Dochula Pass, Bhutan – Beautiful Panoramic Himalayan View

The National Memorial, Dochu La, or Dochu Pass with 108 stupas or Dochula Chortens is erected in the pass’s central hilltop. It’s located halfway between Thimphu and Punakha in Bhutan and provides amazing panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range.

How high is Dochula pass? – Dochula Pass’ height is about 3100 meters and the place remains foggy. Around December, the weather in Dochula Pass is perfect and clear, allowing you to observe the Himalayan mountain range. You may expect snowfall early in the year.

Why was the Dochula Pass built?

Dochula Pass history – It was constructed in memory of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth ‘Druk Gyalpo’ (head of state). It was created to accompany the chortens, with a view of the snow forest and the Himalayas. This is a significant center of devotion for the villagers, who visit the monastery practically every day to pray.

 108 Chortens at DochuLa © Ravindra Joisa
108 Chortens at DochuLa © Ravindra Joisa

How do you get to Dochula Pass?

Check the World’s largest mountaintop statue of Buddha Dordenma, which is located in Thimphu. Thimphu to Dochula pass distance – Firstly, the 108 chortens on Dochula Pass, is around 23 kilometers from Thimphu, take 40 minutes to reach. Secondly, to reach Dochula Pass hire a taxi from Thimpu or go for a solo bike ride. With its hairpin twists, dense jungle, up and down mountain passes, the route is reminiscent of traveling through the Western Ghats in southwest India. On reaching Dochula Pass, park your vehicle near the cafe.

Dochula Pass Cafe
Dochula Cafe. © Ravindra Joisa

A visit to the Dochula Cafe

The cafe might be overcrowded with a lot of tourists. You may want to quickly grab a cup of hot coffee and explore the place under cold weather. Moreover, the place is unique and an amazing place to capture photos. You can have the Himalayan mountain range in the background and stupas in the foreground. However, do not make an attempt to climb up the stupas. It is strictly not allowed and is a punishable offense. Basically, in simple words just explore the place and be respectful to Bhutanese culture and tradition.

Do not forget to visit the mad man's Temple of Penisis – Chimi Lhakhang on the way. Click To Tweet

By the way check out: My Interview with Smart Photography Magazine

 108 Chortens at DochuLa, central tower and flag in Bhutan © Ravindra Joisa
108 Chortens at DochuLa, central tower, and flag. © Ravindra Joisa

A visit to the Druk Wangyel monastery

To the opposite of the 108 chortens is the Druk Wangyel monastery. Firstly, this monastery has a huge statue of Buddha and other deities inside. Secondly, it has paintings depicting the life of Buddha and other stories. The view from the outside is breathtaking. Also, you get to see the 108 chortens from a different angle.

Druk Wangyel monnastery.  © Ravindra Joisa
Druk Wangyel monastery © Ravindra Joisa

Where to go next after Dochula Pass

From here Punakha is another 3 hours drive. By the way, do not forget to visit the mad man’s Fertility Temple – Chimi Lhakhang on the way. You’ll need to pass the rice fields and view traditional cottages with paintings on the walls. Also, the beautiful view of the Pochu Mochu river. The colorful prayer flags on the way just make the journey even more memorable.

Dochula Pass, 108 Chortens and Cafe.  © Ravindra Joisa
Dochula Pass, 108 Chortens and Cafe. © Ravindra Joisa

Note: Be respectful when you visit some of the places. Outsiders might visit without knowing. For example – The dress code when you enter the monastery, usage of the camera, the staircase entrance at Punakha Dzong – the middle row is for the king, no entry zones for outsiders at the third courtyard of Punakha Dzong, do not make any attempt to climb up the chortens for a photoshoot. The best is to check with your local guide.

To conclude, Dochula Pass is a renowned tourist destination because it provides a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan range. The vista is particularly breathtaking on clear winter days. Snowcapped mountains give a stunning backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens that dot the mountain pass. Watch my YouTube video below and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.

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