Phajoding Monastery
Phajoding Monastery

Phajoding Monastery is located above Thimphu valley at an elevation of 3700 m. Today Phaoding monastery is listed in the World Monuments Fund as an endangered cultural monument in 2010. The monastery comprises many temples and meditation sites. 

Little monks at Phajoding witth some snow flakes.

Phajoding Monastery was founded in the 13th century by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo (1184-1251), a Tibetan lama who spread the Drukpa Kagyu teachings of Buddhism in Bhutan.  Most of the buildings at Phajoding however were constructed in 1748 by Gyelwa Shakya Rinchen (1710-1759), the 9th Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) of Bhutan.  There are a good number of monks who study here. 

As when we continue further up there is another monastery, Thujedrak which is perched on the cliff. It is the place where Phajo Drugom Zhigpo had mediated. The temple there dates back to 1749. 

View from the trail
Guest on trying one spring water on trail

There are two routes to reach Phajoding; one above Takin preserve and another one from Sangaygang (BBS Tower). The first one is used mostly, as it is shorter though steeper. The hike is all uphill which takes about 3 hours. But the trails are wide, and the whole hike will be through the forest.  The good thing about this hike is you will see the change in vegetation as you hike. It starts with more blue pine and as you hike for about an hour you will see all the vegetation has changed to a mixed forest of Spruce, Hemlock, and Fir. Further, you hike up you will be inside rhododendrons and junipers.  If you continue to walk until Thujedrak, then you will just find dwarf junipers and rhododendrons (Rhododendron ferrugineum). This means you are literally above the tree line. 

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