The essence of the experience
Thimphu is both the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Ideally located on the west of the country, this high altitude city is awash with history, Buddhist temples, monasteries, and culture. Delight in a short hike to Tanga Goempa monastery, initially built in the 13th century, but perfected by the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688. Tanga literally translates to ‘horse head’ in honour of the main idol, Hayagriva, consecrated in the monastery. Legend has it that a lama heard the echo of a horse neigh in the direction of the cliffs, only for the crags to take the form of the god Tandin, consumed by flames. It was prophesised that a monastery and temple would be built at the site and dedicated to meditation and prayer. The temple is a short 30-minute drive from Thimpu, followed by an hour long walk through an iridescent violet and crimson rhododendron cloaked woodland. The monastery has a rich history, where colourful lamas added to the structure over centuries, and venerated saints meditated within its walls at times of war. Today, the monastery serves as a Buddhist University with nearly 300 monk scholars in residence. Next, head off on a walking adventure leading further up the mountains around the Drolay loop, in clear view of panoramic backdrops, a hot stone bath and soccer meadow habitually used by monks, and a calm, translucent creek. Pass by a towering ridge, unveiling the Drolay Goemba, wondrously enveloped by jade-hued woodlands, stippled with charming mediation huts. End the tour with unparalleled views of the Cheri monastery, surrounding mountain ranges, and the city of Thimpu, before enjoying a delightful picnic in majestic Jigme Dorji National Park.