradition of Brokpas(Highlanders).
Merak and Sakteng:
Twin Jewels of the East
Long closed to outsiders, the beautiful far flung regions of Merak and Sakten present Bhutan travelers with the unique opportunity to see two of the least known valleys in the kingdom. Take a trek to the sacred mountain of Jomo Kuengkhar in Merak (from where it is said the plains of In- dia are visible a clear day) witness the yak dances unique to the region or catch a performance of the famous nomadic opera, Ache-Lhamo. Experi- ence the stark wilderness and the simple gener- osity of the Brokpa people, learn how their tra- ditional garb is still fashioned from yak skin and listen to timeless tales of the yeti which form an inseparable part of Brokpa lore. Journey into the hidden valleys of Merak and Sakteng and discov- er the exquisite eastern wilderness of Bhutan.
Things to See & Do
The diverse rituals and customs of the Brokpa people make Merak and Sakten an interesting place to visit, especially each autumn when they honour their mountain goddess Jomo Kuengkhar by observing a two-day festival to seek her bless- ings for prosperity. The festival is also an occasion to witness the annual naked terchaam dances of the Brokpas and the cultural splendor of the Ache Lhamo dances performed by herders annually to honour another feminine divinity sacred to their people.
There are several interesting temples and mon- asteries in both valleys: The Borangtse Lhakhang, the Guru Goemba and Labrang Lhakhang. At the Gengo Tashicholing temple in Merak, established in the 15th century, it is possible to see the remains of its founder. In the Samtencholing Lhakhang it is possible to view what is purportedly the ancient
Day 1: Trashigang to Chaling (7050ft) and Damnongchu (10131ft): 7 hrs.
Day 2: Damnongchu to Merak (11480ft): 5 hrs.
Day 3: Merak to Miksa Teng (9400ft): 7 1⁄2 hrs.
Day 4: Miksa Teng to Sakteng (9850ft): 3 1⁄2 hrs.
Day 5: Sakteng Day Halt.
Day 6: Sakteng to JyonkharTeng (6100ft): 6 1⁄2 hrs.
Day 7: Jyonkhar to Phongmay (6500ft): 5 hrs.
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