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Travel Guide To Dochula Pass in Bhutan

Dochula Pass is the 3100m (10171ft) high mountain pass you will have to cross when travelling from Thimphu to the eastern part of Bhutan.

The pass offers an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayas on a clear day. Something I was not lucky enough to experience.

But Dochula Pass is also famous for the 108 memorial stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” that is located on the top of the pass.

Some of the 108 stupas called chortens in English

Some of the 108 chortens, or stupas in Tibetan, as seen from the parking lot.

Would be easy to play hide and seek among the chortens, and some Indian kid was actually doing that in Bhutan

Would be easy to play hide and seek here, and some Indian kid was actually doing that.

There´s a nice walkway around Dochula Pass in bhutan

There’s a nice walkway around the Stupas.

On the top of the pass in Bhutan

On the top of the pass

The 108 memorial stupas were built in memory of the 108 Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in the 2003 battle against Indian rebels during the first ever operation “Operation all Clear” conducted by the Royal Bhutan Army.

Dochula Pass is today one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bhutan, especially since it’s located on the way between Thimphu and the old capital of Bhutan, Punakha. There’s also a small, clean and cozy restaurant near the pass.

As I was there it seemed like every single tourist stopped there for a lunch break.

Dochula Pass resturant in Bhutan

The small restaurant at the top of Dochula Pass.

There’s also a small temple on the opposite side of the 108 Stupas, and up behind the small restaurant.

The temple which is actually a memorial to celebrate the 100 years of monarchy in Bhutanwas was built in 2008.

As in every other temple and monastery in Bhutan, you are strictly forbidden of taking photos inside the holy complex.

But this temple with the name Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, is decorated with a few paintings of the fourth king of Bhutan fighting the Indian rebels during “Operation All clear”.There´s also photos of monks with laptops and even a Druk Airplane on the wall inside the Temple.

Dochula_Pass Monastery in Bhutan

The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple.

The 108 Stompas as seen from the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple in Bhutan

The 108 Stupas as seen from the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple.

The pass is pretty crowded most of the day. It closes down just before sunset, but the local traffic keeps on going past the Stupas all night.

Dochula Pass just before sunset, on a cloudy day in Bhutan

The pass just before sunset, on a cloudy day.

Dochula Pass in Bhutan just after sunset

The pass after sunset.

Additional information about Dochula Pass.

The pass is about 45min from Thimphu and about 2 and a half hour from Punakha.

There’s a military checkpoint between Thimphu and the pass, where your guide needs to hand over a copy of your travel permit.

The road from the pass down to Punakha can get extremely muddy.

There is also an annual festival held on the pass on December 13 to celebrate the victory in the military “Operation All Clear”.

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Discover dochula pass, the high mountain pass in Bhutan travel guide

Discover Dochula pass, the high mountain pass in Bhutan.

Discover dochula pass, the high mountain pass in Bhutan

Discover dochula pass, the high mountain pass in Bhutan

Karma Phuntsho

Monday 11th of February 2019

You have amazingly describe Bhutan's great monument 108 stupa dochula. I love your writing, love from Bhutan

Tshering Dorji

Wednesday 21st of November 2018

Good writings but definitely not in memory of 108 soldiers killed in flush out operation. The soldiers killed in 2003 was only 11 not even 36. The 108 stupas were built to celebrate the victory over insurgents.

Christian L.

Friday 30th of November 2018

Hello.. Thanks for the information, I will update the post

John and Susan

Sunday 11th of November 2018

Great post. Following you now.

Sherab Tenzin

Monday 13th of February 2017

The photos are wonderfully shot. But those 108 chortens, as you said, weren't built in memory of 108 soldiers died. Indeed, the no of death was around 36 only. They were being built to celebrate victory of Bhutanese soldiers and bravery of K4 in leading the flush out activity.



Thursday 14th of March 2019

Yes. I also could not get the figure of 108. But why 108? 36 X 3 = 108. Were 3 stupas were built for each soldier?


Saturday 13th of August 2016

Love your photos and commentary