Hiking about 40
minutes you will come to a chorten (stupa). From here you will have an
excellent view of several meditation houses and monastery straight ahead. Then
hike up another 20 minutes to the monastery. The round trip hike is about 2.5
km and estimated hiking time is about 2 hours.
The Tango monastery
site has had religious significance since 12th century when it was
the home of highly revered Buddhist monks who brought the Drukpa Kagyupa School
of Buddhism in Bhutan. Gyalse Tenzin Rabgyal built the Tango monastery in 1689.
The three-storied monastery built with the help of locals and was completed
within two months.
At present Tango
monastery is the center of higher studies for monks. The view from Tango
monastery is breathtakingly beautiful. You will experience peace and serenity
in this area. After visiting the monastery, walk back to the road and drive to
the base of Chagri monastery where you will eat your packed picnic lunch by the
side of river.
After lunch hike to
Chagri monastery, walking across the bridge and following zig-zag trail through
the nature filled with oak trees and rhododendrons which will be in full bloom
in spring season. After 25-30 minutes hike you will come to a chorten (stupa),
where you leave to right (to show respect, you always walk around it in
clockwise direction) and zig-zag on towards the buildings which you see every
now and then above you for about another 25-30 minutes and you will reach the
Chagrig monastery. This is the place where monks undergo extended period of
meditation and spiritual retreat with the duration ranging from 4 months to 3
Therefore, this place
is so peaceful that you will experience complete serenity at this place. Often
goral or wild goats are spotted jumping around the cliffs near the monastery.
Chagri monastery is considered very sacred. It contains the remain of Tempi
Nima, the father of the first Shabdrung of Bhutan, and beautiful frescos of
Buddhist saints. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built it in 1620 in memory of his
father. The round trip distance is about 2.7 km and estimated hiking time is
about 2 hours. The view from Cheri Monastry is exuberant beautiful. You can sit
in one of the temples of this monastery complex and meditate for sometimes if
you would like to do so. Then walk to the base where your car will wait for you
and then travel back to your hotel in Thimphu.
Difficulty Level: Medium
Best Season: March,
April, May, June and Sept, Oct and Nov
Maximum Elevation: 2800m
Elevation Gain: 400m
Walking distance: 3-4
Walking time: 1
hour from base
Attraction: Tango is also the seat of our renowned Buddhist Master
known as Gyelse Tenzin Rabgay. The young reincarnation of the master still
resides at Tango. In 1627 Zhabdrung in Cheri, which to these days has become a
Meditation centre for higher-level Buddhist studies, started the first Buddhist
Monastic School for Bhutan.
TANGO AND CHERI MONASTERIES IN THIMPHU BHUTAN (Day hike north of Thimphu)
This sacred monastery is located about 30 minutes drive due North of Thimphu. After getting off at Dodena (2600m), we hike uphill for about an hour. As you walk up it will be shaded with pink, white, and mostly red rhododendron shrubs in late spring. Once you get there you will be greeted with a sight of a beautiful white structure. The surrounding buildings and the three-storied central tower which stands proud to these days was build in the 18th Century by Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye.
Tango monastery was once the abode Pajo Drujom Zhipo and his descendants, however many influential and important lamas graced the place on later dates. One of them was Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who meditated in the nearby caves in the 17th century. It was during the time when the Tibetans frequently invaded Bhutan. A legend has it that Zhabdrung’s meditation ensured their defeat and the temple was then offered to him. He carved a statue of Chenrezig (avalokiteshvara) out of sandalwood and installed it as the main relic.
Note: Phojo drugom Zhipo is one of the founding fathers of Drukpa Kagyu in Bhutan. He took a consort from Wang Simo in Thimphu, called Sonam Pelden a reincarnation of Machig Lhabdron. They had 4 sons together who went to other parts of western Bhutan to spread Buddhism.
On the adjacent side of the hill is Cheri Monastery. Compared to the winding and genteel climb towards Tango, one has to be a little sure footed while hiking to Cheri. It takes anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour depending on the person. After crossing a small cantilever bridge over the Wang Chhu it’s a steady climb up hill. It is believed that Zhabdrung spend 3 years in retreat at Cheri. Even to these days Cheri is one of the most popular destinations of monks going into retreat. The surrounding area of both Tango and Cheri is home to many hermitages.
Cheri is often counted among one of the sacred places of Bhutan as it houses the remains of Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s father Tempa Nyima. The inner walls of the sanctum are covered with beautiful frescoes of Buddhist saints. As the temple standing atop a hill, it boasts a spectacular view of the surrounding forest and river. If you’re lucky there are chances of spotting a goral or two grazing by the rocky slope.
Tango, Cheri, and the whole of Dodena village have many places of religious connotation if one gets into the depth of it. After being done with both the hikes a picnic lunch by the river awaits for later that day. The tranquility and cleanness of the place is ideal for people seeking to escape the humdrum life.