Environment: Planting 49,718 blue pine and cypress saplings within an hour, 100 women beat the record set by 100 men last year at Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu.

The social forestry day began with religious ceremonies at 5am. Monks prayed for the accomplishment of the major feat the women were to attempt a few hours later.

The clock struck 9:10am and 100 local women jumped into action.

They hopped from one hole to another over the 12 and a half-acre area near the majestic Guru statue trying to plant as many as 50,000 saplings within an hour.

They were divided into 10 teams with 10 members each and given 5,000 seedlings.

Within 30 minutes, the participants planted more than 30,000 tree saplings. In 45 minutes, most of the women completed planting the rest of the trees. Those who finished planting their share helped others. They rechecked to ensure it was done properly.

When the judges called to stop, they dropped everything with a huge sigh of relief. Some looked at each other anxiously, sweating and heaving.

Of 100 women, 67 were farmers and the rest school students, forest officials and volunteers from six gewogs under Lhuentse.

The coordinator, Senior Forest Officer, Ugyen Wangchuk said, “Men set a record last year by planting the maximum trees at Buddha Point and were awarded the Guinness World Record. This event is to give the opportunity to women to do the same.”

The team practised for three days. Volunteers said that the event helped build physical strength and also learn the planting technique.

They planted an average of eight trees every minute on steep and unfriendly terrain.

“I was blown away,” said Pema Deki, 25 from Menbi gewog. In one hour, every individual had planted 500 trees. “I am so proud of our planters for this accomplishment.”

Volunteers said the task is not complete yet.

“Most of us are from the dzongkhag so we can take care of them until they become bigger,” Tshering Choden said.

“It is once in our lifetime we get such opportunity to make women feel proud,” said another volunteer, Choki Wangmo.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay congratulated them on his Facebook account.

“Our women have done it! They have proved that they are stronger, quicker and more determined than men! They have broken the world record set by the 100 strong men who planted 49,627 trees in one hour last year. Moments ago, at Takila, 100 women planted 49,718 trees in one hour. Congratulations!!!!

National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo announced the result of the attempt during a sessionscongratulating them for the achievement.

Tshering Palden and Tashi Phuntsho | Takila