In the morning, we will hike to the Tango monastery. This is a moderate trek with an elevation gain of 400m. It will take about 1hour to get there, and we will trek through forests of blue pine, oak trees, and rhododendron. When we climb uphill, we will also pass through alpine woods.
At an altitude of 2,800m, Tango monastery is a renowned university of Buddhist studies, and Tango is the highest level which is equivalent to the master's degree in academy studies. While the original site of Tango was founded back in the 12th century, the current building was the work of the ‘divine madman’, Lama Drukpa Kunley, built in the 15th century. It is also the residence of Gyalse Rinpoche, an important trulku (reincarnated lama), who is recognized as the seventh reincarnation of the fourth desi (secular ruler), Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye (the founder of Taktshang Goemba).
We will visit Changangkha Lhakhang in the afternoon. This temple is quite popular with the locals since parents traditionally go here to choose auspicious names for their newborns or to receive blessings for their young children. It perches on a ridge above central Thimphu, and once you are inside, check out the shrine to the tshomen (mermaid) in the central courtyard and then enjoy the excellent view from the back kora (pilgrim path), with its lovely black-and-gold prayer wheels.
After that, you will learn more about the 13 traditional arts of Bhutan when we are at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the ‘Arts And Crafts School’ or the ‘Painting School’. You will see students practicing different arts like painting (thangkas – painted religious pictures, walls, and statues to the decorations on furniture and window-frames), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes), or clay arts (religious statues, pottery), wood carving (masks, statues).
Today’s last destination is Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of The Glorious Religion). The dzong was first constructed in 1216 A.D by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. It had gone through expansion and reconstruction over the years and eventually been completely renovated by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck after he moved the capital to Thimphu. The imposing Dzong is located close to Thimphu town, next to the banks of Wang Chhu River. Make sure you will not miss the captivating scene of flag changing at 5 pm. The ceremony begins in the courtyard and ends outside in front of the dzong.
You will spend another night at a hotel in Thimphu.