Doche La is the high pass to Central Bhutan. It’s about 10,500 feet high and it takes about 45 minutes to get there from Thimphu.
On a clear day you can see the entire eastern range of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It was a bit smoky and cloudy for us, but still quite lovely. These 108 chortens or stupas have been installed on the top of the pass within the last decade.
We started our day hike right next the 108 stupas so we had to work our way through this tangle of prayer flags, always making sure to lift them up, rather than step over them. (That’s our guide, Norbu and Julie)
It took us about 2.5 hours to reach this temple perched on the edge of the world at about 11,800 feet. We shared the trail with some scout leaders ( both boy and girl scouts), but no tourists. We mostly hiked through a mature rhododendron (etho-metho) forest – many trees 100 feet high or more. The height dwindled as we went up.
We then took only about 1.5 hours to hike back down. We arrived at our hotel just below the pass and checked into this room.
The first picture is at arrival. The second picture is a bit later after the fire was lit and the third picture shows the view from our window including the balcony with the binoculars.
Just before sunset we went back up to the temple at the top of the pass. It was built at the same time as the chortens to commemorate the ending of a conflict with the separatists. Our guide stayed outside and we went in to look at the paintings and sit a bit. As we left, and we found this very odd, the lama sidled up to us and said “Give me money. I need a dollar.” We had already given our normal temple donation. Perhaps this was because the guide wasn’t there.
We returned to our hotel for a nice dinner and snug night under thick blankets. No altitude sickness today.. YEAH !!!
Before we went to our room we noticed this Drukpa Kenley item in the gift shop. Some of you have asked for photos.. you know who you are. We did not buy it.