Perched at a cliff above the Bondey village on the western side overlooking Paro Valley is a Cliffside monastery called Dzongdrakha Goemba. Dzongdrakha Goemba was built in 16th by the first local king, Chogay Dragpa and is often called as Mini Taktsang. Molded in the wall of the rocky mountain Dzongdrakha Goemba is a collection of four chapels which includes Drolma (Tara), Guru Rinpoche, Tsheringma (Goddess of Longevity), and Maitreya (the Buddha of the Future). With the most astounding trail through the luxuriant forest of rhododendron and oak tree, Dzongdrakha Goemba has got its nick name as Mini Taktsang due to its unique location. Dzongdrakha Goemba is a visually splendid yet little-visited Cliffside retreat.
As per the traditional legend state Guru Rinpoche when arrived in Bhutan from Nepal, he first landed in Drakarpo and then Dzongdrakha before heading towards the famous Taktsang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest. Situated at an elevation of 2300mt, the first chapel which greets the tourists after a gentle one hour hike, through the alpine forest embedded with several prayer flags in Dzongdrakha Goemba is the private Jangsarbu Lhakhang. Built in 18th century, after the foundation of Dzongdrakha was laid by Guru Rinpoche to subdue the local demon, Jangsarbu Lhakhang was founded by the meditation master Gyam Dorje. The main deity of lhakhang being Sakyamuni in his princely Jowo form flanked by the local protector Tsethsho Chen and a tshomen (mermaid spirit). The second lhakhang is dedicated to the goddess of longevity Tshering inside it there is a bamboo ladder which lead towards a cave housing several papier mâché statues that were once used during local festivals. After looking through the cave, tourist can head towards Guru Lhakhang which has many extraordinary legends of its own. Visitors are told stories about local spirits, flying saints and magical spells while the caretaker shows the mark left by a sacred dagger on a nearby stone. That’s not all behind the main statue of lhakhang is a hidden chorten that allegedly has to be enclosed for preventing it from flying away, though the destination is not even known by the caretaker. Visitors can see a part of the wandering magical chorten, who doesn’t want to be bound in one place through the back door of the chamber where it is held captive. Last but not the least is the fourth chapel called Lamey Lhakhang.
From seeing a part of the rebellious flying chorten to hiking upon the most surreal path, Dzongdrakha Goemba has an alluring charisma of its own. On a clear day visitors can enjoy an unparalleled panoramic vista of snowcapped mountains looming over the scenically blessed Paro Valley.
Dzongdrakha Goemba is approachable by the tourist throughout the year but spring season March to May is considered the best time to avail the hiking route when the forest is glazed with a soft hue of red due to the blooming of rhododendron.