Haa Valley camps - Heritage Lodge
This gorgeous heritage lodge is one of a fascinating kind in Bhutan. A traditional mud-walled 100 year old farmhouse has been beautifully renovated and restored in recent years to provide stylish and comfortable accommodation to travellers heading off the beaten track into the western valley of Haa. Situated in the picturesque village of Lechu the final approach to the farmhouse is on foot, on a stone path between fields.
The simplicity of the lodge belies its astounding heritage; the farmhouse has been passed down over four generations to the maternal descendants of Penlop Agay Haap, a provincial governor who according to oral history was involved in Himalayan power struggles, secret plots and plans, allegiances and betrayals in the mountains. From the house of Lechuna came the founder of the Bhutanese Royal Body Guards and many years later in the 1990s, a young boy in the family was recognised by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of a former head of the ancient Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. He was renamed his holiness Tenzin Yeshey Dorje and enthroned in a monastery at Boudha, Nepal.
The lodge is encircled on three sides by mud walls, roofed with wooden shingles. The main three storey house stands tall, its original character intact, encircled by rammed earth walls. On the ground floor are two cosy lounge areas, their ochre walls hung with interesting photos and the floors dressed with hand woven rugs. The original windows have been enlarged and fitted with glass to let in more light and a flight of old wooden stairs leads to the floors above. Each of the seven rooms with their exposed beams and polished dark wood floors is simply but comfortably furnished. Though no bedroom has an en-suite bathroom (the layout of the old house created too many difficulties when trying to add modern conveniences) you shouldn’t let this worry you as there are two flush loos on each floor and three contemporary shower rooms with plenty of hot water. On the opposite side of the central grassy courtyard is a dining room where meals prepared from seasonal vegetables, local milk, cheese, butter, wheat flour and meat are served - or under the stars on a rare warm evening.
The lodge is the ideal place to stay for day walks into the surrounding hills and valleys, meeting farmers and monks and being a part of traditional life in rural Bhutan.
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