Thadrak goenpa, the tranquil temple overlooking Thimphu
May 27, 2021
Time: 2 hours Return: about 1 and half hours
A brief history
In the 18th century, Lam Sangay Jamtsho found a mountain shaped like a Phurba (ritual dagger) as prophesied by Guru Rinpoche. Recognizing the significance, the monastery which is now known as Thadrak Goemba was built in the area. It was the densa (summer residence) of Lam Tenzin Jamtsho.
Way to the monastery
Although there are many routes you can take, all of them take around 2 hours to reach the monastery.
From Tandin Ney
You can drive till ELC High School which is located in Samazingkha, and then walk to Tandin Ney. The route to Thadrak starts from behind Tandin Ney and if you’re unsure, you can ask the locals in the temple for directions
From Samazingkha Agroforestry
Near ELC High School, the road diverges with the left leading to the school and the right to the Samazingkha Agroforestry landscape. There is a wooden gate that marks the start of the road. Previously, the road wasn’t open to the public but that seems to have changed recently. You can drive along this road until you reach a wide area perfect for parking and continue to walk to the goemba.
I do not recommend taking this route since it is known to be very steep, almost all the way to the destination. Although it is short, it takes the same time as the other routes because of the tough inclination.
Of the routes mentioned above, we took the first one. The initial part of the hike was steep and for a little more than an hour, we trooped upwards. Trees are sparse in this area but because it was morning, we did not have to face the wrath of the sun. Also, Samazingkha is known to be very windy and is a favoured site for hoisting lungdar (horizontal prayer flags). The stronger the wind, the better it is believed to carry our prayers.
We met a lot of people who were on their way back; some of them carrying mattresses, bags and even alcohol. They explained that a Tshampa (meditator) had just successfully completed his retreat and they were on the way back after receiving him. It was a day of celebration and happiness for them.
The remaining half of the route was gradual and the slopes were gentle. Seen from a distance, the goemba looks serene amidst the trees and the lungdars. After passing through a wooden gate, you’ll see the Kubum choeten. It is said to house one hundred thousand statues. Thadrak goemba appears to be quite old, and it’s age has a sort of ancient, imposing presence. The structure and surrounding area is a little reminiscent of Wangditse.
The main relic of the goemba is the mandala of phurba/spiritual dagger. Unfortunately, it is never displayed to the public due to its sanctity. Inside the temple are statues of Dhue Sum Sangay/ The three Buddhas i.e., the Buddha of the past, the present and the future.
A short walk to a lovely place, it is perfect for beginner hikers.