Tango & Cheri Monastery Hike

Tango and Cheri Monastery Hike

Tango and Cheri Monastery Hike: Thimphu Bhutan 

Tango Monastery and Cheri Monastery are 2 Buddhist Monasteries located in the Northern end of Thimphu city, Bhutan. Immerse yourself into the bounty of nature by taking a hike to these two monasteries. You have the option to take a hike to either Tango Goemba or Cheri. Or you can complete both Tango Cheri  hikes altogether.

Cheri Monastery Bhutan 

Cheri Monastery, Bhutan is a mystical monastery that lies en wrapped in myth and mystery on the Northern end of Thimphu valley. It is located 16 km away from Thimphu city. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the valley floor of the mountain where Cheri Monastery is situated.

Cheri Monastery Bhutan
Cheri Monastery Bhutan

Cheri Monastery Bhutan Hike 

Hiking in Bhutan can be a unique experience. Cheri Monastery Hike gives you an insight into the natural discovery of Himalayan vegetation. The hiking trail passes through the off-beaten forest where one often gets to spot a variety of birdlife. The Cheri Monastery area has a serene energy field which makes the hike enjoyable through the shades of the giant trees.

The moment you get off the car  Roaring river confluence of Dodena , will welcome you.

The hike is steep but there are big trees to give us shade and ease the hike.  As we ascend we may encounter various species of birds, commonly Laughing Thrust, Eurasia Nut Cracker, Brown Dipper, Spotted Laughing Thrush, Fire capped Tit, Chestnut-crowned Laughing Thrushes, White-throated Laughing Thrushes, Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers, and White-collared Blackbirds. This hike would be a treat to bird lovers.

So after 45 minutes of the hike, we were finally there at Cheri monastery.

People usually call as Cheri monastery but the real name is Chagri monastery.The name Chagri has been derived from Cha which means Iron and Ri meaning mountain. It was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1620 as per the prophecy that at the belt of the mountain that looks like a heart there will be a meditation retreat; now it is the home for Bhutan’s first monk body. It was built around the spot where Phajo Drugom Zigpo has meditated three centuries earlier.  There are currently 40 monks undergoing three years, three months, and three days retreats.

Beautiful Chorten on the way to Chagri Monastery
Hike to Chagri Monastery
Cheri Monastery Architecture

In general, there are four altars/Lhakhangs

  1. Kudung Lhakhang:  It enshrines the ashes of the Zhabdrung’s father.. Simultaneously it also houses the statue of Zhabdrung, Guru Rinpoche, Buddha Sakyamuni, Nagarjuna, and Dharma King Songtsen Gampo. The local people also believe that the Zhabdrung statue here has  spoken and the shrine is a wish-fulfilling shrine.
  2. Jowo Lhakhang: It is dedicated to the local deities of Chagri & Tango monastery, Adarpati and Baayup.
  3. Namsey Lhakhang: The third room enshrines three long-life Deities Namgyelma, Jetsun Dolma and Tshepamay.
  4. Duethul Lhakhang: To reach the fourth one we have to climb the steep stairs to Demon Subjugating monastery which houses the prime deity Kalachakra in one room and the other room is a place where Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel has meditated. And the view of Thimphu valley from this monastery is breathtaking.

However, the Cheri Monastery main building is under renovation

After detouring the monastery the monk there was kind enough to offer us tea and snacks. We can also see lot of Tshetar Domestic animals grazing around the vicinity of Lhakhang. Tshetar animals are purchased and released to safe place. It is an act of compassion practiced by many Bhutanese.

The environment here is so friendly and warm that many of the wild goats, wild birds like Himalayan Monal come in search of the food.

If you still have energy you can hike further and enjoy the quiet and tranquil hike which leads to many of the retreat houses.

Hike Through Chagri Monastery

Tango Monastery Bhutan: Day Hike 

The day hike to Tango Monastery Bhutan starts with a journey to the Northern end of Thimphu through the beautiful countryside of Begana village. The well-paved and comfortable path to Tango Monastery starts from the car parking which is close to Cheri Monastery hill. However if you like you may opt to complete both Chari and Tango Goemba Hike in a single go.

The time taken is about one and a half hours for both the hikes.

“Tango” literally means the ‘horse head’. The legend goes back to the 13th century when Lam Phajo Drugom saw the cliffs, hills, and rocks  manifesting into the form of the mandala of Yidam Deity Tandin (Hayagriva); the horse-headed deity. The place holds rich  recorded history down to the Drukpa lineage Zhabdrung.

The Hike to Tango Monastery Bhutan

Enjoy walking on the stone-paved path into the deep wilderness of rhododendron and oak vegetation. As you walk along you will hear the sweet sound of birds chirping. You may come across many profound and enjoyable phrases written by the monks on the way. It is a wonderful experience from the beginning till the end. The amazing scenery and sanctity of the place have much to offer for anyone looking for a blissful and fulfilling hiking experience.

Tango Goemba
Tango Goemba
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