The beautiful Laya valley is also known as Austra-Laya( meaning Australia for many uneducated people from other districts of Bhutan. As many educated Bhutanese prefer to visit Australia in pursuit of making money, Laya is famous amongst uneducated rural mass. The high mountains of Laya have made nomads fatter in terms of money.
These beautiful mountains of Laya provides perfect host for cordyceps (Chinese caterpillar) which can fetch good amount of money in both local and international market. This year (2015) a kilogram of top quality cordyceps fetched around Nu.1400, 000 approximately equal to $ 23333. The economy of nomads got shoot up within short span of time after His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo granted royalty to harvest the cordyceps a decade ago. Today we can find no Layaps with less than few hundred thousand of bucks in their pocket. Another extravaganza of Layaps can be smelled through their expensive compound bow. None of them handle a bow that is worth less than 100,000 ngultrum.
Last time I went to deposit few thousands of ngultrum in my account at Gasa BoB (Bank of Bhutan) branch. Shortly I was followed by a Layap women shabbily dressed in her local attire. She must be in mid fifties I assumed. She plodded towards me with slight hesitation in her face, but her shy smile never went off her wrinkled face. Her cone shaped bamboo hat was still resting on her head very comfortably. “Lopen would you mine to fill up this deposit form. I have few amount of ngultrum to be deposited”, she requested to me with her high tone voice. Usually highlanders of Bhutan have sharp tone of voice that irritates our ears. “Yes I will do it for you I answered her” and instantly she lent her deposit form to me. As I started filling up the form I inquired her” “How many amount of ngultrum you have to deposit? Can you tell me the number of different notes as it is mandatory to write in the form? “Lopen I don’t have much amount to be deposited, I have only 1700,000 ngultrum. Here it is and you can count the notes and fill up the form accordingly” she told in her normal voice and handed over the money to me. Oh my god! I have never handled such a huge amount of money in my life time though I am average civil servant. Finally she thanked me with her withered smile.