"Why do Laya zam wear the Pema Chorten hats?" I ask Wangchu.
“Shabdrung instructed all the people of Bhutan to cut their hair short so they wouldn’t look like the long-haired Tibetans,” adds Zam. “The Tibetans’ long hair tangled in the jungle when they invaded Bhutan and the short-haired Bhutanese easily overcame them. We Layaps live high above the jungle with the yak and long ago, before Shabdrung, Guru Rinpoche gave us our dress and told us to keep our hair long. We only cut our hair once —at twelve years old. That is why Laya zam hair grows very straight and long and beautiful.”