Hordung suspension bridge is the second longest suspension bridge in Bhutan (220 m). The bridge is the symbol of development for the people of Nichula (one of the remotest places in Dagana). The people used wooden boats to travel Lhamoyzingkha commonly known as “Kalokhola” for buying necessary glossary items and clothes. Dassin and Diwali is the time they mostly visited the place for the celebration with new clothes and gifts. On the other hand, those were times they had the greatest worry and fear with the river, as sunkosh the union of Phochu and Mochu is never easy to be voyaged in wooden boats. The folk says, life is just 50% by then.
Lucky are the Bhutanese people under farsighted reign of Wangchuk dynasty as development boosted equally all around the country. One of them is the people of Nichula. With the construction of Hordung Suspension bridge people now have the peace and opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of towns easily. They can now travel to Phuntsholing and Barabisa within a day and return home happily. Those were the challenge by then where they took days to return home.
Summer…! Oh! With many road blocks and water rises, communication cut off and isolated, I used to consider the unluckiest civil servant to be placed in the community. But now, I see the beauty in those challenges, unique lifestyle, different environment and peace in doing the same thing differently.
Firstly, Hordung is a welcome gate to have different feeling in stepping and crossing one of the largest river in Bhutan on foot. Then you see two roads connected by a suspension bridge. Oh!! What a beauty and feeling to change two vehicles to arrive the station. I consider the bridge is the symbol of equality as the bridge doesn’t allow your new branded Prados, Land cruiser, Hilux and Duster to enter. The other side of bridge welcome with Bolero if you are lucky otherwise, equality is when you travel on foot.
Secondly, the bridge allows small gap of riding a bike. I may be wrong but I am 99% sure you will have new feeling riding bike on that longest bridge which is more than the length of 2 football ground. Your mind has to be focused with perfect sight and control otherwise; you have the fear of falling on Sunkosh River and being washed away in to the plains of India. Oh! What a life!
India is much developed but Bhutan is unique in development beside environment. The use of suspension bridge is needless in India but is the source of pride in Nichula. Many Indians travel paying entry fees in gates just to see that suspension bridge which is countless in Bhutan. Taking pictures and status updates for the pride and especially taking “self -fee” is never forgotten.
Now, let’s begin the story of White Bellied Heron in that Suspension Bridge…..
White Bellied Heron is in the heart of many conservationists especially the birders. The sighting of bird around the country could be another opportunity for the conservationist to educate community the status and importance of the bird. However, on the contrary the bird number reduction to 24(RSPN, 2018) from 28 is a sad declining status despite the effort to conservation. The bird has been spotted in new habitat many a time which I personally feel is a reminder by the nature to be environment friendly.
The lower end of Sunkosh, towards the plains of India covering the valley of Nichula and Karmiling has been identified as new habitat since 2015. The bird has been spotted every year in winter by then. Hordung suspension bridge has special importance with the bird as the bird was being spotted and captured pictographically by Mr. Tendel Wangdi who is one of the keen birder in Nichula Range for our first record. Lucky will be you to see that bird in winter beside the enchanting views of environment from the bridge.
However, with many developmental activities and machinery the bird may not be a year visitor. The area is located in the heart of development with Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) on one side and Karmaling and Nichula geog encircling it. Moreover, we have the challenge of dealing with Indian fishermen who voyage on tube making it difficult to apprehend and educate. Waste is another issue as the bridge is the center gate for all people who travel to village. Nevertheless, visit the bridge and geog for those beauties of environment and nature. You can take imprinted memories of joy and peace.