Dochula pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu. The pass is a popular location among tourists as it offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
Bhutan is a mountainous country linked with series of passes. Located at 3810m (13,000ft), between the valley of Paro and Haa is Chele La, the highest road pass in the country.
Popular for short excursion (2 and half hours), many tourists are seen visiting the vantage point. Some prefer driving, some hiking and many wheels down either to Haa or Paro valley in their mountain bikes. The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce and larch forests. Depending on season you will encounter various sights such as frozen river, waterfall, rhododendron forest and yaks grazing peacefully. On a clear day, you can view Mt. Jumolhari(Bhutan's most sacred peak at over 22,000 ft) along with Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of both the valley (Paro and Haa).
A visit to Bhutan cannot really be complete without a foray into the culturally rich and picturesque HAA Valley. This valley adjoins the districts of Samtse, Paro and Chukha and encompasses over 1706 sq. km. This is one of the least populated valleys of Bhutan and has a strong Tantric culture. Many seekers of occult and alternative magic visit the HAA Valley for its tantric symbolism and before the 8th century, animal sacrifices were common here.
However, Padmasambhava, one of the major Buddhist religious icons was responsible for subduing the more violent practices of the HAA Valley though evidence of this belief system is sometimes demonstrated through current rituals and customs. Nature lovers will find HAA Valley to be a paradise of beauty as its diversity in flora and fauna is unparalleled.
Located on a stretch of land where the Pho chhu and Mo chhu converge, the Punakha dzong served as the centre of government and the first session of the National Assembly was also held here in 1953. Punakha was the first capital of Bhutan and the country’s first king was crowned here in 1907. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche had prophesied that a young man named Namgyel would come to a mountain that appeared like a sleeping elephant and build a dzong upon the elephant’s trunk. To fulfill this prophecy, Zhabdrung commissioned Zow Balep, a carpenter to construct the dzong in 1637.
Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche visited and sanctified Bhutan in the 8th century when evil spirits abounded and harmed people.
Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a tigress’ back to subdue a local demon. Thereafter, he meditated here for three months.
Taktshang Goemba or Tiger’s Nest Monastery was blessed and sanctified as one of Bhutan’s most sacred religious sites. It hangs on a cliff and stands above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons.