We were in Thimphu on weekend i.e. Sunday, almost all the sightseeing places were closed on that day and we decided to visit Tango Monastery in Thimphu.
Bhutan is famous for its spectacular monasteries. Some of them are located on hilltops with spectacular landscapes around; few require mild hikes, and few can be reached with a good 3-4 hours hike. They can be as old as the 12th century. We decided to visit Tango & Cherry monasteries one of the offbeat Places to Visit in Bhutan.
Tango and Cherry monasteries are located about 14 km from Thimphu, perched high up on the mountain. We started moving towards Cherry and Tango monasteries along the river. When I saw the gushing river around us, I was unable to stop myself and rushed to the banks, soaked my feet in the water, and spend 15-20 minutes before heading ahead.
Further ahead one can view huge prayer wheels powered by water running down the mountainside and an amazing rock art image of Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
The route towards the monastery was mesmerizing with lush green escapes on both sides.
When we reached the base camp of Cherry Monastery, locals said it is closed and you are not allowed to go. We were disappointed by hearing that and headed towards the Tango monastery.
Very few travelers visit these monasteries. The hike to Tango was also our pre-practice session for hiking Taktsang Monastery.
It was the month of April and the weather was warm with the sign of showers. We reached base camp and started hiking. It started from the Parking lot. It was a well-paved path. I did not have any pre-practice for the hike, being the first hike I was unsure whether I would complete it or not.
As started ascending, views of the Himalayas started appearing. The path to the monastery is zigzag and filled with pine, oak as well as rhododendron flower trees.
We passed through so many colorful prayer flags on the way.
After hiking for 30-45 minutes we reached halfway and stopped by Chorten and Prayer Wheel.
From here after hiking for a few minutes, stopped near meditation houses. You can have an excellent view of the monastery straight ahead.
We saw many locals who were going up for worship.
After another walk for 30 minutes or so we reached the impressive sight of the Monastery entrance. Remember the path is steep towards the end of the hike and one has to climb a few steps.
The Legend of Tango Monastery
Tango is considered to be one of the supreme sacred places visited and blessed by Guru Rinpoche. It was first identified as sacred by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century and was later established as a religious seat by Tshewang Tenzin, the second lineage son of Drukpa Kunley. The 12 cornered structures were built in two months!
The monastery is the center for higher Buddhist studies. The wall of the monastery is beautifully painted.
The view from Tango Monastery is breathtakingly beautiful.
The surrounding of the monastery is so tranquil and peaceful that can be a good reason for a hike to Tango. We spend a good time here and monks inside the monastery took us to the different worship places.
Despite the tough walk, thoroughly enjoyed the hike.
Apart from us, this cute doggie was also our companion during the entire hike. There were so many dogs near the entrance, but they were harmless.
Travel Tips to Hike Tango Monastery:
- The monastery is located in an isolated area. I recommend booking a taxi for both to and fro travel.
- If you are booking a package with local tour operators in Bhutan, you can include it in your itinerary.
- The round-trip hike is about 2.5 km and the estimated hiking time is about 2 hours. It is easily doable by first-timers.
- You can hike both the Cherry and Tango monastery in a Day.
- Photography is not allowed inside the Monastery.
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