Altitude : 3200m/10496ft
Haa is the smallest Dzongkhag in the country covering an area of roughly 1706 sq. km. This valley remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest. The wooded hills of Haa provide an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking. Biking around the valley to visit the dozen or so local temples is an enjoyable way to spend the day when visiting. Walk along centuries old trails through mountain slopes covered in Primula Pedicularis, Ranaculus, Aster and several varieties of ferns. You’ll lose yourself amidst fields of white poppies, dense forests of fir trees and crystalline streams brimming with rainbow trout.
Haa is the ancestral home of the Queen Grandmother and the illustrious Dorji family.
Places To See
Dobji Dzong is located 11 kilometers from Chunzom towards proper Haa and was built in the 16th century by a Tibetan Lam Nawang Chogyal. The five-storied fortress is perched on a hilltop and flanked by a hair-raising ravine descending to the basin of the Pachu-Wangchu river. It was once one of the main centers of Drukpa Kagyudpa teachings, the state religion of the country. From the fortress one can view the lush green forests of Chhukha Dzongkhag with the highway running across it.
Haa Summer Festival
Set among pristine lakes and high alpine valleys, the Haa summer festival is a lively and uplifting celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It provides unparalleled insight into the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. Immerse yourself in this one of a kind experience by playing the local sports, sampling the delicious home-cooked cuisine and enjoying traditional songs and dances all while imbibing the heady local liquor (Ara).
At the Haa Summer festival you will be able to see the rare White Poppy (Meconopsis superba). This flower typically grows to 1-1.5m in height at high altitudes around 4000m. The White Poppy is endemic to Haa and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Chhundu Lhakhang is one of the many temples dedicated to the protective deity if Haa, Chhundu. Chhundu did not get along with his neighbours. He was banished to Haa by the Zhabdrung after an altercation with Gyenyen, Thimphu’s protector. He also had a quarrel with Jichu Drake of Paro and the Paro guardian stole all of Haa’s water- and that is why there is no rice grown in Haa.
Lhakhang Karpo (The White Temple)
Lhakhang Karpo was established in the 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gempo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. He built Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo in the Haa Valley. According to a legend, a black and white pigeon were released to select sites to build the temples. These two temples stand as the guardian sentinels keeping watch at the south entrance of the valley. The white pigeon landed on the foothills of the three towering mountains worshipped as Rigsum Gonpo and is where the Lhakhang stands today. The temple was named Karpo (white) as it was built on the site where the white pigeon landed.
Lhakhang Nagpo (The Black Temple)
Located in Dumchoe village, the monastery was established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. It is situated towards the north of Lhakhang Karpo. Legend has it that King Songtsen Gampo released a black and a white pigeon to select sites to build the temples. The black pigeon landed a little north of the white pigeon, indicating the preordained site of the present Lhakhang Nagpo. The temple was named Nagpo (black) as it was built on the site where the black pigeon landed. Built on a lake; an opening in the floor of the temple serves as the channel to the underground lake. Lhakhang Nagpo serves as the seat for the guardian deity Da Do Chen.
The principal relic of the monastery is the Choe-Lung-truel Sum.
Wangchulo Dzong is one of the newer dzongs having been constructed in 1913. Rather uniquely, Wangchulo Dzong is located inside the IMTRAT compound (Indian Military Training Team) camp and a Bhutanese army training camp.