My brief trip to Gasa tsachu this time has been a very different experience. I was part of a team of friends from Japan, senior officials from government agencies from Thimphu, the dzongda, park officials (Gasa dzongkhag falls almost entirely under the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park) and a few others.
The road construction work continues with machines cutting through fresh earth and it has reached Baychu. There had been a problem with the road construction which according to people there (the affected) was deviating from the originally laid out plan and hopefully, works have started again to inch forward Gasa’s dream of being connected with road like the rest of the country. It wont be too long before the first roughly dug road would be reaching very close to the dzong, rendering it the last dzongkhag centre to be connected to the rest of the country by road. It seems earlier failures of plans of road reaching Gasa with zig -zags around lower Gasa has somehow finally found it’s bearings right and is finally showing signs of coming through. The people are very excited about it and with it anticipation of a decent public transport service for the people.
Machineries have also reached the tsachu sight and are working to remove gigantic boulders to divert the stream. Although there are two clear ponds (tsachu), since the landscape has totally changed, it’s become critical that the sources of the tsachu be found and located first. By diverting the water, a search and rescue for the source could be initiated. So real restoration works have not begun yet and with the Government looking to confirm funding, it may likely remain this way for sometime.
Although we enjoyed the evening dip in the pond, it somehow was very saddening to find that a national treasure, a symbol of age-old tradition of the people of Gasa and of ailing people from all over Bhutan, is no more accessible but instead is lying desecrated, violated and helpless.
I am guessing this year many ailing people from all over have had to give up their habitual visit to Gasa tsachu to cure them of their aches and pain. Their body yearning for the tsachu’s curative touch and the extra iron dosage that helped with digestion and made them sleep better. For the many decades of good sleeps Gasa tsachu has given us, it’s really painful watching her in this state. I hope for this reason that the discussions that occurred during this visit comes through and we will be able to restore her to her rightful place of a national symbol of age old culture and tradition.