The picturesque village of Gangtey overlooks Phobjikha Valley. During the summer months it is home to about 140 Gomchen who follow the teachings of Guru Rimpoche. These lay practitioners are permitted to be married and during the winter months, they and their families move to a warmer village and monastery, leaving Gangtey almost empty.
This beautiful glacial valley lies at 2,900m. After climbing up through dense forests dripping with lichen, the wide, open expanse of dwarf bamboo can come as a surprise. Perched overlooking this beautiful, almost flat valley is the village and monastery of Gangtey.
As well as the cranes that roost here in the winter, there are also barking deer, wild boar, red fox, leopard and Himalayan black bear in the valley. Electricity is produced by generators here because wires have been banned as they would cause problems for the cranes.
Gangtey and the Phobjikha Valley is also home to the endangered Black-necked Crane. These elegant and shy birds are considered sacred. It is said that killing one could be punishable with a death sentence.
From the end of October to March, as the monastery empties for the winter, the rare black necked cranes migrate to this valley from the Tibetan plateau – in just one day. It is said that when the birds arrive from their long flight, they circle the monastery three times before landing. The Crane Information Centre is located nearby.