I was done with Tango Monastery and Cheri Goemba Hikes. The hiking trails to them are away from bustles of urban settlement – Thimphu. They have offered me an opportunity to appreciate nature. Because those places of interest in Thimphu are only few places that are still epitomes of ancient Bhutan. They still retain many aspects of medieval Bhutan.
When I am still in love with those places, I thought to explore more of them and its excursions. Therefore, recently I undertook a hike to Drolung Goemba. Now I can say that so much Tango Monastery and Cheri Goemba are beautiful; Dhrolung Goemba also has its own share of offering wonders.
Dhrolung Goemba is on a hilltop opposite to Tango Monastery and Cheri Goemba. However, if we talk geographically it’s at a higher altitude compare to Tango and Cheri. The nature trail to Dhrolung Goemba also starts from Dodena; Tango-Cheri Base.
History of Dhrolung Goemba
Dhrolung Goemba isn’t as old as Tango Monastery or Cheri Goemba. Because it was started by 69th Je Khenpo of Bhutan, Geshe Gendun Rinchen. This means we can say that Dhrolung Goemba must have been started in late 90s. Geshe Gendun Rinchen was Je Khenpo of Bhutan during the period of 1990-96.
One day when Geshe Genden Rinchen was under meditation at Tango Monastery, he saw many auspicious signs on this hill. Subsequently he had a vision where deity Langdrapa requesting him to build a temple on the hill. Accordingly he started Drolung Goemba.
It’s said that Geshe Genden Rinchen has spent his life at Drolung Goemba so much he did at Tango Monastery. Since he started it as his personal meditation centre, it’s assumed that his attachment to the beauty and blessing to sacredness of this Goemba is something undeniable.
There are number of Buddhist books, scriptures and poems authored by Geshe Gendun Rinchen. Bhutanese believe that maximum of them were composed when he was at Dhrolung Goemba under meditation.
Therefore, now there are many monks at Drolung Goemba who are undergoing retreat. It’s believed that this place has an inherited power of helping people who are meditating to discover self essences that would help in liberating sentient beings. It’s one of the most sacred and recommended sites for retreat in Bhutan.
Specialties of Dhrolung Goemba
When you are at Dhrolung Goemba, you are closest with the living styles Geshe Gendun Rinchen had during those days. Pilgrims get to see his artistic skills of painting and sculpturing. There are few ceramic statues that were made by him.
Gomchen (caretaker monk) there takes us to bedroom of Geshe Gendun Rinchen where he mediated and realized different level of understanding. We can also see his mattresses, pillow, rosary and also walking staff.
Drolung Goemba offers good view of upper Thimphu valley for on-lookers and landscape photography enthusiasts. Distant beauty of Tango Monastery, Cheri Goemba and Dzongkha Lhakhang are also something it has to offer its tourists.
Travel to Drolung Goemba
If you have undertaken Tango Monastery Hike and Cheri Goemba Hike, and enjoyed yourself in both the hikes, I am sure you’ll also love hiking to Drolung Goemba.
The trail that takes to Drolung Goemba starts from Tango-Cheri Base and goes through thick forest of hemlock, pines, oak and rhododendrons with occasional views of Tango and Cheri. Though the trail is longer, you won’t feel taxed physically. The trail has gradient of gentle slope till its end.
If you are taking some rations or edibles for monks who are on retreat there, you can hire horses from the base. The rates are reasonable and you’ll feel like you’re travelling to one of the remote places of Bhutan. At times you’ll feel like you are back to ancient Bhutan during which pony was the main transportation mode.
Misc notes of Drolung Goemba Hike
Drolung Goemba is basically a meditation centre. When I visited it last time, I was told there are more than 30 monks who are on retreat. This means when you visit Drolung Goemba, unlike in other tourist attractions of Thimphu, you shouldn’t make noises and roam unnecessarily.
Drolung Goemba maybe a sacred site of Thimphu. However, it isn’t freely accessible for public. Indeed even if it’s open for public, they don’t allow us going beyond the main temple.
If you are taking some rations or other edibles for monks there, you must inform and remain seated in a small guest room. You’ll be served with tea and snacks. But you cannot see any single monk who is under meditation period.
There is no official opening and closing timings for Dhrolung Goemba. However, from my personal experiences it would be better you visit during early spring and late autumn when nature is at its best attire.
Dhrolung Goemba Excursions
Tango Monastery is closer to Dhrolung Goemba compare to Cheri Goemba. Therefore, we can visit both in one day travel. It’s your choice which you want to visit first. There is a nature trail linking them without having to return to base.
The trail that connects Tango and Dhrolung Goemba is through thick forest of rhododendrons and hemlocks. When you are about to cross a stream between the two goembas, there is a green meadow where you can take rest or have lunch. I felt it would be a good spot for outdoor camping.
When you are at Tango, you’ll enjoy the splendid beauty of monastery temple with backdrops of clean mountains and white fluffy clouds. There is a museum where you get to see ancient religious artifacts and other items that are as old as 300 years.
On return, Dodena temple and its wooden cantilever bridge, Guru Lhakhang at Begana and Guru’s painting on huge rock at Dechencholing are something that would worth your stop. If you have time, also try visiting Dechenphu Lhakhang, Pangrizampa Lhakhang and Dema Lhakhang.
Recommend to read following travel experiences and exciting travel stories from Bhutan:
- The largest Guru Nangsi Zilnon Statue – Travel Map to Lhuentse Takila.
- Eastern Bhutan Travel – My experiences at Yonphula Airport.
- Paro Tshechu in the past and present.
- Zhuk Drak Temple – Taktshang Lhakhang in Bumthang?
- Place of interest in Thimphu – Dodedrak Goemba.
- Bumthang Travel – The experiences and stories of Traveller.
- Travel to Gasa – The land of unnatural peaks in Bhutan.
- Mystical Mebartsho or the Burning Lake of Bumthang.
- Travel Punakha to experince River Rafting in Bhutan.
- Bumdeling – The winter residence of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan.