Bhutan is an ever-charming destination of Himalayan region. Among the distinctive features of Bhutan, the one thing that stands above all is its collection of monasteries. Buddhism is followed with greater importance in Bhutan and thus, you can find monasteries in every region of the country. This article will talk in detail about the top five monasteries of Bhutan.
1. Paro Valley’s Taktsang Monastery
This is the epic monastery of the region. It is famous for the unique architecture of white building decorated with gold-plated domes. Inside, you can find many statues, inscriptions, colorful prayer flags, prayer wheels made of gold and so on. The monastery is located more than 3000 m above sea level and one has to trek for around an hour to reach this monastery. From the monastery, you can enjoy a flawless view of the valley. Do not forget to try the local cuisine at the café in the monastery.
2. Thimphu’s Cheri Monastery
This monastery is located on the top of Dodena Hill. You ought to trek for an hour, up the hill to reach this 17th century monastery. Today, it is the chief learning center for descendants of Southern Drukpa. The trek route is a beauty by itself as you get to travel through pure rhododendron forests, fresh pine forests and other natural beauties. Inside the monastery, you can find many rituals, unique religious paintings, prayer room for meditation, temples, prayer flags and much more.
3. Paro Valley’s Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery
This is the temple of Guru Lhakhang and is famous for chorten filled with ashes of the guru. This is an important religious destination than just a sightseeing spot. You can find old pilgrims meditating and turning the prayer wheel. Pilgrims who visit this monastery encircle the stupa as a religious ritual. You can also take part in the rituals and meditations along with the monks.
4. Thimpu’s Tango Monastery
This monastery was built on a cave, which was used in the past as a meditation place by gurus of the religion. Today, it is an important Buddhism educational institute. You can find six unique temples in this monastery namely Choeku Lhakhang, Gonkhang, Namsey Lhakhang, Guru Lhakhang and others. The Trulku Lhakhang is the temple of greater importance inside the monastery. This temple holds a large statue of Buddha made with copper and gold. If you are planning to visit Bhutan between August and September, take part in the summer retreat festival, Yarney, which takes place inside the monastery.
5. Punakha’s Dzong Monastery
This was the second monastery, which was built in the country. Today, it is the winter house of the head monk of the region, Dartshang. This monastery is famous for its historic elements of Drukpa period. You can find chapels of the royals, assembly hall with hundred pillars, Bodhi tree, white stupa and much more, in this monastery.
Apart from these, you can find many other striking monasteries in Bhutan like RinpungDzong Monastery of Paro Valley, Memorial Chorten of Thimpu, Kurjey Lhakhang Monastery of Bumthang and so on.