Dochula Druk Wangyel Tshechu

Author: TourGenie Contributor
Date: 2019-12-11

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The Dochula Pass is a mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas within Bhutan on the road from Thimpu to Punakha where 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as "Druk Wangyal Chortens" have been constructed by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. Apart from the chortens there is a monastery called the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), made in tribute of the fourth Druk Gyalpo (head of the state of Bhutan), Jigme Singye Wangchuck; the open grounds in its front yard is a site for the annual Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival. The pass with 108 memorial chortens is nearby to the country's first Royal Botanical Park.


Dochula Pass, Bhutan

The pass is situated at an elevation of 3,100 metres on the East West Road from Thimpu to Punakha in Bhutan and additional east in the Himalayas amidst the Eastern Himalayan snow-covered mountains. To the east of the pass, the snow clad mountain peaks of the Himalayas are seen obviously and among them is the Mt. Masanggang at 7,158 metres which is the highest peak in Bhutan, known in local language as the Mt. Gangkar Puensum. The road east of the pass runs vertical for some distance and then takes a left turn towards Punakha Valley to the Punakha Dzong, in Punakha (the old capital of Bhutan), which is located at the confluence of two rivers. Further east the road reaches Wangdi Phodrong where there a 7th-century monastery on the ridge, and the valley is drained by the Punatsangchu River. The pass was part of ancient trails or tracks between Thimphu and Punakha, such as the Dochu La Nature Trail (1.2 kilometres) which begins at the Dochu La cafe and meets the present road at Lamperi, and the Lumitsawa Ancient Trail (4.7 kilometres ) that joins the main road at Lumitsawa. Both trails are sections of the original route. The weather at the pass generally remains foggy and chilly. However, between October and February, panoramic views of the Bhutan Himalayas can be seen.

The forest in Bhutan cover on the slopes of the pass consists of cypress trees. The hill slopes around the pass are festooned with a profusion of colourful religious flags fixed by the Buddhist people as a mark of veneration. The Bhutan flags, made in five colours representing the natural forces, — "blue (sky), white (clouds), red (fire), green (water) and yellow (earth)" – are adorned with Buddhist scriptural prayers to usher prosperity and peace around Bhutan. After the Losar festival in February, which marks the Bhutanese New Year, and as the snow melts, the pass provides a spectacle of many species of flowers such as the Primal Denticulata, Primula Garcilipes and in the subsequent month rhododendrons bloom in profusion. Magnolia campbellii also bloom on the pass during this period. Another fragrant plant, which people come to enjoy, is the Daphne which is a small shrub which blooms with white flowers amongst an array of prayer flags that are fixed on the slopes. The bark of this plant is used to make paper which is a old-style paper used for writing religious scriptures as it is termite free. 


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