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Bhutan: Tango Monastery

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Tango Monastery | Bhutan | Asia

[Visited: October 2009]

After visiting nearby Cheri monastery, we drove a short while to reach the other end of the road in upper Wang Chhu valley. The guide and I left the driver and car behind - as this was still the beginning of our trip, I had to get used to leaving the poor driver behind as we would be exploring the surroundings. We saw many birds on our way up - which was so easy that we reached Tango Goemba in less than twenty minutes. As we got closer, monks seemed to arrive from all directions, heading to the main entrance of the monastery. The main building loomed high above us, and I was struck by its impressive architecture. A curved building, the white walls had wooden windows sticking out of the walls, giving the building a remarkable look.

Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Looking up Tango Goemba from below

The guide and I walked clockwise around the giant prayer wheels, which were not even very difficult to set in motion. While some of the monks stayed outside, we entered the courtyard of the monastery and visited several of the temples inside its walls. The guide prayed at all temples, and we were offered holy water in several temples. You are supposed to drink a little and then wet the top of your head with the rest. We climbed to the top of the monastery, and stumbled upon a funerary ceremony. Monks were sitting cross-legged in a circle, and the relatives of the deceased were sitting in the middle. The chanting of the monks and the bowing of the relatives: it was a very serene scene. I could imagine the person who had just died, must have been feeling at peace.

Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Detail of religious painting on a wall of Tango Monastery

We felt we were intruding on this serious scene, and went further up the building. We visited the wooden balconies with Bhutanese calligraphy on the corner poles. Furthermore, it allowed us for a good view of the courtyard below. While soaking in the quiet, relaxed and relaxing environment, my guide filled me in with the history of Tango. It was founded in the 12th century, but the groundwork of the monastery as we see it now was built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley - better known as the Divine Madman. When Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated in a cave near Tango in 1616, it was the end of the Tibetan invasion and the beginning of the Bhutanese nation.

Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Large prayer wheel at the entrance of Tango Goemba
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Buddhist monks on their way to Tango Goemba
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): View of Tango Goemba from the entrance
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Decorated door of Tango Monastery
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Tango Goemba seen from a short distance
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Enormous prayer wheel at the entrance of Tango Monastery
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Bhutanese text on wooden balcony in Tango Monastery
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Door in Tango Goemba with protective cloth
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Building clinging to the rock cliffs near Tango Monastery
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Ceiling of entrance to Tango Monastery
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Colourful hallway with wall paintings covered by yellow cloth
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Religious scene painted at the entrance of Tango Goemba
Picture of Tango Monastery (Bhutan): Painting with religious significance on a wall at Tango Goemba

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