Pilgrimage in Bhutan

Pilgrimage tours in Bhutan can be very exciting. Some historic sites in Bhutan draw hundreds of tourists every day. Temples, monasteries, fortresses, stupa, ancient ruins and religious sites are scattered across the country.

The monastery of Taktshang (Tigers Den) in Paro, situated on a cliff is Bhutan’s greatest architectural wonder. The monastery defies basic engineering techniques, as it stands firmly right on the edge of the cliff.

The monastery was built on a cave where Guru Padmasambhava had meditated sometime in the eighth century. According to legend, the Guru flew on the back of a tigress to the site where he meditated.

To reach to the site one has to walk uphill from the base of a hill in Paro for about two hours. Regular trekkers however reach the site in about an hour.

In the east, popular pilgrimage sites include the Gomphu Kora. Gomphu Kora is the site where Guru Padmasambhava subdued an evil spirit who had fled from Tibet. After subduing the demon, the guru is said to have meditated and performed a victory dance.

Every year, people from across the country gather together at the site to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The riverbank below the temple has several religious sites including guru’s personal items including boxes, a demon’s flesh turned to stone, etc.

Every district in Bhutan has ancient fortress called dzongs mostly built during the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the unifier of Bhutan. The Punakha dzong in western Bhutan attracts hundreds of visitors every day.

The dzong is a replica of the Guru’s palace in heaven. The chief architect is said to have had a vision of the palace in heaven and copied its design to build the dzong.

Dzongs were built to defend Bhutan from the Tibetan invasion in the north.

The first dzong built by Zhabdrung is the Semtokha dzong, located in Thimphu.