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Phajoding Monastery || Phajoding Monastery & Retreat Center.

Perched at an altitude of 3,600 meters and nestled above Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city, Phajoding Monastery offers breathtaking views of the valley below. Founded in the 13th century by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who traveled to Bhutan to spread the teachings of Buddhism in the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, it holds a rich history.

However, most of the structures date from the mid-18th century, during the reign of Bhutan's 13th Druk Desi, Sherab Wangchuk (r. 1744-1763). Later, in 1755, Shakya Rinchen, the 9th Je Khenpo, chose Phajoding as his retirement sanctuary. A stupa on the mountainside houses Shakya Rinchen's cremated remains.

Over the centuries, Phajoding Monastery received further expansion and renovation by successive Druk Desis and Je Khenpos, contributing to its grandeur and spiritual aura. All monuments underwent comprehensive restoration from 2013-18, facilitated by a series of small ropeways to transport materials.

The monastery complex includes about ten temples, with the largest being Jampa Lhakhang, a three-story structure dating back to the mid-18th century, surrounded by sturdy shabkhor walls. This spiritual haven is a sanctuary for solitary meditation and contemplation, embodying Bhutan's deep-rooted spiritual heritage.

Today, Phajoding Monastery continues to stand as a symbol of Bhutan's enduring spiritual heritage. Its lofty location, rich history, and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a glimpse into Bhutan's deep-rooted Buddhist traditions and the natural beauty of the Himalayan landscape.