Bhutan’s Sacred Jewel

Pay Homage to Bhutan’s Sacred Chomolhari

Bhutan is a country wherein the capital city has no traffic lights and the people are quite curious about strangers. Despite the country’s lack of modern facilities, Bhutan is a majestic place full of hidden wonders and amazing hiking trails. Such hidden wonder is the country’s most sacred mountain – Chomolhari. Chomolhari is actually the Bhutan term for the word “goddess,” making this 7314-meter peak a well-revered goddess of snow and ice.

Paying Homage to the Goddess of Snow and Ice

All mountains in this country are considered sacred by the locals that’s why mountaineering is banned. As for Chomolhari however, this is accessible to hikers who wish to pay homage to the Goddess. The trail starts from Paro Chhu valley. As the trail continues, expect lots of traditional houses made of mud and stone. These traditional houses have wooden windows painted with religious symbols and icons. Local villages within this area still practice ancient customs and traditions – visiting these villages is like going back to the early century. As the hike continues, these highlights make the entire trip a worthwhile adventure:

“Dzongs” or Monasteries

“Dzongs” are impressive monasteries that have stood the test of time. Currently, these amazing monuments serve as houses for administrative seats and are found in Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha, and Paro.

Exotic Birds

The hiking trail to Chomolhari offers a spectacular view of Bhutan’s exotic collection of bird species. According to GORP, about 675 bird species living in this area have been recorded. These spectacular flying creatures include the Tibetan raven, pheasants, redstarts, eagles, the yellow-billed magpie, and the black-necked crane.

Endangered Species

A takin is Bhutan’s national animal and is known for its comical appearance. This rare species considers the region as its natural habitat along with the snow leopard and the red panda. Throughout the hiking trail, the landscape undergoes a series of changes and reveals some of Bhutan’s spectacular plant and animal species.

As the hiking route continues, the Jangothang base camp offers a glimpse of the majestic Chomolhari. From then on, the trail continues to Thimpu and then to Wangdue Phodrang valley. Across the rice fields is the Chimi Lhakhang temple where many travelers go to in order to pay homage. Make sure that an offering is brought to the temple. Offerings could be biscuits, incense sticks, rice, fruits, or money.

Before hitting this trail, it’s best to team up with a local guide to maximize the experience. Trekking the most revered peak in Bhutan is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience; nature lovers and adventure-seekers will discover the beauty of this country in every step.

Accommodation Possibilities near Chomolhari

Most accommodation options in this area are quite luxurious – they can range from five-star monuments to comfortable bungalow-style apartments. Large travel groups are encouraged to dine at hotels but smaller groups can actually ask their guides to lead them to food shops that serve exquisite local delicacies. For more information, visit the official website of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO).

Accommodation example: Jangothang Base Camp, Chomolhari Base Camp, Bhutan

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How to get to Chomolhari

Take a flight to Delhi, India then switch to Druk Air – Bhutan’s only airline — for a flight going to Paro, Bhutan. The nearest airport is the Paro Airport, the only airfield in Bhutan. When traveling with a tour group or agency, they can help plan transportation services before the actual hike. During the actual hiking trip, going from one area to another becomes easier through pack animals which are usually provided by tour operators. For more information, visit the official GORP website.


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