National Geographic : 1914 Apr
VOL. XXV, No. 4 WASHINGTON APRIL, 1914 SATNIIOAIL CASTLES IN THE AIR Experiences and Journeys in Unknown Bhutan BY JOHN CLAUDE WHITE, C. I. E. LATE POLITICAL OFFICER IN CHARGE OF SIKKIM, BHUTAN, AND SUCH PARTS OF TIBET AS FELL WITHIN THE SPHERE Or BRITISH INFLUENCE. AUTHOR OF "SIKKIM AND BHUTAN" With Photographs by the Author IT HAS been my good fortune to have had exceptional facilities for explor ing the hitherto very little known, but most interesting, native state of Bhu tan, which lies in the heart of the Hima laya Mountains, on their southern slopes, about 250 miles northeast of Calcutta (for map see page 457). Though naturally an unruly and turbu lent country, there had been no raids into British territory for many years, owing to the good government and strength of character of the present ruler, now Ma haraja Sir Ugyen Wang-chuk, K. C. S . I., K. C. I. E. By correspondence I had kept up the friendly intercourse begun by my predecessor and friend, the late *The first of my journeys into Bhutan was toward the end of 1905, when I made my way down the Am-mo-chu Valley from Chumbi to the plains of India. In the following spring I was sent by the government of India to pre sent the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire to the Tongsa Penlop, and to do this I traveled from my headquarters, the residency at Gangtok, in Sikkim, crossing the Natu-la Pass to Chumbi via Hah, Paro, Tashi-cho-jong to Poonakha, and on to Tongsa and Byagha, and on my return journey from Tashi-cho-jong northward up the valley of the Tchin-chu into Tibet. On another occasion I marched along the boundary between British India and Bhutan and from Dorunga across the Dangna-chu to Kanga and up the Kuru River. In the same year I also traveled from Dewangiri through Mr. A. W. Paul, and on meeting Sir Ugyen for the first time in the Chumbi Valley, at time of the Lhasa Expedition, our acquaintance ripened into firm friend ship on both sides. He extended to me a most pressing in vitation to visit his country, and when I was able to do so, a little later on, he gave me every possible assistance, and consequently during the several journeys I made there I was enabled to see every thing of interest and to gather informa tion otherwise impossible to procure. Sir Ugyen, his council, the Deb Raja, and all the lamas (monks) combined to make my visits both most interesting and enjoyable and treated me royally throughout.* Chungkar, Tashi-gong, Tashiyangtsi, across the Dong-la to Lhuntsi; Pangkha, Singhi-jong, and across the Bad-la into Tibet. In 1907 a formal intimation was conveyed to the government of India that Sir Ugyen Wang-chuk, K. C. I . E., the Tongsa Penlop, was about to be installed as gyalpo (king), or Maharaja of Bhutan, and this was accom panied by a pressing invitation that I should personally be present, and to my great grati fication I was deputed head of a mission rep resenting the government of India at the cere mony. The mission traveled through Phari, in the Chumbi Valley, across the Temo-la to Paro, and by my old route to Poonakha, and then leaving my escort and companions I re turned by a new and unknown route via Bite Jong and Dungna-Jong to Jaigoan, in the plains of India (see map, page 457).