Posted by: Phuentsho | September 23, 2016

Untimely flowering of Rhododendron thomsonii

The blossom of Rhododendron thomsonii

The blossom of Rhododendron thomsonii

Flowering and dormancy in plants is triggered by many factors. Most of the Rhododendrons bloom in the spring or in the early summer. Recently, I stumbled upon this small Rhododendron thomsonii flowering in autumn which is not in its normal flowering time.

This is not the first for me to see this species of plant flowering late in the autumn. I can still remember few of the plants of this species of Rhododendron flowering back in 2003.

This led me to do a quick research online for the flowering time of this species of plant. I searched in the Flora of China, which is easily available for anyone in the efloras.

The floral description of this plant in the flora of china as well as in our Flora of Bhutan have not September as it’s flowering time.

This may be providing an opportunity to study how plants regulate their biological functions. It would be interesting to know why only a single plant flower in autumn while the flower buds of other plant of the same species are dormant.

 

While it is a biological mystery for the taxonomists and biological scientists who study plants, the local people take it as an inauspicious sign. They believe it is an indication of an occurrence of famine and heralds bad times.

Posted by: Phuentsho | September 6, 2016

The Temple of three Jewels restored to its former grandeur

The newly built Konchosum lhakhang in Bumthang

The newly built Konchosum lhakhang in Bumthang

 

 

The Konchosum Lhakhang, one of important historical sites of the country and the Buddhists alike across the globe was destructed by fire in February, 2015. However, the most important relics have not been destructed fully and some of the relics remained. The late 11th Lhalung Sungtrul with support from RGoB and the local people rebuilt this very important monument.

According to the information board displayed in front of the temple, this temple is said to one of the earliest buddhist temples in Bhutan. Tibetan king Thrisong Detsen in the 9th century is said to have built the temple upon the instruction from Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche is said to have visited the place to design and consecrate the temple.

The name of the temple have been derived from the three statues of three times which is believed to have been flown from Kusumphel in Kurtoe. Another important relic is said to be a large bell which is believed to be offered to Guru Rinpoche by the “Lus” (Nagas or the subterranean beings) during the founding ceremony of the temple.

During the construction of the temple. Photo taken on 31/10/2013

During the construction of the temple. Photo taken on 31/10/2013

 

Posted by: Phuentsho | August 30, 2016

A brief history of Yuling Lhakhang in Trongsa

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Lama Ngagi Wangchuk arrived at a place called Yuling in Trongsa in 1541 from Ralung in Tibet. He built a small medidation room in 1543. One day, while he was meditating in this place, he was said to have witnessed a light at the furthest spur where the present Trongsa Dzong stands.
Taking this as an auspicious sign, he built a small temple. Soon after, small hermitages and small meditation rooms started building up the area. This newly built up area resembled a village and hence the origin of the name Trongsa. Trong(Originally Krong) means village and Sar means new in the local dialect. The Krong may have evolved into Trong overtime.
Presently this Lhakhang is considered a very important one by the locals and is surrounded by the beautiful traditional houses which are beautifully painted.
The temple houses the local deity called Ap Gayp and several sacred Buddhist statues.

P.S. I don’t claim this as the correct history and anyone with better knowledge are welcomed to add on this la.

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Students during a SUPW on Saturday

Located in the midst of the warm-broad leaved forests and the rugged Himalayan landscape of Nabji and Korphu villages is the remote Nabji Community Primary School. A total of barely 40 students make the population of this school and around 6 teachers teaching them. In spite of the small number of students studying in this school, the students were fortunate enough to receive boarding facilities in the school. Though the students were fortunate to get boarding facilities, lack of infrastructure and basic amenities such as bed, proper hostel and bathroom facilities are lacking. Thus proper hygiene is a concern.

The enrollment of students and the general strength of the students keeps on decreasing heralding the possible dieback of the schools in the remote communities of Bhutan.

Nabji Community Primary School is one of the three primary schools in Korphu Gewog, Trongsa. Korphu Gewog is the remotest Gewog in the Trongsa Dzongkhag. Though there are three Primary Schools in Korphu Gewog, two others have been down-graded to extended classrooms since they don’t  meet the Education Ministry’s minimum number of students required for a Primary School.

Posted by: Phuentsho | November 27, 2015

Nature Study Center, Khebethang

Nature Study Center

Nature Study Center, Khebethang

The Nature Study Center at Khebethang in Phobjikha which falls within the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park was established in 1996 to facilitate in-country research on natural resources and valuable training facility. The infrastructures were established with the funding from WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Division (the then Nature Conservation Division) of the Department of Forests and Park Services as the project implementing agency.
It was initially established to conduct research for the determination of conservation needs and a site for the conduction of various workshops for farmers and students as the area is rich in wildlife. The biodiversity action plan of Bhutan, 1997 states that the center’s objectives include improving conservation field education for Bhutanese secondary schools, BFI, NRTI(CNR), RIM, Sherubtse College and other training centers as well as providing a hub for information dissemination about Bhutan through workshops, seminars, publications, public debate and school curricula.
The center is equipped with great infrastructures such as the administrative buildings, staff quarters and hostels. It is located quite far from the motor-able road head. Due to the remoteness, such a great infrastructure remain unutilized and it was few years ago that some even stole the furniture from the NSC. Currently, an in-charge looks after it.
I can vividly remember attending the inaugural ceremony of the center when I was being carried by my father on his back to reach the place. I can even remember Mr. Nidup Dorji singing his song Lathosa Ganghi Chitokha. It was at that place where I saw the Styrofoam for the first time in my life. Perhaps it came there as a cushioning material for some electronic equipment. He must have come there as he was working in the Bhutan Broadcasting Service then. Since then I never visited the place and back during my primary school days, I heard that some people took advantage of the remoteness of the place and the absence of staffs there and broke into the buildings vandalizing some furniture and equipment.
I also heard that there used to be a good library and the place has its own mini-hydro generator which provides the necessary energy for the center. It was on the 7th of December 2015, that I decided to visit the Khebethang area to collect data for a research for my diploma in forestry. The area nearby is famous for the locals for its abundance in one of the Himalayan high altitude clump forming bamboo which is highly used by the farmers for various purposes. Unfortunately this species flowered gregariously and died. The center is also located near a winter grazing ground for the yaks which were taken in the alpine meadows in the Black Mountains in summer.
It is sad to see such infrastructure kept unutilized and the investments in such an infrastructure go into waste. Some sources say that once the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park was looked after from there but due to remoteness and the damp area there the park shifted its headquarter. Currently the park have done nothing to use the center but some unconfirmed sources say that the center will be handed over to the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment in Lamey Gonpa, Bumthang. If it really happens, it’s great that that the institute may be able to put the center into use and revive its objectives.

Flowers and leaves of Paris polyphylla

Flowers and leaves of Paris polyphylla

Paris polyphylla (Sm.) which is commonly known by Satuwa (Lhotsamkha) and Thoksampa (Sharchopkha) belongs to the family Melanthiaceae. It is a perennial herbaceous plant. The name Paris came from ‘Par’ meaning equal and it means the plant has symmetrical flowers and leaves. The species name polyphylla means many broad leaves. This plant produces spider like flowers. The flowers are hermaphrodite which means both male and female organs are present in a single plant but is not self fertile. The rhizome of this plant is made up of modified stems of plants that usually grow underground and contains roots and shoots from their nodes,and it grows in a creeping manner.

According to a research done by Madhu et al.  in 2010 in Nepal,  Paris polyphylla starts germinating in April and flowers in April/May and the seeds mature in October. It is said that by the beginning of November to mid November, most of the plant part dies out and all seeds get dispersed. Rhizome remains underground for the whole winter until the next germination period and is therefore dormant for almost five months. The study found out that this plant thrives well with moist and humus rich soil under canopy of forest in full shade to partial shade.

The germination of seed is said to be extremely rare in the wild. It is also said that a single offspring is produced from a single mother plant. People from Nepal reported that among the livestock, sheep and goat eat shoot and fruit of the plant but cow and buffaloes do not. The trampling of livestock is also reported to destroy the plant (Madhu et al., 2010). During the past few years, many people started collecting the rhizomes of this plant where it was found to be growing though the collection was not legalized. On SEP 13, 2013, a news in KuenselOnline reported that In Merak a kilogram of dried paris polyphylla rhizome fetched Nu 1,500. When smuggled to Arunachal Pradesh, India a kilogram of it fetched Nu 1,800. Due to its high price, the number of people looking for this plant increased over the years. Over harvesting and unscientific collection of rhizome before the maturity of the seeds posed great threat to the regeneration of this plant. Like the collection of Cordyseps sinensis, people residing in the places where this plant grew said the government should legalize the collection of the rhizome of this plant.

The Department of Forests and Park Services in its office order SFED/NWFP/01/2014-2015/644 dated 19-06-2015 informs all the concerned field offices to levy fines and compensation for illegal collection collection of Paris polyphylla.

The office order states that any individual found collecting the rhizome before the season without permits of Paris polyphylla(Satuwa) must be dealt as per the provisions of the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules 2006, section 82(5) . Section 82(5) of FNCR 2006 states that fine of minimum Nu. 5000 to Nu. 50,000 will be imposed as a penalty depending on the degree of the offence and the offender need to compensate the amount he/she has collected illegally at fair market value. The Department fixed the fair market value at Nu. 3000/kg for dry and Nu. 1000/kg for fresh rhizomes.

A Field Manual on Nursery Management and Cultivation of Satuwa published by the Department of Forests and Park Services specifies the harvesting time of the rhizomes in the September and October months when the fruits gets ripened but the office order doesn’t specify the rhizome collection time. Therefore everyone who resides in the communities where this plant grows and is collected needs to be informed about this.

 

Posted by: Phuentsho | March 27, 2015

Declining population of Jakar sheep

Jakar variety of sheep in Phobjikha

Jakar variety of sheep in Phobjikha

The sheep in Bhutan have been classified into three types by investigating genetically. They are Jakar, Sipsu and Sakten types.  It is said that th Jakar variety of sheep is native to central Bhutan.  According to the Biodiversity Action Plan 2008, the Ministry of Agirculture and Forests has initiated participatory Jakar sheep breeding programme at Phobjikha and it is said that the programme focuses on encouraging Jakar sheep owners to continue rearing sheep. This was done by providing good breeding rams, free health care, wool processing technologies, value addition and marketing of sheep products.

In the Biodiversity Action Plan 2008, it is stated that the Jakar variety of sheep is highly threatened since farmers are giving up sheep husbandry practices. The farmers are giving up sheep husbandry since they found no returns from raising them but they add up to the headache for the shortage of human resource to look after them.  The increasing number of the stray dogs and wild predator predation of the sheep in the Phobjikha valley is also one of the reasons for the farmers to give up sheep husbandry.

Sheep in their summer grazing meadows in the black mountains

Sheep in their summer grazing meadows in the black mountains

In the olden days the farmers used to take their sheep to the summer grazing grounds in the Black Mountains. During the summer months the yak herders look after the sheep and after that they return to the lower Phobjikha valley. This tradition of taking the sheep in summer to the alpine meadows has almost come to a stop after the yak herders sold the yaks with only one or two yak herders left to practice the tradition.

Recently many farmers who owned sheep were found selling the sheep to the buyers.  They were of no idea where these threatened sheep are being taken to. Some heard that these sheep are being taken to a farm in Samtse but it is unsure. Since the arrival of motor able road in the valley connecting it to the external world, the weaving of clothes from wool has decreased and almost come to a standstill. But one sole reason for the farmers to keep a few sheep is that they hold the traditional believe of offering one male sheep to their local deity. This is a type of sacrifice to the local deity. It is widely believed that when their deity is not happy with the people, they fall sick and if they offer the deity with the sheep they will get well and in severe cases they even die. With the fear of getting their deity unhappy for them, they kept the sheep with them though they were now useless.

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The Dompola Village Development Small Farmer Savings Group celebrated their 13th day on Sunday, 01 January, 2015 near the Dompola Lhakhang. The celebration was attended by officials from the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the District Livestock officer and the District Agriculture Officer of the Punakha Dzongkhag. The group invited the Director General of DAMC as the chief guest.

On the foundation day the group members served the guests different types of beverages and foods. The group welcomed the guests with Tashi Labay and started with the Marchang ceremony. The Limbukha gup welcomed the guests and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the guests for coming all the way from Thimphu to Limbukha gewog to the celebration. The chief guest also told the gathering about his appreciation towards the group for being a successful group and said that it is important to explore in other ways to carryout agricultural activities to add income to the group’s saving. He also said that the department has plans to establish farmer’s shop in the places where there are no shops selling the necessary farming equipments. Among the main five farmer’s groups in the country established under the DAMC, he said that DVDSFSG is one of them.


DVDSFSG was founded on the first day of January, 2002 with 22 members as a grass roots level voluntary small farmer self-sustaining group with the vision to evolve into a full-fledged cooperative registered under the Cooperative Act of Bhutan, 2001 undertaking both profit oriented and sustainable community development projects and programmes that will directly contribute to the growth of local and national economy.

The group members entertained the guests with traditional dances and the guests joined the group members. After lunch the guests participated in the dances and after concluding the celebration with a Tashi Labay, the guests visited the Lhakhang where the safe box is kept. The safe box is locked by three different locks to restrict access to the box and to safeguard the box. Each key is kept by the chairperson, one by the treasurer and the one by the messenger.

Their mission is to inculcate a sense of thrift among the members and encourage group savings to provide easily accessible credit to the members to meet their immediate and future production and consumption demand/needs as a deliberate means to enhance their living standard and usher in a gradual social awakening and transformation process.

The group’s aims and objectives are as follows.
* To strengthen the collective self-help capacity of Dompola farmers as a way of achieving both individual and broader social objectives through developing better understanding and cooperation among the community.
* To promote self-reliance, group cooperation and solidarity among the rural population to strengthen their know-how, economics of scale and bargaining power.
* To develop and inculcate savings habit among the members for generating capital resources within the community.
* To provide credit services to its members at a competitive interest rate for generating employment and economic opportunities.
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At present there are five committee members who are the chairman, secretary, treasurer, member representative and a messenger. A total of 22 members founded the group i.e. 8 from Dompola, 2 from Sachakarm, 3 from Kuni, 5 from Tongchekha, 2 FROM Zerchen and one each from Bingdungsa and Shachamo villages.

The Chathrim of the group consists of 15 articles in which the responsibilities of board of committee members, the procedures for conducting monthly general assembly meeting, agenda of general assembly meeting, powers and functions of general assembly, duties and responsibilities of members, eligibility criteria for membership, interpretation, citation, commencement and amendment, election and tenure of committee members, savings mobilization and frequency of payment, record keeping and reporting, termination of membership, dissolution procedure, mode of amendment of constitution and bylaws and fines.

Presently the group collects Nu. 100 from each member and disburse credit to the members at times of need (death, sickness, fees for school going children and other emergencies), disburse credit to non members, recollect loan/credit from borrowers and charge penalty to defaulters.

The group has plans to engage in RNR or other economic activity. The group has interest to start poultry and vegetable production activities. The group is looking forward to market their produce in the locality at first and explore for the market in the nearby urban hubs.

Posted by: Phuentsho | December 1, 2014

The first Thongdrol of Lama Drukpa Kuenley inaugurated

Thongdrol of Drukpa Kuenley

Thongdrol of Drukpa Kuenley at Chimi Lhakhang

The first of its kind in the world-the Thongdrol of Lama Drukpa Kuenley was inaugurated at Chimi Lhakhang in Punakha today. The inaugural ceremony was presided over by His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choeda. About a thousand of devotees gathered to receive blessings from the Thongdrol and a Tshe wang from His Holiness the Je Khenpo. Thongdrol means ‘liberation on sight’.

 

 

 

Displayed below are some of the additional photos of the sacred Thongdrol.

For more photos please visit my Flickr photostream.

Photo source: CleanPcGuide.Com

Photo source: CleanPcGuide.Com

Recently I encountered many USB removable drives infected with some worms which changes all folders into application with the extension .exe. I made a quick search online and found a few solutions. In one of the forums, it is mentioned that this worm(W32.SillyFDC) uses the autorun feature of windows operating system so that whenever a new USB drive is inserted into the computer, it automatically loads. Then the worm makes a duplicate copy of all the folder(s) but with .exe extension. The original folder is hidden by changing the folder attribute. This .exe file is a Windows executable file and the cyber criminals made it to disguise it as the original folder which is in fact a worm file.

How to remove the worm?

Option 1

If you have an antivirus software run a full scan. If the antivirus software detects the threat, remove the threat. If the antivirus software fails to detect the threat you can go for the following options.

Option 2

Scan your computer with Microsoft Malicious Software Tool. You can download this software from here.
Malicious Software Removal Tool

Option 3

Scan your computer with Malwarebytes anti-malware

Option 4

Scan your computer with Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

This is not a complete list of virus removers and therefore, many others may be there. You can search for a good virus remover and scan to remove the threat after the scanner finishes scanning.

The above processes may remove the threat but the scan will not bring back your folders. You will not be able to see your folders in your removable drive. The folders will remain hidden. The folder attribute needs to be changed back to its default so that they are visible to the system once again. You can use this simple software(USB Show) to get the hidden folders back or follow the steps below.

→Download USB Show from here.

 Steps to change the attribute of hidden folders/files on a USB drive

  1. Click Start button
  2. Type cmd in the search box and press enter
  3. Type attrib e:\*.* /d /s-h-r-s in the DOS command prompt and press enter

This will automatically change the attribute of the removable disk E. If your removable disk is inserted into other ports such as F, G, H, and I change e: to the your location of your drive. I would suggest you to use the USB Show as it is much easier and simpler to get your files back. I have not tested this method and may be subject to failure.

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