The Highlands Of Bhutan

The view north of Tashi Yangtse in Northern Bhutan reveals the Kulong River and trace amounts of snow on the 15,000-foot peaks that separate this valley from the Lhuntsi district further to the east.
Bathers enjoy a soak in the Gelephu hot spring in Southern Bhutan next to a small shrine dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava.
Laxmimaya, 43, rests on bales of hay near Damphu, Bhutan after a long day of farm work as her husband nearby weaves a new basket.
Namgay, 58, spends the entire year living alone while taking care of a small temple near the base of Jichu Drakey Mountain in Northern Bhutan. He complains that ghosts occasionally disturb the otherwise peaceful retreat.
Three women from Ura, Bhutan head home carrying heavy loads of firewood.
Deki, 11, stands near the entrance of her neighbor’s house in Bumthang, Bhutan.
The upper summit of 23,989-foot Jhomo Lhari Mountain in Northern Bhutan casts a pink hue for a few moments at sunrise.
A villager carries a load of hay on his back along the road leading up from Dagapela to Dagana in Southern Bhutan.
Santamon, 12, looks out from the doorway of his family’s house near Damphu, Bhutan. Many Southern Bhutanese use backpack-like baskets for farm work that feature a strap worn across the forehead for extra balance and support.
Against a backdrop of misty mountains, a villager from Laya in Northern Bhutan digs for turnips early in the morning. The growing season in this part of the country is very limited due to high elevation and short summers.
Two men from Wangkha, Bhutan play trumpets during a religious ceremony at a private home. Bhutanese regularly request local monks and lay religious practitioners to perform ceremonies to gain the protection of specific deities.
Kinley, 13 poses for a portrait in Laya, Bhutan.
A pair of oxen plows a field near Chendebji, Bhutan.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. In Sakteng, many youngsters continue to use traditional bows and arrows, which are made from bamboo collected at lower elevations.
Monmaya, 77, enjoys a laugh sitting on the packed-earth deck adjacent to her home near Damphu in Southern Bhutan.
A mother and her three young children enjoy a soak in the natural hot spring located below Gasa village in Northern Bhutan.
Leki, 13, chats with her friend Tenzin, 14. The window of Leki’s farmhouse in Sakteng, Bhutan is decorated with a stone phallus used to ward off evil.
A villager from Gelephu, Bhutan heads home in the evening carrying a wooden plow. A small portion of the country around Gelephu is totally flat, a huge contrast to the rest of Bhutan.
Kinley, 32, briefly pauses while washing her clothes to check on a nearby commotion in Sakteng, Bhutan. The unusual Brokpa hat she wears is made from yak hair, which features five braids to channel rainwater.
Lhab Tshering, 88, blows into his wood-burning stove to boil water for an afternoon cup of tea near Jichu Drakey Mountain in Northern Bhutan. Because he is blind, Lhab relies on his neighbors living in the Lingshi area to assist him with food and help.
Sonam, 3, takes a bath in Lhuntse, Bhutan from a large copper pot that is also used for cooking.
A group of women and children from Merak wait by the side of a road near Wamrong in eastern Bhutan.
The caretaker for a temple in Nangsayperi, Bhutan holds the large lock and key used to secure the central prayer room.
Morning fog obscures the Tang valley as seen from the cliff-top Towada Monastery in Northern Bhutan.
An elderly Brokpa woman in Sakteng, Bhutan sifts ground corn into different grades of size and quality. The finely ground corn is used to feed sheep and make a pancake-like flat bread.
A house cat keeps watch as a kettle boils inside a southern Bhutanese kitchen near Dagapela. Cats are often kept as pets throughout the country to keep vermin at bay.
A woman from Laya, Bhutan slowly winnows barley from the husk with a bamboo scoop known as a becham. Because the village is so small, nearly all Layaps know each other and help with communal farm work.
Namgay, 8, leans against the door of his parents' farmhouse in Phrumzor, Bhutan.
Two mothers and their children take a break from preparing stone-ground corn in Phrumzor, Bhutan.
Sunset begins to fall over the 12,400-foot Thrumshing Pass, which separates central and western Bhutan.
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