If you want to hike when you are in Thimphu then you can try Tango Cheri day hike. Tango and Cheri are two monasteries located near each other in the Thimphu valley. These monasteries are about 15 kilometers away from Thimphu town.
Tango cheri day hike is a half day activity if you hike to one of the temples. If you plan to hike to both the monasteries then it will take one full day.
Tango day hike
Hike to tango is about 2 hours. The hike is through mostly oak trees. You have the option to walk the old trail or a series of steps which have been made recently. This hike will take you to a beautiful monastery.
Tango monastery was believed to be founded by a lama called Phajo Drugom Zhipo in the 13th century. Later in 1688, it was built in its present form by Desi Tenzin Rabgye. Tango means ‘horse head’ in Bhutanese terminology. The monastery is also considered sacred as it was also visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to meditate in its cave.
Tango monastery has 6 temples which are the Trulku lhakang, the Longku lhakang, the Choeku lhakang, the Guru Lhakang, the Namsey lhakang, the Namsey lhakang and the Gonkhang
You will also see a natural fountain in the middle of the courtyard opposite to the central tower. There are also festivals held in this monastery called Yarney which is held in the month of August or September. During this festival, monks wear their ceremonial yellow robes and chant prayers. They eat meals from begging bowls and the common people usually make food offering to the monks.
Cheri day hike
Day hike to Cheri monastery will take about 2 hours. The climb is all up. This hike will take you to the monastery of Cheri.
Cheri monastery is actually called Chagri Dorjeden Monastery which is a Buddhist temple. In 1620, the monastery was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Currently, the monastery is a major teaching and retreat center of the southern Drukpa lineage of the Kagyu School. The monastery provides study of Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poetry and many other Buddhist studies.
It was in Cheri monastery that Zhabdrung established the first Drukpa monastic order in Bhutan. This monastery is also the first monastery built by Zhabdrung in Bhutan. Even the 7th Desi Umze Peljor retried to Cheri in 1705. He lived in Cheri until his death in 1707. It is also believed that the place was first visited by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century.
We have to hike for about an hour to reach the monastery through the steep hill but on the way we can enjoy the beauty of that place as well.