Dzongdrakha Goempa is located in a village called Bondey in Paro district. This Goempa is often called mini Taktshang as it is built on a cliff above the village. Dzongdrakha is translated as ‘Temple on a cliff’ in Bhutanese terminology. It takes 20 minutes by car from the Paro town to reach the Goempa. It is located in the altitude of 2227 meter. Dzongdrakha Goempa is a secondary example of a cliff-side temple.
Dzongdrakha goempa was built by?
Dzongdrakha was first built by a local king called Chogay Dragpa in the 16th century. It is believed that when Guru Rinpoche first came to Bhutan, he first landed at Drakarpo and then Dzongdrakha. It is one of the many places mediated by Guru Rinpoche.
Things to see in Dzongdrakha goempa?
As we walk towards the Temple, you will hear monks chanting and praying in the most beautiful state. Dzongdrakha temple complex consists of four shrines and a large chorten. These four shrines are dedicated to Drolma (Tara), Guru Rinpoche, Tsheringma (Goddess of Longevity) and Maiterya (the Buddha of the Future).
The first building that we will come across is the Jongsarbu lhakang which was founded in the 18th century. Jongsarbhu was founded by Gyam Dorje who was a mediation master. Here we can also see a beautiful mandarin tree. In this building, we can see the main statue of Sakyamuni with Tsethsho Chen (local protector) and a tshomen (mermaid spirit) at the side.
The next building is the Tshering lhakang which is dedicated to Tseringma, the goddess of longevity. There we will find log ladder which leads to the cave-like Droley lhakang. The lhakang has many papier-mâché statues which were used during the local festivals. Special thing about this lhakang is that the parents who gave birth to boys are supposed to offer thanks here.
We can find a caretaker around the Guru Lhakang, who will tell you about the amazing and beautiful stories of flying saints, magical spells and local spirits. You can ask him to point out the sacred dragger marks in the nearby stone. The caretaker will also show you a hidden chorten behind the main statue which is kept enclosed, as it is believed to prevent it from flying away. He can also open a little door which is at the back. From there you can see some parts of the chorten. The last and final building is the Lhamey lhakang.
HOW TO REACH?
We can drive from the Paro main town and reach in 20 minutes. We can even take half an hour walk from Paro town to reach there as well. Through the walk, we can see and explore the shrubs of Rhododendron, oak trees and white monkeys as well. The walk to Dzongdrakha is not that difficult as of Taktshang.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
It is best to go in the month of February and March where we will not only see the flora and fauna of spring but also witness the Paro Tsechu festival. The annual festival of Dzongdrakha is held the day before and after the big Paro festival. The main blessing of the Dzongdrakha tsechu is when the chorten of the past Buddha is opened and attendants are blessed by the relic held inside it. If visited in the autumn season, then one can witness the beautiful and spectacular view of the village below.
Day hike to Dzongdrakha goempa
A visit to Dzongdrakha is a combination of history, heritage, trekking, pilgrimage and adventure. Dzongdrakha village also has many other small temples where we can visit as well when we go there. A Walk through this beautiful small village will let us experience the Bhutanese lifestyles. The hike is about 40 minutes to the Dzongdrakha goempa. It will also make one realize that most of the women of that villages are working in the field to earn their daily bread. On the other hand, most of the men are fully ordained monks or lay monks who don’t take vows of celibacy called Gomchens. If you visit Dzongdrakha Goempa in its festival time, then you will also get to witness the great annual festival of Rinpung dzong which is held during the same time.
The visiting hours are open from morning till evening.
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