The unspoilt pocket of the Himalayas, Bhutan is not just known for its breathtaking beauty but also for its marvellous Buddhist monasteries. Located far away from the crowded towns and tourist places, these monasteries in Bhutan take you on a peaceful journey. From the gorgeous Taktsang Monastery to the spectacular Punakha Dzong Monastery, Bhutan has so much to offer; visiting these monasteries during festivals is all together an incredible experience for tourists.
Monasteries In Paro
Bhutan monasteries are famous for their amazing architecture and peaceful environs. Have a look at some of the best ones in Paro.
1. Taktsang Monastery, Paro Valley
Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. The white building with gold plated dome, colorful flags, golden prayer wheels, and a cave temple mesmerizes every tourist and devotee. Situated at an altitude of 3120 meters in upper Paro valley, this serene abode of guru Rinpoche was demolished in fire and re-constructed in 1998. You can trek up to the monastery to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding valley or relish sumptuous Bhutanese food at Taktsang café.
Location: Taktsang Trail, Paro 11001, Bhutan
Suggested Read: 15 Places To Visit In Paro That Will Leave You Enchanted
2. Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery, Paro Valley
With lofty sculptures of Guru Rinpoche and Red Kurkulla, temple of Guru Lhakhang and chorten with ashes of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery is another popular religious structure in Paro after Taktsang. Local people, especially elderly pilgrims are seen spinning the prayer wheels, encircling the stupa. Most of these monasteries resemble Buddhist monasteries in India.
Location: Lamgong Gewog, Paro 12001, Bhutan
3. Rinpung Dzong Monastery, Paro Valley
Locally translated as ‘fortress on a heaped jewels’, Rinpung Dzong Monastery, perched on a hill slope is surely worth a visit. This Bhutan Monastery is also the administrative headquarters of Paro. The towering walls, marvelous wall paintings, and 14 shrines and chapels are some fascinating elements here. Just outside this beautiful abode, one can also see another fortress called Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum of Bhutan.
Location: Paro, Bhutan
Monasteries In Thimphu
Gather wisdom from the monks in Bhutan at these famous Thimphu monasteries. Add the best ones to your list.
4. Cheri Monastery, Thimphu
Cheri Monastery can be reached by an hour-long trek up the Dodena Hill. Constructed in 1620 by Ngwang Namgyal, this monastery is now a chief learning and retreat hub of southern Drukpa descent. The trek up to Cheri Monastery is fascinating through lush green pine and rhododendron forests. The monastery building, encircled by bright prayer flags swinging in air, serene prayer room and temple with Buddhist paintings not only make it one of the popular tourist places in Bhutan, but also the finest.
Location: Norzin Lam 2 21, Thimphu, Bhutan
5. Tango Monastery, Thimphu
Built on the meditation cave of Ngawang Namgyal, this Tango Monastery was named after a horse-head shaped rock found inside the cave itself. Built in the 13th century, it is one of the chief Buddhism educational institutes in Bhutan. Visit this monastery to see 6 temples namely Trulku Lhakhang, Choeku Lhakhang, Guru Lhakhang, Longku Lhakhang, Gonkhang, and Namsey Lhakhang in the same premises. Trulku Lhakhang is the main temple which has stunning gold and copper statue of Buddha. If you plan to visit Tango Monastery in August and September; mark the dates of ‘Yarney’- the summer retreat festival, celebrated with great pomp and grandeur.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Suggested Read: 12 Places To Visit In Paro That Will Leave You Enchanted
6. Memorial Chorten, Thimphu
Popular as Memorial Stupa and Thimphu Chorten, this holy abode consists of golden spires, bells, assembly halls, paintings, and a famous photograph of Druk Gyalpo in ceremonial attire. Unlike other monasteries of Bhutan, Memorial Chorten does not enshrine human residues. The beautiful garden surrounding the stupa, the gate with slate carvings, statues, and murals appeal to every traveler.
Location: Choten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Monasteries In Bumthang
Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan are amazing centres and points of attraction. These places are not just serent but have positive vibes. Have a look at some of the Bumthang monasteries.
7. Kurjey Lhakhang Monastery, Bumthang
Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the most ancient monasteries of Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche left his body print in the cave temples of the monastery. This is also the resting place of first three kings of Bhutan. A tall cypress tree is located beside the main temple which is assumed to be the walking stick of Guru Rinpoche.
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8. Tamshing Lhakhang Monastery, Bumthang
The place of Buddhist sacred mask dances and Tsechu festival, Tamshing Lhakhang is another monastery in Bhutan. This monastery is visited by numerous locals and devotees to perform religious ceremonies and prayers. This is one of the few monasteries of Bhutan preserving the teachings of Pema Lingpa.
Monasteries In Other Towns Of Bhutan
Other than these towns, there are a few more monasteries worth visiting in Bhutan. Have a look.
9. Punakha Dzong Monastery, Punakha
As the second Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong is the present winter house of Dratshang – the head monk. The monastery boasts of sanctified remnants of Drukpa period, Ngawang Namgyal, and Terton Pema Lingpa. The sparkling white stupa, Bodhi tree, chapel for queen of Nagas, and the hundred pillar assembly hall are other elements of charm in the monastery.
10. Lhuentse Dzong Monastery, Lhuntse
Soak in the overwhelming spirituality of Lhuentse Dzong – the expansive fortress overlooking the picturesque Kirichu River. This Buddhist monastery in Bhutan was originally built by Kuenga Wangpo, but revamped by Mingyur Tenpa in 1654. The main temple is dedicated to lord Padmasambhava. Trek for about an hour from the monastery to reach Khoma village – popular for weaving of Kishu Thara cloth.
11. Jambay Lhakhang Monastery, Jakar
One of the 108 temples built by Songstan Gampo – the mighty Tibetan King, Jambay Lhakhang Monastery pulls thousands of tourists during its grand long annual festival of midnight sacred naked dances. Situated on the borderland of Tibet, Jambay Lhakhang is a vintage Bhutan monastery, comprising of murals, wall paintings and small temples.
Location: Jakar, Bhutan
12. Gangteng Monastery, Phodrang
As an important lineage of Pema Lingpa, this Gangteng Monastery belongs to the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Gangteng Monastery is one of the must see tourist places in Bhutan, that comprises of colourful temples, 11 faced AvalokitesvaraLhakhang, Shedra’s Assembly Hall, and an exclusive collection of weapons and armory.
You can roam the historic Thimphu and the gorgeous Paro valley, and then cross the serpentine trails that take you to the ancient monasteries and let you experience the true bliss. Those interested in exploring the land of happiness can book a Bhutan trip for a safe and hassle-free journey.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Monasteries In Bhutan
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