Today I am leaving Thimphu and going to see the old capital Punakha which is about 70 km and would take 3-4 hours. We set off early keeping in mind the ongoing road repair works.Singey was effusive as always and my history lessons continued.
After going through the slow winding mountainous road we reached a hilltop and a breathtaking sight unfolded .A hillock with 108 beautiful symmetric chortens or stupas enveloped in mist looked something out of a fairy tale.DochuLa is at a height of 3100 m and this popular tourist spot was commissioned by the Queen Mother as a memorial to honor the victory of the Bhutanese army over Indian insurgents in a military operation in 2003.Singey told me with unmistakable pride that the King himself led his troops .
I went up the steps and walked around the victory stupas known as Druk Wangyal chortens.The whitewashed 108 stupas with a brick red band and golden spire look stunning.108 is a sacred number in Buddhism and refers to the number of torments or defilements overcome by Buddha to attain enlightenment.
On a clear day one can see the snowcovered peaks of the Himalaya from here.I wasn’t disappointed . I felt the mist enhanced the beauty and serenity of this spot.
There is a temple near the site – Druk Wangyal Lhakhang built in honor of the Fourth King.This was closed for the public that day.
I came across a group of Chinese tourists togged up in Bhutanese costumes and they happily posed for a group photo.
Mountains and mountain passes are considered sacred in Bhutan and I went on to circumambulate the chortens lost in peaceful solitude.