A crack on the cliff across Drangmechu along the Trashigang-Trashiyangtse continues to fascinate passersby today. The fissure resembles a female pudendum.
The cliff opposite Jamkhar gewog in Trashiyagntse derives its name, Nangkhar Ama’s Baga, from its shape, which literally translates to the ‘Nangkhar Ama’s Pudenda.’
The tale surrounding the infamous cliff has several versions of its own, none of which has been documented officially.
Deemed as a myth of embarrassment, residents especially women of the gewog shy away whenever the topic is discussed.
According to one of the many accounts that have been widely accepted among the gewog, the story dates back to the time when giants walked the face of earth along with human.
A village elder, Dorji, faintly recollects the story shared by his great grandfather during one of the family gatherings.
The 72-year-old said that a battle of wits was raging between the mansang (giants) of Tibet and Bhutan.
As a part of the challenge, the Tibetan giant had sent a sack full of wheat for the Bhutanese giant to count. The Bhutanese giant successfully completed the count and in return sent the Tibetan giant a sack full of buckwheat to count. The Tibetan giant was unable to count the buckwheat and lost to the Bhutanese.
In the second round of competition, the Tibetan giant sent a curled sheep horn for the Bhutanese to straighten. The Bhutanese was once again successful as he dipped the horn in hot water to uncoil it.
The Bhutanese giant then sent a coiled gourd for the Tibetan to uncoil it. When dipped in hot water, the gourd broke and the Tibetan giant lost once again.
Frustrated, the Tibetan giant challenged the Bhutanese giant for a physical battle. The Bhutanese accepted the challenge and called the Tibetan to visit him in Bhutan.
The Tibetan giant chose to come via Khamdang-Ramjar-Jamkhar direction in the east. And for his visit, a reception was asked to be prepared in Khamdang.
“Khamdang Ama was asked to prepare the reception which she failed. The giant was angry which is why he uprooted all the trees in Khamdang area,” said Dorji. “This is the reason why Khamgang area is barren today.”
Another reception was asked to be prepared in Jamkhar where Nangkhar Ama was put in charge of the reception. Nangkhar village is located on the foot of Jamkhar gewog and the village is in ruins today.
Belittling the Tibetan giant, Nangkhar Ama refused to make the arrangements. When the giant reached Nangkhar, she was taking shower.
“The mansang was furious to see the ama disrespect him so he ripped out the ama’s pudenda and threw it on to the cliff on the other side of the river. The pudenda remains as a symbol of Nangkhar ama’s disrespect to the giant,” said Dorji.
According to another account, the shape on the cliff is believed to have formed when Nangkhar Ama carved her own genital to avert an impending fight between her husband and a secret lover with whom she had extramarital affair.
Nangkhar Ama was believed to be the most beautiful woman in the region and anyone who laid their eyes on her wanted to sleep with her. Despite being married to one of the richest man in the region, Nangkhar Khochey, her lust for wealth knew no boundary.
That led her to have an extramarital affair with another wealthy man, Dhungro Khochey. The two met in a cave nearby. This went on for many years until one day Nangkhar Khochey came to know about his wife’s affair.
The two khocheys were prepared to fight for Nangkhar Ama. If the fight occurred, both the villages would have been wiped out totally. To stop that from happening, Nangkhar Ama decided to remove the root cause of the battle, her pudenda. Nangkhar Ama here is hailed as a legend who saved the two villages from turning into a battlefield.
The story of Nangkhar Ama’s bravery still intrigues the people and many still remember her for physical and sensual appeal. During monsoon, people say that the crack on the cliff oozes water symbolising that during that time of the year, women in Jamkhar become easy lays and that they are prone to cheating their husbands for material gains.
“This might be some jokes created by men in the village to lure women. Of course, there is no truth in it,” said Dorji.
Jamkhar Gup Karma Tshewang said that because there was no documented account about the history of the cliff, people had their own version of the story.
“However, the story of giants is the one that majority of the elders share with their young,” he said. “Women don’t talk about it at all because it’s embarrassing.”
The villagers in the past used the pudenda cliff as a clock. Exactly at around 1:30pm, the sun casts a shadow on cliff, signaling the farmers to break for lunch.
“The sun is on the pudenda, lets break for lunch,” used to be a regular statement back when there were no watches, said Dorji, laughing.
Younten Tshedup | Jamkhar