A three-hour moderate hike to Phajoding monastery is one of the most rewarding hike tourists can engage in while in Thimphu.
A three-hour moderate hike to Phajoding monastery is one of the most rewarding hike tourists can engage in while in Thimphu. The 5km arduous uphill hike from the youth center in Motithang to Phajoding Goemba (3640m), takes tourists through the blue pine forest. While the climb can be physically challenging, tourists can enjoy the serenity of being in the woods throughout the journey. Closer to the destination, tourists will finally clear the tree line and can get an amazing view of the Thimphu city and on a clear weather day, the vantage point also offers a spectacular view of the eastern Himalayas. Upon arrival, travelers can explore the 13th-century monastery which consists of 10 Lhakhangs (temples) and 15 meditation retreats also extended as residences. Most of the architectures were built in 1748 by the ninth Je Khenpo(head of religious body), Shakya Rinchen. The name of the monastery is directly derived from its founder Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, a yogi from Kham, Tibet.
Things to do in Phajoding:
Camp at Phajoding.
You can pitch a tent and spend the night under the stars and above a sea of clouds. Yes, to experience the floating ball of clouds beneath your feet, making you feel as though you are standing on clouds, you will have to camp and wake up early in the morning before the clouds disperse and make way for the sun. Count the stars at night. It may sound impractical but you will feel as though you can count each and every one of them as the sky is clear and the stars appear bigger and nearer than anywhere else in the world.
If you choose to camp at Phajoding, there are a number of things you can do.
For starters, you can explore all the 13th-century Lhakhangs in detail. You can also get a free meditation class from lamas there and learn the basics of meditation with a mediator.
Interact with the monks and get a scoop on their life. They are generally friendly and happy people.
Explore the wilderness of Phajoding.
There are variety of flowers and plants that you can spot in Phajoding from which most are known for their medicinal properties. The visitors can also take the opportunity and pick mushrooms that grow in the area. Phajoding is famous for a type of mushroom called the golden mushroom or the happiness mushroom locally known as Gaa Shamu.
Go beyond and see the 18 lakes.
For daring hikers, a scenic plateau and an array of lakes await on the other side of the ridge.From Phajoding when you ascend for another one hour you reach the Thujidrag goemba. After which when you climb for another half an hour you reach a single stupa hanging on a cliff overlooking the Thimphu valley and the monastery below. Thereafter it’s a combination of an uphill and downhill trek.Along the way, you can spot the Rhododendron shrubs which bloom beautiful flowers. Among all the 18 lakes that you will pass by on your trek the one worth, all your effort is the Dungtsho Lake.