Shelkar Drak

Western Bhutan

A short excursion up the valley behind the Lhakhang Kharpo is Shelkar Drak (Crystal Cliff), a tiny, charming retreat centre perched on the limestone cliff face. Take the unpaved side road past the Lhakhang Nagpo, by Domcho village, and continue up the hillside towards the recently renovated ridgetop Takchu Goemba (8km). From the small private lhakhang and white chorten of Lungsukha village, a 15-minute walk along a new road leads to the small chapel attended by one lama and one monk.

Inside the main lhakhang look for statues of local protector Dorji Zebar and the site's founder, Choling Jigme Tenzin. Those with a spiritual bent can follow the monks on a 10-minute scramble to the meditation cave of the 11th-century female tantric practitioner Machig Labdrom. It's possible to hike downhill from the lhakhang via the prayer-flag-draped Chimey Dingkha pool to rejoin the main dirt road further down.

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