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The trail initially takes you through a small village where the yak herders put up their camps in the winter. From here you continue upwards through mystifying old-growth rhododendron forest.

Fact of Trip

Difficult level: Moderate
Departure: Daily (Early Morning)
Duration: 1 Day
Starts from: Jungshina
Ends at: Dechencholing
Attractions: Scenic beauty and insights to Buddhist architecture
Transportation:  Private Car
Paro to Jili Dzong : 10 minute drive to starting point, 2 – 3 hours climb up, 1 ½ hour down, total 4 – 5 hours.

Trip Itinerary

The hike to Dodedrak involves yet another struggle up the mountainside, but few hikes are as rewarding as this one in terms of scenic beauty and insights to Buddhist architecture, craftsmanship and mysticism.

After entering Royal property close to the 4th King’s Palace and walking the first ten minutes on paved road, the trail sets off steeply up the mountainside for about 1 – 1 ½ hour. As you move upwards, Thimphu town reveals itself, and you will have great views of Wangditse and Dechen Phodrag temples. The last part of the walk takes you along the hillside overlooking Thimphu on your left, past a huge rock used as a study spot for the monks, and to a chorten. Awaiting around the corner, is the sight of a beautifully situated, magical monk village established around the mysterious 12th century temple, Dodedrak. Walk through the parish among the young monks until reaching the first of the three temples. Very often, you will see white languor monkeys playing in the trees below. The courtyard area outside the temples has great picnic spot. Take plenty of time to let the mystery reveal itself before returning to the real world.

When you are ready to leave this magical place behind, set off on the same trail that led you here until you again reach the chorten. From here, follow the upper trail which will lead you gently down towards Dechhencholing Goemba and the Queen Mother’s Palace.

Dodedrak village arose around a temple prophesized by the Chief Abbot Yonten Thaye, the reincarnation of Channa Dorji (The God of Power and Energy), when he was working as a teacher in Phadjodhing in the 12th century. After his vision, he later came to build the temple in the face of a huge rock split in two.

The two altar rooms are equally interesting; both with red carpeted floors and with original 900-year old paintings. As you walk up to the altar rooms on the 1st floor, the view of the temple’s protective deity, Dorji Pelpa, outlined in the stone wall is awesome. This imprinted sketch is believed to be self-created. The roof of the first temple is filled with remarkable mandalas.

There are two rock wall paintings at the entrance area of the temples. The extraordinary shapes of the stone walls are believed to be natural, and with help of colours, the first painted wall tells the history of Dodedrak. The second painted wall is the vision of Dodedrak and depicts what the area looks like today.

You can also see the Paradise of Guru Rinpoche. The second altar room has statues of four chief abbots, where the abbot Jamyang Gyeltshen is believed to have created all the other statues the temple holds as well as the paintings. It is said that when he died, one could observe tears falling from the eyes of the statues and the gods depicted in the paintings.

In the 1980s, the 4th King initiated the development of a lobdra (monastic school) and a shedra (Buddhist college) in the Dodedrak area which now consists of numerous small houses scattered in the hillside among three lhakhangs and a stupa which is believed to bring peace and harmony to the community. 154 monks aged 15-28 now inhabit the village. A three hour hike above the village is a 1000-year old meditation retreat inhabited by hermits who have meditated here for as long as 12 years.

Cost Information:

Cost Includes:

  • Private transportation by car
  • Lunch and refreshment
  • Tour guide
  • Entry permit for monastery

Cost Not Includes:

  • Cost for Horse Ride
  • Hotel Accomodation
  • Travel Insurance

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