Between Paro and the Capital of Bhutan, Thimpu, the road takes you over the Dochula Pass (3140 m) with its 108 chortens. A chorten is a kind of stupa, often built at crossroads and passes to ward off evil. And all chortens contain religious relics.
The Druk Wangyal Khang Zhang Chortens are red-band or khangzang chortens, built in a central hillock at the pass, under the patronage of the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. In local language they are called ”chortens of victory”, because they were built as a memorial in honour of the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in the December 2003 battle against Assamese insurgents from India. It also marks the victory of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who dislodged the rebels from their camps in Bhutanese territory.
This is a peaceful place for slow walks – contemplating life, feeling the fresh air and nature’s beauty.
The rhododendrons and magnolias touch the sky.
After the completion of the chortens, the temple known as the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was built in June 2008 – as a memorial to celebrate 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.
From the Dochula Pass you will, on a clear day, have a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. The best time is in October/November, but we were still quite lucky this day.
On the far right you will find the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, Gangkar Puensum, 7564 meters. It is also the highest mountain in Bhutan.
But somewhere, far away behind the treetops, these enigmatic giants are waiting…