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.
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.
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.
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.
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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