Tales of Love: Meet the Romeo and Juliet of Bhutan

Bhutan has been my dream travel destination for over 2 years and obviously my excitement was a level up when I got an offer from Bhutan Bookings to explore this officially declared Drukpa country, early this month.

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This time I made many plans and promised to experiment with a lot of things which I have been thinking for long. Yoga was one, turning from a ‘B’logger to ‘V’logger was another. Some worked some didn’t but I am happy that I am back from Bhutan with a treasure full of memories and interesting anecdotes

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Visiting this quaint kingdom nestled amidst the ever enchanting Himalayas, felt like walking in a fairy tale, where every corner has a story to unwind. But mind it:- You don’t get to see them straight; you need to go deep down to experience them

Otherwise who would believe that I will encounter the much acclaimed William Shakespeare’s quintessential love story of Romeo and Juliet in Bhutan?  I was surprised at the mention as soon as my guide revealed the same.

Do you want to meet them too? Read along 🙂

It’s a popular Bhutanese folklore of Gasa Lamai Singye and Changyul Bhumoi Galem, known as the Romeo and Juliet of Bhutan from the 14th century. It’s a touching tale of a poor young man and a lady who was born into a rich family united at death. It’s the love story of two ordinary people and their extraordinary love for each other, which made them a legend

It was during my travel from Punakha to Gasa that I came across this historically built house which belonged to the family of Galem- the Juliet- at Changyul in Punakha. It’s about a kilometer away from Punakha Dzong. The house stands in ruins and can crumble even with a mild jerk

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Estimated 800 year old house is an antique symbol of love

The entry inside the house is prohibited but I heard that it will be restored soon and shall be converted into the museum showcasing the much anticipated love saga of that era.

Gasa Lamai Singye- The Romeo and Changyul Bhumoi Galem- The Juliet and the Tale of Love

Gasa Lamai Singye was a servant to the abode of monastic body in Gasa while Galem belonged to a rich family. Both of them fell for each other and were ready to take the bow when their love story took a U- turn. Like every classic love story, something was plotted against them too

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This Love saga is quite a success amongst Bhutanese  movie scriptwriters (Picture for Photo representation only)

Deb- the Chieftain of the region saw Galem and fell for her flawless beauty at the first sight. He decided to marry her and confessed his feelings to one of his assistant. Though the attendant was aware of the love affair between Galem and Singye, he opted to go ahead with Deb’s proposal for Galem and plotted to separate the two by posting Singye in another area so that Galem can get married to Deb in his absence. Soon Singye was ordered to serve Lama in Gasa and he was asked to leave immediately. Singye proceeded to serve lama in Gasa little knowing the plot against him. That’s how Singye was known as Gasa Lamai Singye

Deb proposal was conveyed to Galem’s parents who happily accepted it. When the marriage proposal was communicated to Galem, she resisted and confessed her love for Singye. However her parents, upon learning about Singye stature, decided to get her married forcefully. But as the fate had it Galem was pregnant which infuriated her parents and she was thrown out of the house.

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The House is in Ruins. Pic Credit: https://asoulwindow.com/

It is said that while she was barred from her home, Galem confined herself on the banks of Mo-chu (Meaning Mo-Mother Chu-river) and would sing out to every spectator to check if they are going to Gasa and can convey her message to Singye to return soon. Despite the ill-health, Galem kept her hopes alive, expecting that someone will deliver her message and Singye would return to save her. It is said that the river also listened to her song and a part of Mo-chu at this spot still flows calmly.

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Long after a traveller sympathized with her condition and agreed to convey her message  despite him not traveling to Gasa. Singye upon learning about her condition ran towards Changyul, only to find her dead. It is believed that while on his way Singye briefly met Galem in his dream on a bridge but while they were preparing for lunch she vanished suddenly. It is because the lama’s were performing her last rites and her soul was curbed, as she was paying her last visit to the love of her life. At this moment Singye knew that something is terribly wrong with his beloved

At crematorium Galem’s pyre was lighted but it did not catch fire. Singye upon learning about her cremation jumped into the fire alive which marks the end of a beautiful love story where the two love souls thrashed by the society, got united in death

Truly said that Love has no boundaries and if you love someone with all your heart even the Universe will make a way for your together-ness

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21 thoughts on “Tales of Love: Meet the Romeo and Juliet of Bhutan

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  5. Hi All

    We run Bhutan’s first online travel website for direct hotel bookings called http://www.bhutanbookings.com

    It is also integrated with Tripadvisor which means you can run a search on Tripadvisor for Bhutan Hotels and book directly with a credit card.

    Please write back if you need any assistance from us!

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