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Dochula Pass in Bhutan

Updated: May 11

On the high road from Thimphu to Panaka, one passes through the Himalayas over the Dochula Pass.

The elevation of the pass is 10200 feet and the road weaves among the cypress clad mountains which are speckled with religious flags and families selling their locally grown apples.

This mountain pass is gorgeous in its own right, but it is also the site of Druk Wangyal Chortens. These memorial chortens, or stupas, 108 in number, were built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the 2003 war against insurgents from India. Bhutanese King Wangchuck was successful in extricating the rebels who were using Bhutan as a base to raid India. The monument was commissioned by Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

The view is breathtaking though the pass is often covered with a light fog and can be chilly, my favorite weather.

Many are seen circumambulating the memorial, often with prayer beads in hand.

These two guys however belong with me.

Above photo courtesy Ethan Rogers

The above chorten is the central and largest stupa in the complex. One can also see the temple (just to its right on the next hillock and below). Credit for the photo above goes to Ethan Rogers. It gives a nice perspective of the pass area.

The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Temple was also commissioned by the Queen Mother and built as a memoriam to the soldiers who died.

I believe my son and husband were glad I brought them to this spot. I certainly was happy to be here.

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