Tachogang or Tachog Lhakhang meaning the ‘Temple of the Hill of the Excellent Horse’ was built by the legendary Great Iron Bridge Builder, Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464). Legend has it that one-day Thangtong Gyalpo was meditating at the very same spot when he had a vision of the spiritual horse, Balaha, an emanation of Chenrezig Avalokiteshvara, which inspired him to build a temple. Thus the temple was named Tachogang Lhakhang – “Temple of the Excellent Horse”
Thangtong Gyalpo was a wonder-working saint and engineer who is believed to be the first to use heavy iron chains in the construction of suspension bridges. He built numerous iron bridges and temples across Bhutan and Tibet in the 15 century, some of which are still in use today. It is said that the iron bridges built by Thangtong Gyalpo have heavily influenced the suspension bridges constructed in Europe and Asia.
Tachog Lhakhang temple is beautifully positioned on the base of a mountain. The main shrine of the temple houses numerous relics: a statue of Lord Buddha, Zhabdrung, Guru Padmasambhava and Chenrezig Avalokiteshvara. There is also a stack of ancient books (Kangjur and Tenjur), and a walking stick of Lam Thangtong Gyalpo.
Tachog Lhakhang is a private monastery run by the descendants of Thangtong Gyalpo. Visitors can request the monks for a quick visit inside the temple. The temple is surrounded by beautiful orange and apple trees. The residents are also seen caring for rescued cattle.
The temple conducts tshechu (festival) every year where the monks come together to read the Kanjurand Tenjur for the well-being of all sentient beings. Even the mask dances performed are said to be unique and different from the other masked dances.
To visit the temple, you need to cross through a 900 years old traditional bridge. The iron bridge was originally built in 1420 but got washed away in a flood in 1969. However, the bridge has since been restored in 2005. Many travellers express their exhilaration crossing the ancient bridge.
Tachog Lhakhang is located along Paro-Thimphu highway, before Chhuzom and right after Isuna village. It is just a 10 minutes walk from the highway.
It is a great spot for photography with a stunning view and peaceful ambience. You can also see rafters enjoying their rafting experience along the Pa Chhu river.
Here’s how a traveller described her Tachog Lhakhang experience: