Less touristic places are hard to come by these days but still tucked in some corner of Bhutan there are less touristic places. Not just in remote Bhutan but even in densely populated cities like Thimphu you will come by less touristic places. About 29km away from Thimphu you can hike to some beautiful temples known as Tashigang Goemba, Lungchutse Goemba and Hongtsho Goemba. These places lies about 3500 meters above the sea level. Visitors hike to Tashigang, Lungchutse and Hongtsho Goemba from Dochula via Hongtsho or Lungchuzekha. Hongtsho is a village located in Thimphu. The reason to visit these temples together is because the hiking leads to one temple to another along the way. If you want a peaceful hike, then visit to these Goemba will be worthy.
In 1786, Tashigang Goemba was built by the 12th Je Khenpo. This Goemba is an important center for meditation and houses about 16 monks with few nuns. Inside the Goemba, you will see several statues of Je Khenpo who mediated there. The first couple of buildings that you will see are the meditation houses. So you should not visit these houses. Inside the temple, you will also find some beautiful new murals. You can find a good lunch spot outside the Tashigang Goemba which overlooks the entire amazing valley.
Lungchutse Goemba is the village temple and has the most beautiful view. The most fantastic thing from here is the view which can be seen in a clear blue day. The exciting view will give you a 360 degree view of the Himalayas which includes mountains such as Jomolhari (7,314 m), Masang Gang (7,158 m) and Gangkhar Puensum (7,497 m) which is the highest unclimbed peak in the world. Look for a tiny white speck in the sea of the green mountains which is Gasa dzong. This dzong is almost 50 kilometers to the north.
In 1525, Hongtsho Goemba was built by the elder brother of Drukpa Kuenlay. Drukpa Kuenlay who is greatly known as the Divine Mad Man is an important figure in Bhutan. Hongtsho Goemba is a two storey traditional Bhutanese building. The Goemba has a main alter room which houses an enormous statue of Guru Tshokey Dorje. This statue is in a standing posture together with a statue of Guru Dorje Drool, Lama Ngawang Chhogyel and Lama Drukpa Kuenlay.
To reach these beautiful temples, you have to start your journey from the large Chorten in the middle of Dochula. Dochula is the pass between Thimphu and Punakha at 10,300 feet and 3,140 meters above the sea level. You will start climbing a ridge through a forest which has hemlocks, spruce, blue pine, birch and rhododendrons until you reach an open meadow. After that, you will enter into a forest which is covered with gigantic hemlocks, junipers, bamboos and rhododendrons. Now a small trail will lead you to the last 160 feet past a row of fluttering colorful prayers flags up to Lungchutse Goemba. Now, you can enjoy the most awaited views of the hike.
From there, take the trail to the left which is just 490 feet below Lungchutse. This trail will lead you to Tashigang Goemba. This trail slowly descends through the forest of rhododendron, spruce, hemlocks and juniper. You will walk through the village and reach the Goemba. One of the best moments here is while having lunch in the temple’s courtyard; you will enjoy watching the monks in their daily endeavors.
After that, it is time to visit the last temple of the hike. You will find a trail leading down the front of the Goemba. This trail is zigzag and goes quite steeply down the side of the mountain. So, you have to be careful while walking. In a while, you will reach a farm road which takes you up to the main road. Now take the direction to the right on the opposite side of the road which will reach to Hongtsho Goemba on the hillside. It will only take you thirty minutes which is a short hike.
If you only hike till Lungchutse Goemba, then it will take you about 7 kilometers return and 3 to 4 hours. If you hike to all these temples, then it will take you about 10 kilometers in total and 4 to 5 hours.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – Moderate
It is advisable to start the hike in early morning as you will reach one of the Goemba in lunch time.