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Pilgrimage Tourism in Bhutan

Emanating mysticism and spirituality from every nook and corner, Bhutan makes for a destination unmatched to plan your next pilgrimage vacation. The great Himalayan Kingdom steeps deep in mystic Buddhist vibes and provides for a fascinating time, replete with magnificent monasteries, sacred temples and holy shrines that sit here since ancient times. Bhutan is deeply soaked in Buddhist mythology, much to an extent that Buddhism is not a mere religion here rather the country’s lifeline, and this very fact prominently reflects in their architecture, prayer flags and endless number of monasteries and temples that dot Bhutan.

Popular Religious Places in Paro

A spiritual holiday in this sacred land of Buddhism, a religious expedition in Paro that serves as the kingdom’s most important religious and cultural centre is a must. While a number of sites of great religious significance, namely, the Rinpung Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong, and Kyichu Lhakhang sprinkle through the pristine little valley, what primarily grabs the attention here is the world-famous and highly revered Taktsang Gompa or Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Paro is an ideal destination for performing pilgrimage in Bhutan. Here are some major religious sites in Paro.

Paro Taktsang/Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Perched on the edge of a rocky cliff overlooking a beautiful river meandering by, the monastery steeps in paramount divinity and provides for a spiritual experience. Adorned with mesmerizing sights of fluttering prayer flags and soft murmurs of Buddhist chants reverberating in the air make Tiger’s Nest Monastery the most important Buddhist attraction in Bhutan.

  • Visiting: 8:00AM to 4:00PM
  • Entry Fee: Nu 500

Kyichu Lhakhang

One of the oldest temples in Bhutan, Kyichu Lhakhang was built in the 7th Century the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo. This Buddhist temple in Paro is a major pilgrimage destination where the annual rites of great accomplishment for the deities Vajrasattva, Palchen Heruka, and Vajrakilaya are held for the well being of the country.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: No Charge

Religious Places in Thimphu

Thimphu, the charming capital of the Last Shangri La, is yet another place of much religious importance in Bhutan and draws a large number of spirituality seekers to bask in the city’s blissful and mystic glory. Some of the pilgrimage sites in Thimphu are:

Changangkha Lhakhang

Commence on a spiritual exploration here by visiting Changangkha Lhakhang, a magnificent monastery built in 12th century. The ancient temple is always abuzz with pilgrim activity and traditional ceremonies that provide for a unique extravaganza into the vibrant Buddhist culture.

  • Visiting Time: 6:00AM to 6:00PM
  • Entry Fee: Free

Tashichho Dzong

A Buddhist monastery and a fortress, Tashichho Dzong is also the seat of the Government of Bhutan. The original Thimphu Dzong was built in 216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanapa (1164-1224), founder of the Lhapa branch of the Drikung Kagyu. The fortress comprises 30 temples and chapels and is also the venue for Thimphu Tshechu.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: Nu 300

National Memorial Chhorten

Built in the memory of Third Druk Gyalpo, National Memroial Chhorten in Thimphu is also the symbol of World Peace. It was built in 1974 and has become a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spire and bell. The exterior gate symbolizes three protective bodhisattvas – the Avalokitevara (symbol of compassion), the Manjusri (the symbol of knowledge), and Vajrapani (the symbol of power).

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: Nu 300

Religious Places in Punakha

Just a three hours’ drive from Thimphu, lies the enchanting valley of Punakha that makes for another must visit destination when on a spiritual journey in the Himalayan country. Some of the best pilgrimage places in Punakha are:

Punakha Dzong

The valley of Punakha serves home to myriad of fascinating religious attractions, most important of which being the gorgeous Punakha Dzong that sits strategically on the confluence of two beautiful rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Enveloped in a captivating scenery, the dzong is a paradise for spirituality seekers and leave them impressed with its exquisite architecture adorned with exceptional murals and massive gold status of Lord Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung that date back to the 18th century.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: Nu 300

Chimi Lhakhang

If you are among those who love going off the beaten track for a rewarding experience, take a short hike to the stunning Chimi Lhakhang Temple and get awed with some unusual traditions and ceremonies performed to bless infertile couples with a child. The monastery is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley. Childless women usually throng this temple to seek the blessings, however mothers-to-be also visit the shrine to select the names for their future children from a collection of bamboo slip.

  • Visiting Time: 9AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: No Charge

Religious Places in Bumthang

An enriching spiritual journey is promised in the entrancing valley of Bumthang. Also known as the Buddhist heartland of the mystic country, the place is sprouted with a plethora of legendary monasteries and temples that sit here since historic times.

Jambay Lhakhang

Start your pilgrimage in Bumthang by visiting the sacred and ancient monastery, Jambay Lhakhang that counts among the oldest 108 temples built to aid spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. Built in 659 CE by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, this temple of Maitreya is one of the oldest shrines in Bhutan. The monastery is famed for its annual Tshechu, during which a number of Cham Dances are performed.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: No Charge

Kurjey Lhakhang

Named after the body print of Guru Rinpoche in a cave in Bumthang Region, Kurjey Lhakhang is an important temple complex where the remains of first three kings of Bhutan are placed. In the monastery, Kurjey Tshechu takes place every June, in which Cham Dances are performed and a giant thongdrol (thangka) is unfurled.

  • Visiting Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Entry Fee: No Charge

Other valleys and regions like Wangdue, Phobjikha, Trongsa, Trashigang of Bhutan are dotted with one or more monasteries and chortens which make for a great pilgrimage tour in the country where spirituality is the way of life.

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