Tachog lhakhang is located beside Paro Thimphu highway. We can see this lhakang just after the Isuna village across the Pa Chu River. As soon as you see this lhakang across the river, you will be excited to go through the beautiful iron bridge and visit the temple.
Tachog Lhakhang was built by?
Tachog lhakang was built around 1420 by Thangtong Gyalpo who was great architect and saint of Bhutan. He was the one who built many iron bridges in Bhutan and he even built Dungtse lhakang in Paro. Tachogang lhakang means temple of the hill. The temple was named this way as it was believed that when Thangtong Gyalpo was meditating here, he had a vision of the spiritual horse called Balaha-en. After the vision, he decided to build a temple and named it ‘Tachogang’.
WHO WAS THAGTONG GYALPO?
Thangtong Gyalpo is less known by the visitors but his legacy is considered very significant in Bhutan. Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464) was a saint, blacksmith, architect, physician and an engineer. Ha built numerous iron suspension bridges and temples across Bhutan and Tibet which is still used till date. He is also the founder of Tibetan opera called ‘Ache Lhamo’. He travelled to Bhutan in 1433 from Tibet.
Thangtong Gyalpo built the Chakzam Bridge in Tibet which is spanned 150 yards across the Yarlung Tsangpo. This bridge was also considered as the longest unsupported span in the world. It is believed that he built 108 of these bridges across Bhutan and Tibet especially to help pilgrims visit holy places.
Thangtong Gyalpo had also built an iron bridge for the people to easily reach the temple. The former iron bridge was washed away by the flood in 1969. The legend of Thangtong Gyalpo says that the money needed to build his iron bridges was raised from his opera performances. At present, we can see a bridge which leads to the temple in replace of the old iron bridge. The present bridge was restored in 2005 in the design of a traditional style bridge with iron chains.
Some parts of the iron chains were rescued from the flood and kept in the attic of the shed behind the temple. The Ministry of Works and Human Settlements rebuilt the bridge by setting up the foundations so high that no particular danger exists through high water. The bridge was rebuilt as per the royal wish of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. Even the reconstructed bridge has some of the secured chains of Tachog itself and four chains are from Doksum and Tashigang.
When you approach towards the iron bridge, it might look frightening at first. But as you start to cross it, it becomes very fun through the shaking bridge. When you are crossing the bridge, you will realize that it acts like a trampoline and even jumping is fun but you should be careful as well. You can have a stop in the middle and look towards the current of the river. That moment, you will feel as if you are flying on the bridge. The bridge looks beautiful with the brightly colored prayer flags and has metal netting for extra support on the bridge.
There is another option to reach the temple as well. There is another bridge next to this iron bridge which is mostly used by the cattle as it is difficult for them to cross over the iron bridge.
Currently, Tachog lhakang is privately looked after by the descendents of Thangtong Gyalpo. You can ask permission from the monks to visit the monastery. The people around who also takes care of the temple can be seen caring their cattle. Around the lhakang, you can see many fruit tress such as oranges and apples.
When you reach at the top, the view is seen very lovely and beautiful. You can always pose for a picture at the big massive tree trunk over there.
The temple and the bridge can be visited any time of the day but to visit inside the temple, we have to seek permission from the monks.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
This monastery is just 15 minutes walk from the road and its easily accessible