Bhutan is a Buddhist country. The culture, traditions and living styles of its people are usually inspired by Buddhism principles and precepts. And almost all temples and monasteries are of Buddhist. Therefore, if you are in Bhutan on Buddhist travel packages or pilgrimage, you can visit some of the Buddhist temples of Thimphu City.
#1 Kuenselphodrang Buddha
On a hill of Kueselphodrang above Thimphu town is great Buddha Dordenma statue. It’s where 169 ft bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma Thimphu, internationally acclaimed to be the largest statue of Buddha, is located. Buddha Point is one of the famous Thimphu Bhutan points of interest. It’s good for Thimphu sightseeing and landscape photography. It’s a statue from outside, but inside is temple.
#2 Dechenphu Lhakhang
This temple is among pristine pine forest to the north of Thimphu. It’s the resident of Bhutan’s War Lord Ap Genyen. The name ‘Thimphu’ originated when the lord disappeared inside a rock, which is still visible in front of the temple. It takes about half an hour on a drive from Thimphu town to get there. It’s also a good place to visit in Thimphu for pilgrims.
#3 Tango Monastery
It’s one of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Bhutan. It’s now a centre of Buddhist studies. Though Phajo Drugom Zhipo founded, it was only later Desi Tenzin Rabgye started the monastery. Legend has that Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madman) also mediated there. Now it’s a home for 50+ Buddhist monks. It’s 21 kilometers from Thimphu town. Visitors have to travel on foot from its base and takes an hour to get there.
#4 Cheri Goemba
Cheri is at an almost equal altitude to Tango Monastery and is one of the famous temples in Bhutan. You have to take left route from Tango-Cheri Base. Bhutanese often visit it for pilgrimage. Bhutan’s first Central Monastic Body came up in this monastery. The route to it though is bit uphill, visitors can have short hike through pristine forest enjoying distant views of northern Thimphu.
#5 Dema Zhingkham
Dema Zhingkham is the only temple in Bhutan that is in exclusive dedication to Tara, the goddess of liberation. Its classic architectural design with good number of statues and religious figure paintings makes one of the best places of interest and Buddhist temples of Thimphu city.
#6 Druk Wangyel Lhakhang
Your visit to Dochula Pass can be a combination of sightseeing, hiking and also pilgrimage. On a hilltop, just behind those 108 chortens, there is Druk Wangyel Lhakhang to see beautiful canvas paintings of Buddhist religious figures. Don’t forget to go behind the temple and enjoy distant view of white mountains.
#7 Pangri Zampa Lhakhang
In few meters away from Drolma Zhingkham Lhakhang is the college of Bhutanese Astrology. Zhabdrung stayed in this site after he arrived Bhutan in 1616. It’s one of the popular places to visit in Thimphu given its classic architectural designs of the main temple and a wooden cantilever bridge over Thimphu river. A cypress tree in the complex is the largest and most sacred in the country.
#8 Dodedrak Goemba
Dodedrak is also one of the places to visit in Thimphu that offers both hiking and pilgrimage opportunities. It’s located among peaceful forest of pine trees. The Goemba is in dedication to three Buddhas, Tselha Namsum and Gelwa Yapsey Sum. To visit it, you can start either from Dechencholing or from Jungzhina. It takes 4-5 hours in a round trip. Visitors get to listen many wonderful life stories of Je Yonten Thaye, 13th Chief Abbot of Bhutan who started this Goemba.
#9 Trashigang Goemba
On the way to Dochula Pass from Thimphu, if you can spare around half an hour from your travel and drive towards right, there is Trashigang Goemba. It’s a 300 years plus old temple that has statues of more than 10 Je Khenpos (Chief Abbots) of Bhutan. It was started by 15th Je Khenpo, Kuenga Jamtsho. It also has a temple dedicated to Dorji Chang, Jetsum Drolma and Phakpai Neten Chudruk (sixteen Arhats).
#10 Drolung Goemba
This temple sits on a hilltop opposite to Tango and Cheri Monasteries. Though the trail is through thick forest of birches and pines, the joy of being there is awesome – you’ll have a feeling of walking among clouds. 69th Chief Abbot of Bhutan started it as his main meditation centre. So visitors can see his bed and walking stick. There are also many ancient guns and war items.
This list was prepared keeping the interest of tourists; combination of hiking and pilgrimage. There are other Buddhist Temples in Thimphu. This is just a short list of Monasteries in Bhutan. You can also visit Thimphu chorten, Dechenphodrang Monastery, Changangkha Lhakhang Thimphu, Thadrak Goemba and Talakha Goemba. In Bhutan, all Dzongs also have temples which hold statues of Buddhist masters like Buddha, Zhabdrung and Guru Padmasambhava.
Recommend to read following travel experiences and exciting travel stories from Bhutan:
- Travel to Gasa Bhutan – Land of Unnatural Peaks & Hot Springs.
- Photography Hike to Phajoding Monastery.
- To Lhuentse Singye Dzong – Slice of Last Shangri-La in Bhutan.
- Hidden Temple of Thimphu – Trashigang Goemba.
- Chorten Kora – Stupa that tells stories of Tawang and Bhutan.
- Tachog Lhakhang – Temple of Bhutan’s 900+ years old Bridge.
- Place of interest in Thimphu – Dodedrak Goemba.
- Tango Monastery and Drolung Goemba – A day’s Hike in Thimphu.
- Less Tourists Place of Thimphu – Drolung Goemba.
- Romantic Nature Park in Thimphu | Ludrong Memorial Garden.