A bowl-shaped glacial valley with an unusually flat landscape, Phobjikha Valley is nestled on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, with the meandering Chhu Nap (Black River) in its centre. If you’re a wildlife lover, Phobjikha Valley should be on the top of your must-see list. The area is home to a diverse plethora of flora and fauna, including Himalayan black bears, red foxes and other exotic creatures. It’s also where the famed, sacred black-necked cranes — “birds of fortune” as they are known among the locals — set up home for the winter from November to March.
Founded in the early 17th century by Rigdzin Pema Thinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the monastery offers sweeping views of Gangtey Valley and is a particular favourite of the black-necked cranes who make it a point to circle the monastery during their annual migration.
Also known as the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), this is the perfect spot to watch the graceful black-necked cranes as they descend upon Phobjikha Valley during their winter migration. Educate yourself about these avian wonders and the valley environment, or you can opt for a day hike from here.