Dechen Dolkar

Khasakha village in Thimphu is a shining example of how a sleepy village can transform into a bustling settlement near the capital city. 

Located 20 kilometres from Thimphu city, the village has seen incredible changes over the years despite a persistent water shortage.

Once a small settlement with only a few households, Khasakha is today crowded with buildings, bustling with activity. People from various parts of the country have flocked to the village, buying land and building homes, attracted by its fertile land and scenic surroundings.

Situated a few kilometres above Khasadrapchu town, the village is connected by a well-maintained road. However, it constantly grapples with the scarcity of both drinking and irrigation water.

Despite water shortages, the land in Khasakha is fertile, enablingvillagers to cultivate apples and vegetables.

According to the villagers, the settlement in Khasakha began in 1967.

Lobsang Sherub, a 71-year-old resident, was among the first settlers. He recalls the village being covered with poplar trees. He was 17 years old and was a dancer during the reign of the third King.

“At that time, there were around 500 people, roughly 80 households. The third King granted Khasakha as soelray for resettlement,” Lobsang Sherub recollects.

The government provided free materials for constructing houses and distributed vegetable and fruit seeds.

When Lobsang first arrived, the village was practically empty, with only six households in the nearby village of Danglo. They were also on the verge of leaving due to water scarcity.

“People who lived here before resettlement had left because of water scarcity,” Lobsang said. “There was only one household with access to a small spring from which it sourced drinking water in Danglo village.”

After resettlement, the villagers worked hard to resolve the water problem. They tapped drinking water by drilling rocks above the village and laying wooden pipes to bring water.

Disputes over drinking water arose between Khasakha and Danglo villages.

Lobsang Sherub said that from 2002 to 2003, the village’s land business began, with land values ranging from Nu 500 to Nu 600 per decimal. Since then, many villagers have sold their land, leading to new settlements.

Jamphel Tenzin, a retired soldier from Mongar bought land in 2011 for Nu 33,000 per decimal. Despite the water issues, he recently built a house and settled in Khasakha.

Another resident, who bought land in 2018 for Nu 180,000 per decimal and constructed a house, expressed dismay at the water shortage after moving in.

Over the years, the value of land has surged. It now ranges from Nu 350,000 to Nu 500,000 per decimal.

Residents said that people are still involved in the land business, and some who buy land end up selling it to others because of water scarcity.

Now, the village has more than 200 households.

Lobsang Sherub said that only 40 households belonged to the first settlers.

Despite the challenges, Khasakha continues to grow, given its proximity to the capital city.