Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Post of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

June 14th, 2020

Dochula Pass (10,170 feet/3,100 meters) marks the high point of the land route between Thimphu and Punakha in Bhutan. The single-lane rutted dirt road between these towns climbs up and over the pass on a precarious rim cut from the side of the mountain. The journey takes several hours and a lot of patience. It’s imperative to have a good driver (like Kumar!) who goes slowly, stays away from the drop-off to one side, and knows how to deal with the oncoming traffic.

At the top of Dochula Pass, 108 chortens commemorate Bhutanese soldiers killed in 2003 during a confrontation with rebels invading India from camps in Bhutan. The memorial was commissioned by Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (who, along with her three sisters, was married to former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck). On a clear day, there’s a wonderful view of the Himalayas from the site. It’s also a nice place to stop and give thanks for making it up the pass, while gathering hope for the descent on the other side.

Tomorrow we’ll explore Punakha Dzong, followed by the Phobjikha Valley. Later this week we’ll wrap up our visit at Tiger’s Nest.

Until then,

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Dochula Pass, Bhutan


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