Visit to Bhutan is not complete without visiting a few local monasteries and temples.
When I first visited Bhutan I was struck by the spectacular terrain, the friendly people and the striking architecture. Enchanted, I have returned four time in the past five years. My favorite destinations include both well know landmarks and local treasures.
Each time I visit I hike up to Tiger’s Nest—Bhutan’s famous temple that appears magically perched on a cliff above the Paro Valley. This amazing complex marks the spot where the great Buddhist teacher Guru Rinpoche meditated before subduing a local demon who was preventing the spread of Buddhism. It is a wonderful location to learn about Bhutan’s magical history.
Another of my favorite well-known destinations is Punakha Dzong—the largest dzong the Zabdrung built while unifying Bhutan as Buddhist state. With its commanding location at the confluence of two rivers, and massive stone walls with elegantly woodwork, Punakha Dzong is both impressive and stunning. It’s a great place to see beautiful woodwork and statues, and savor the beauty of butter lamps flickering in the Kunre.
To me a visit to Bhutan is not complete without visiting a few local monasteries and temples. Chimi Lahkhang, located on a rise in the fields near Metshina is often bustling with young novices, while Tango Goemba north of Thimphu is a quiet mountain sanctuary. Changankha Lhakhang in Thimphu and Jampa Lhakhang in Jakar are ancient structures and popular local temples that have a quiet hum of activity. All are great places to linger and savor ancient yet vibrant Buddhist practices.
By Laura Blake, San Francisco, USA: She is an architect and the author of Bhutan’s Buddhist Architecture.The book is an introduction to Bhutan’s striking architectural style and the rich Buddhist heritage from which it emerged. It includes brief historical and architectural overviews, a dozen examples of the country’s best-known buildings, and a pictorial glossary of Buddhist symbols commonly used in building decoration. It’s available on Amazon at Bhutan’s Buddhist Architecture Amazon United States, Bhutan’s Buddhist Architecture Amazon United Kingdom, Bhutan’s Buddhist Architecture Amazon France or Bhutan’s Buddhist Architecture Amazon Germany.