Bhutan is famous for its centuries old breath taking rustic monuments. These are dotted throughout the country. It is believed that the great Tibetan Emperor Shrongsten Gampo constructed Temples in Tibet and some of them were also constructed in Bhutan from 7th to 17th century A.D. visiting these 7 hidden monuments is a path to be near to spirituality.
1- Taksang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche (Bhutan’s most revered saint) visited and sanctified Bhutan in the 8th century A.D. when evil spirits harmed its population. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a tigress’ back to subdue a local demon. Thereafter, he meditated here for three months. Tiger’s Nest Monastery was sanctified as one of Bhutan’s most sacred religious sites. It hangs on a cliff and stands above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons.
2- Drukgyel Dzong
Situated in Paro Valley, Drukgyel Dzong was built in 1647 or 1649 at a strategic location to oversee the routes to Tibet. Bhutan’s founder Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel built Drukgyel Dzong, just north of Takshang. This fortress was build to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans in 1644 and the unification of Bhutan. In 1951, the dzong was destroyed by the fire; attempts have been made to renovate the fortress since then.
3- Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the Bhutan, and probably one of the most isolated and hidden monument in the world. This monument looks amazing especially in spring when jacaranda trees surrounding it are on full blossom. This dzong was the second to be built in Bhutan and it served as the capital and seat of government until the mid-1950s. The coronation ceremony of Bhutan’s Kings always takes place here. The dzong is still the winter residence of the official monk body.
4- Chimi Lhakhang
This temple was built in 1499 by a saint Nawang Choegyel and it was blessed by a saint “Drukpa Kunley”. Thousands of people visit Chimi Lhakhang either to pray for children by those who are childless or to seek protection for children that they already have. There are also anecdotes of tourists who made the pilgrimage to Chimi Lhakhang and got pregnant within a year after the visit.
5- The National Memorial Chorten
This Tibetan-style chorten is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan); many Bhutanese start their daily worship by circumambulating this monument. It was built in 1974 as a memorial to the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–72). Early morning is the best time to see pilgrims shuffle in.
Tashichhodzong is a monastery and fortress located on the northern edge of the capital city of Thimphu, The fortress has been the seat of the Head of Bhutan's civil government since 1952, and also serves as an office for many of the government's ministries. The royal palace of Bhutan “Dechencholing Palace” is located adjacent to Tashichodzong. It was originally built in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa; the fortress has been destroyed twice, once by a fire in 1771, and again in 1897 by an earthquake, and has been rebuilt multiple times over the course of its 800 years of history.
7- Phobjikha Valley and Gangtey Gompa
Gantey Gompa monastery sits atop a hillock that overlooks the Phobjikha valley. It is the largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan. It was built as a small temple in 1613, which was later built into larger Gompa. The Valley is famous for its black necked cranes which migrate from Tibetan Plateau in winter.
The purpose of Bhutan trip is to conjure up an understanding, perhaps an awakening caused by Buddhist philosophy. This journey takes you from a small town of Paro in the West to Punakha. Along the way you will go through these hidden monuments, smell a whiff of Tibetan incense, and hear the sound of flattering Buddhist flags that are continuously releasing prayers into the air. The climax of this trip is the visit of sacred Taksang (the Tiger’s Nest) Monastery.