It is the myths, magic and monk that separates Bhutan from other travel destinations in the world. So while in Bhutan you can take both inner and outer journeys.
The beautiful monasteries hidden within the fold of mountains, the little cute monks on the red robe , is something you can check out while you are in Bhutan. So if you are looking for a spiritual solace, meditation with Bhutan monks and age-long wisdom of Vajrayana Buddhism, then you can try a monastic stay in Bhutan . There are many hidden monasteries in Bhutan where you can visit and experience Buddhist Wisdom. You can check out the few monasteries here .
However this blog is dedicated to the Dodeydra monastery stay , owing to its isolation, spiritual significance and relevance . The whole journey to Dodeydra monastery is nothing but the Pilgrim Progress.
Hike to Dodeydra
The hike to Dodeydra is beautiful. If you love nature, tranquility , butterflies and the off beaten track then Dodeydra hike has a lot to offer. Here life ticks to different times. The hike takes you to a hidden land , providing a hiker a sense of awe and wonder and a point of self reflection along the way.
Routes to Dodeydra
There are 3 different routes that lead us to Dodeydrak.
The shortest route starts from Samteling Palace, but only monks residing at Dodeydra are allowed to use this route and it is closed to the outsider.
So this leaves us with two routes, one route starts from Jungzhina and the other one from Dechencholing.
If you love hikes and forests then you can take the route from Junngzhina.
As you hit the road you will see sign boards with some words of wisdom
- While walking one must think that you are moving towards heaven along with all Sentient beings
- When you sweat , one must think that your sinful action /non virtue deeds are being washed
- In case ,if you feel tired, hungry and thirsty , one must consider that you are challenging difficulties to accumulate merit/virtue for religious purposes.
Hiking the ascent from Jungzhina is pretty challenging. However the crispy air, butterflies, chirping of the birds, nudging mountains and reflection on the words of wisdom at the sign board may render solace to the tiring feet. You may take 3-4 hours to reach Dodeydrak following this route.
The name Dodeydra has been derived from the split rock from where the Ter(Hidden Treasure )in the form of scripture was discovered.
The monastery is hidden inside the mountain and gives you a feel of lost land.
The temple was established as per the prophecy of Chief Abbot Yonten Thaye who was then working as a teacher in Phajoding monastery.
The monastery is beautifully built between the split rock. The temple has two altars and has beautiful paintings on the wall. In the first altar we can see the engrave of Dorji Pelpa, on the stone wall, it is believed that the painting has emerged on its own. The second altar room has statues of four chief abbots of Bhutan.
The monastery also houses a small museum with many historic and religious artifacts and stories attributed to one of the Chief Abbot Jamyang Gyeltshen, considered an acclaimed craftsman who made numerous statues and paintings/murals.
There is also a rock nearby from where holy spring water drips. It is believed that Abobot Yonten Thaye visited Tibet Tsari-Nye 3 times. On his last visit he wanted to bring something to Bhutan . So he brought the rock from Tsari-Nye which, when placed on the rock of Dodeydra, holy water started flowing. The rock is supposed to have the Ushnishavijaya mantra encrypted and drinking this water has the power to wash away sins and promote good health and prosperity, as per the locals.
Alongside the temple you will see numerous houses which shelter 175 monks studying at Dodeydra.
They also have a small guest house . If someone is interested in meditation or Buddhism, they can stay for one to two nights and learn how Buddhism is practiced in Bhutan.
Things To Do in The Monastery
The place is absolutely tranquil and there are many activities that you can engage here if you are interested
- You can participate in morning prayer from 5:30 AM to 6:15Am
- We can have an evening meditation class from 5:30pm to 6:30pm on Samatha meditation, loving and kindness or Vipassana.
- You can also participate in evening prayer from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
- Hoist Prayer flags
- Smoke Offering/Wine offering/ Butter Lamp Offering
- Picnic with monks
- Attending Dharma talk
- Private Meeting with the abbot (Khenpo) of Shedra
- Make a meal donation and serve the food to the monks
- Attend Dharma Talk
- Join meditation with Bhutan monks
Explore a 1000-year old meditation hermitage where hermits meditate for as long as 12 years.
From taking a more cosmic view of things to seeking the path towards peace, a monastic stay would be a good experience. Even if you are not a hiking person , there are monasteries where you can enjoy the same flavor of monastic charm like Dodeydra; but without having to walk much.
You can check out some of our Bhutan Itinerary , which includes monastic stay by clicking the link here . The choice of the monastery can be accommodated as per your interest.
Get ready to be warmed up by spiritual fire.