The Magical dochula Pass

Previous page - More sightseeing in Thimphu

 

An early start for a good reason

We had an early start today. Kinga arrived at 6:30 a.m. to help Jeremy get into his Gho. How kind and thoughtful of him. Jeremy and Kinga are much the same age so they get along extremely well. Whilst Jeremy was getting dressed Ian and I went down to breakfast. We had porridge, omelettes and tinzy little sausages. I’ve never seen sausages as tiny as these were. It would have been fine had it all been hot. It was such a common occurrence in Bhutan for food not to be kept hot enough. Apart from not tasting as good it is a huge health risk to have food sitting around at luke warm temperatures gathering bacteria. One of the guests at the hotel twice asked management to heat the food up to a suitable temperature but I think they ignored her.

 

Heading to Dochula Pass

Hiamlayas topped with snow Himalayas seen from Dochula Pass

At 7 a.m. we set off for Dochula Pass and we arrived at 8:45 a.m.  This location proved to be one of the highlights and most talked about places on our trip. The pass is around 3150 metres above sea level. Kinga wanted us to arrive early enough to see the Himalayas whilst the sky was clear and uncluttered by cloud. At 8:45 a.m. the sky was as clear as a bell and simply stunning. Jeremy saw his first glimpse of snow on the peaks. It was very cold up there. At the pass we could look around the 108 chortens built in 2004. The chortens were built in memory of the war between India and Bhutanese militants.

 

The magical chortens at Dochula Pass Chortens at Dochula Pass

Chortens are “spiritual monuments” and they symbolize Buddha’s mind, body and soul. Whilst standing there gazing at the Himalayas an Indian lady asked if I would like to take a look at the view through her binoculars. How very kind. I, of course accepted. Whilst I was busy looking through binoculars Jeremy was busy falling over. He slipped on the grassy slope. The white cuffs on his Gho were now a shade of grassy green. I couldn’t find Ian for a while but there he was, up behind us, amongst the prayer flags, taking photos from different angles. It really was a magical place, made even better by the fact we could see the Himalayas so clearly. Nearby was a temple, Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, which was very photographic too. Its construction began in 2004 but it was not consecrated until 2011.

 

Jeremy, Kinga & Dorje in their ghos Jeremy, Kinga & Dorje

Dochula Resort

Right near Dochula Pass is the Dochula Resort where we stopped for morning tea at their restaurant. It was lovely to relax with a cuppa and some bickies and gaze at the view. There was a little gift shop there but we never bought anything. I think it would be very nice to stay at this “resort”. It seems it has 13 double rooms with wood fires in each room. You would certainly need the fires. Imagine waking up to such a view! Onwards we must go.

 

Chimi Lhakhang Temple

Our next port of call was Chimi Lhakhang which is a temple dedicated to fertility. It is favoured by childless couples or those who have suffered miscarriages or deaths of their young children. It is believed that the blessings received there will aid conception and will protect children. 

We wandered along paths through the rice paddies We wandered through paths in the rice paddies

We had to leave Dorje and the car on the main road and then we headed down a hill with the Temple in the distance. Right from the start I needed to go to the toilet. We got as far as the little village of Sosokha when I thought I’d better tell Kinga of my needs. Surely there would be a toilet in this little village. Kinga suggested I hang on as the toilets here would not be clean. Hmmm! So, on we trekked through rice paddies for half an hour or so. It was very hot, even in October, so we were grateful we had our hats with us. We also had our water bottles but no way could I drink from mine for fear of wetting myself. Eventually we reached the slopes of the temple. Jeremy was flapping around in his Gho. Had he realized how hot it was going to be he wouldn’t have worn the darned thing.

It was a long hot walk to Chimi Lhakhang Temple Chimi Lhakhang Fertility Temple

We had just a quick look around the temple and began the hot journey back. Almost back to the road and we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant had two lovely clean toilets. I raced in and Jeremy and Ian were not far behind me. We then collapsed into our seats in the dining room, exhausted and wet with perspiration. Our table was next to a huge window overlooking the rice paddies so we could see exactly where we had walked to the temple. The meal was reasonable, but of course, barely warm. The loveliest treat was ICE CREAM for dessert. We felt we really deserved that ice cream.

 

 

Next page - The Wangdue Festival

 

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