Monasteries in Bhutan are spiritual, cultural, and architectural treasures. Monks lead a life of prayer and meditation, yet they also have responsibilities that include farming, managing the monastery community’s land, collecting donations for charity work & more.
Looking to find the best monasteries to visit in Bhutan? This blog will help you plan your visit to Bhutan!
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Twenty years ago, Bhutan was still an unknown country on the map, and today it is unrivalled! Absolutely worth trekking to see Bhutan’s mountains, jungles, temples and pristine Buddhist monasteries!
Bhutan is famous for its rich Buddhist heritage. The country has a very high literacy rate, and the people are generally well-educated in Buddhism to some degree. You might have heard that Bhutan prioritises their citizens’ happiness over their GDP, but
Did you know? Everybody in Bhutan celebrates their birthday on the same day! :
When was the last time you forgot someone you cared about’s birthday? Bhutanese, fortunately, do not face this problem. Bhutanese nationals all officially become a year older on New Year’s Day, and hence, celebrate their birthdays too on the same day!
Monasteries are the centre of the Buddhist culture in Bhutan. There are over a thousand monasteries in Bhutan, and most of them were built during the 17th century by Tibetan refugees who fled from Tibet.
Aren’t you intrigued to know more and visit the beautiful country? Wait till the end of the blog to know the best monasteries to visit in Bhutan!
Let’s get started!
How To Reach Bhutan From India?
Bhutan is a small country with 38,394 square kilometres and a population of 800,000. It is located between the two most populous countries in the world – India and China.
Traveling to Bhutan:
Travelling to Bhutan from India is an easy task. There are flights available almost every hour, and the flight lasts for around 90 minutes. The capital city of Thimphu has an airport, and the other major cities have airports as well. Tourists can also enter Bhutan via road from India, but they will need a visa to do so.
The Bhutanese currency:
The Bhutanese currency is called the Ngultrum, which has an exchange rate of approximately 1 USD = 1 Ngultrum. You can use Indian rupees in Bhutan, but you will need to exchange them at the airport. However, it is best to use Ngultrums while you are there because they have a better exchange rate than Indian rupees. Ngultrums can be exchanged at the airport, and some banks in Bhutan will exchange your money for you.
Getting around in Bhutan:
The best way to get around in Bhutan is by renting a car or hiring a taxi. You can rent cars from the airport, and some travel agencies in Thimphu will help you arrange transportation around Bhutan.
Best Time to Visit Bhutan:
Bhutan is best visited between October and December when the air is pure and fresh with sunny skies. The weather is cooler in January and February, but the temperature remains dry and pleasant until April, when the famous rhododendrons blossom gloriously, filling the valleys with colour.
What Is So Special About The Monasteries in Bhutan?
> Monasteries in Bhutan are not just religious places. They also serve as schools, hospitals and community centres for the local people. The monks at these monasteries teach locals how to read and write, perform religious rituals and ceremonies, and provide medical care.
> Monasteries also serve as the centre of cultural activities in Bhutan. People from nearby villages will visit these monasteries to watch dance performances, play traditional musical instruments, and participate in various festivals.
> Monasteries are also the place where you can learn about the history of Bhutan. You will have a chance to learn about the ancient stone carvings, religious rituals and many other things that make Bhutan such an interesting place.
> Monasteries are also very beautiful places. You can see the beautiful murals, thankas and statues. You will also be able to see monks in their traditional dress.
So if you are planning a trip to Bhutan, make sure that you visit these monasteries in Bhutan. You will have a chance to learn about Bhutan’s culture and traditions and see some beautiful places.
Monasteries in Bhutan you MUST visit!
1. Paro Taktsang: With the tiger’s nest!
The Taktsang is famous for the Tiger’s Nest. It is one of the most important temples in all Bhutan. It is also known for its interesting festivals like the Paro tshechu and the Wangdiphodrang Lhakhang festival. The Paro Taktsang has some very interesting legends and myths. It is said that Guru Rinpoche meditated in the Taktsang for 3 years without eating anything at all.
The monastery at Paro Taktsang is definitely a place to visit! The monastery is on the side of a cliff and has a lot of beautiful murals and art history. The Abbey was built in 1692 and it’s considered one of “the central objects in Bhutan’s religiopolitical history”.
2. The Punakha Dzong: A monastery built post the battle of the lamas!
The Punakha Dzong is located in the district of Punakha. This dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is also the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, who is the chief abbot in Bhutan.
The Punakha Dzong has a very interesting history behind it. It was built after the Battle of Five Lamas. The battle was between Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and five rival lamas who were trying to get rid of him. In this battle, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was victorious. Like their infamous golden roof, they have unique architecture and celebrate many interesting festivals like Punakha Dzongdum.
3. Chagri Dorjeden Monastery: The beauty of Chagri village!
Chagri Dorjeden Monastery is located in the beautiful Chagri village. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built the monastery, and it is one of the very famous monasteries in Bhutan. The monastery has a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls.
It is also a part of UNESCO cultural heritage sites to protect its natural beauty. School students from the local area are also provided with free education.
4. Gangteng Monastery: A historical monastery!
Gangteng Monastery is a very popular monastery in Bhutan, and it’s located in the Phobjikha Valley. It is one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan, and it has a very rich history as well. The Gangteng Monastery was established by Ngawang Namgyal, who is considered the founder of Bhutan. The monastery is located in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains, valleys and forests.
The monks at Gangteng Monastery (by foot from Bhutan) have protected these ancient temples for centuries. All tombs on the premises are still being used. When you visit Bhutan and see this place, the power you will feel is out of the world! The monks and nuns keep their rituals, customs and tradition with simplicity.
5. Phajoding Monastery: The monastery with the best view!
Phajoding Monastery is another popular monastery in Bhutan, and it is located in the Paro Valley. This place was established by Ngawang Choegyal, who was one of the sons of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The monastery is situated on a hilltop, and it overlooks the Paro Valley, which makes it a worthy view.
The monastery was established in the 17th century, and it is a good example of Bhutanese architecture. The main chapel has many interesting murals that are worth seeing.
This was my list of the monasteries in Bhutan you MUST visit! When I went to Bhutan, I was spellbound by the prevalent culture and just how lovely their people are. I would definitely recommend my readers to get a taste of what living in Bhutan feels like.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog. If you wish to read more such blogs, you can check out my blogs on www.gulshanbafna.com. See you there!
Which of these monasteries in Bhutan are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.