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Monasteries in Bhutan

Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the most unspoilt pockets of Himalayas. As the population majorly comprises of Buddhists, it’s given that the country would have some of the most captivating and picturesque monasteries. These monasteries in Bhutan are truly the epitome of the country’s ancient heritage and history. Commonly referred to as Dzongs, these monasteries were built as a defence mechanism to avoid any attack from the enemies. However, they now serve as cultural and religious centres in the country. Settled far away from the hustle bustle of the city and set against the backdrop of breathtaking hills, these Buddhist monasteries look like nature’s impeccable pictures.

These are the Top 5 Most Visited Monasteries in Bhutan

S.No Monastery Name City Name
1 Taktsang Monastery Paro
2 Punakha Dzong Punakha
3 Chery Monastery Thimphu
4 Trongsa Dzong Trongsa
5 Rinpung Dzong Paro

Taktsang Monastery/Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro

One cannot miss the mesmerising beauty of Taktsang Dzong, typically known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The white structure combined with gold plated dome, colourful flags and prayer wheels looks absolutely stunning from a distance. Situated at an altitude of more than 3000 mtrs, one has to trek up in order to reach there.

  • Visiting Time: 8:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to Mid-November
  • Places to Visit Around: Rinpung Dzong and National Museum

Punakha Dzong, Punakha

Punakha Dzong is yet another mesmerising dzong which stands at the confluence of Phochu and Mo Chhu rivers. Located not very far from Thimphu, the Dzong is one of the oldest and largest in the country. The white washed walls, striking stupa surrounded by the spectacular beauty of hills and a river flowing in the front is truly a sight to behold. The Dzong still acts as a winter residence of Dratshang – the present monk.

  • Visiting Time: 8:30AM to 5:00PM (1:00PM to 3:00PM Lunch Break)
  • Best Time to Visit: February to Mid-May
  • Places to See Around: Chimi Lhakhang, Suspension Bridge, Jigme Dorji National Park, Mo Chhu.

Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu

Thimphu’s Tashichho Dzong built on the banks of the Wangchhu River is one of the sacred monasteries of Bhutan. It stands tall despite struck with natural calamities. Considered as Thimphu’s iconic building, it serves as a monastery as well as central secretariat of the government. The Dzong is surrounded by a pretty looking rose garden which makes it look even better. Thimphu’s tour is incomplete without visiting this monastery.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM (11:00AM to 4:00PM on Govt. Holidays)
  • Best Time to Visit: Round the Year
  • Places to See Around: Thimphu Chu, Folk Heritage Museum, Royal Textile Academy, Centenary Farmers’ Market.

Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa

The stunning beauty of Trongsa Dzong will surely drive you crazy. Overlooking the deep valley of Mangde Chhu and surrounded by lush green mountains, the dzong represents Bhutan’s rich cultural and religious heritage. The aesthetically paved corridors, wide stairs and lovely looking courtyards make the dzong one of the most beautiful buildings of Bhutan.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Best Time to Visit: November to February
  • Places to See Around: Chendebji Chorten and Thruepang Palace

Gangtey Monastery, Gangtey

Describing Gangtey monastery, which is located on a high altitude of the Gangtey valley is like describing a story. The stunning looking structure houses one of the biggest halls of Bhutan, beautiful looking temples, pretty courtyards and collection of arms and weapons. Situated little far from Thimphu, this should definitely be a part of the itinerary.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Best Time to Visit: September to November
  • Places to See Around: Kumbu Lhakhang and Gangtey Nature Trail

Chagri/Cheri Monastery, Thimphu

A major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, Chagri Monastery in Thimphu makes for an important attraction. The place is said to have been visited by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th Century and Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan in the 13th century. The monastery was built by Ngawang Namgyal in 1620.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Best Time to Visit: Round the Year
  • Places to See Around: Tango Gompa, Dzongkhag Monastery, Droley Goenpa

Rinpung Dzong, Paro

A Buddhist Monastery as well as a fortress, Rinpung Dzong is one of the major highlights of Paro. It is a five-storey building that has impressive Buddhist architecture and history. Inside the fortress, there are 14 temples and chapels. Outside the main door is Deyangkha Temple.

  • Visiting Time: 8:00AM to 6:00PM (summers) 8:00AM to 4:00PM (winters)
  • Best Time to Visit: March-April (For Paro Tshechu)
  • Places Around: Ta Dzong (National Museum), Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang, Dasho Nishioka Chorten
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