Located 14km from the capital city Thimphu adjacent to Cheri Mountain is a Buddhist monastery called Tango Monastery which is also known as Tango Buddhist Institute. Tango Buddhist Institute was founded in 13th century by Phajo Durgom Zigpo and restored in its current form by the fourth temporal ruler Tenzin Rabgye in 1688. There are many legends and historical events interlinked with this ancient Buddhist Monastery making Tango Buddhist Institute an essential historical significant monument of Bhutan. In Bhutanese language the word “Tango” stands for the word “horse head” which directly signifies about the main deity Hayagirva, also known as Tandin, worshiped in the Tango Buddhist Institute.
Perched upon a cave, where the Tibetan monk Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1616 meditated, Tango Buddhist Institute belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Bhutan. Tourists visiting this ancient monastery Tango Buddhist Institute get to hear about fascinating tale about which are said to have occurred in ancient time when demon use to roam around the ground of Bhutan freely. Even the site where the monastery is erected has a legend of its own. As per the local legend, the location of Tango Buddhist Institute is a hallowed place where Avalokiteshvara revealed himself as “the self-emanated form of the wrathful Hayagirva”, the main deity of Tango Monastery. The setting of Tango Buddhist Institute was even prophesized in Tibet and to approve the divine nature of the location a ritual was performed by Ngawang Tenzin. Apart from the fascinating legend of how the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has seen the hill where the monastery now stands transformed in Hayagirva surrounded in flames, tourist are attracted towards Tango Buddhist Institute for the uphill trekking route. Built in the dzong fashion, the interior of Tango Buddhist Institute are covered in mural which depicts the art and religion of Bhutanese community. The three storeys monastery has six chapels namely the Trulku lhakhang, the Longku Lhakhang, the Choeku Lhakhang, the Guru Lhakhang, the Namsey Lhakhang and the Gonkhang (inner chapel dedicated to a deity) which has a unique deity of its own. On the third floor of Tango Buddhist Institute is a unique set of murals which depicts an expression of sorrow at the demise of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, at the age of 59 years. Visitors can also see a natural fountain in the courtyard of Tango Monastery behind the central tower along with the Chaitya also known as Jangchub Chorten which is made by the ashes of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye which is quite creepy.
Hiking upon the well-paved uphill route while listening to chirping of exotic birds and basking in the sight of mountainous valley to reach the age old Buddhist Monastery can be an astounding experience. Tango Buddhist Institute with its serene ambiance, breathtaking mural and fascinating legends has become a favored destination of tourists while traveling to Thimphu.
Travelers who have planned to go for a visit in Tango Buddhist Institute should keep the timing of monastery in mind. Although Tango Monastery stays open for all the seven days of the week the main gates of monastery only stays open for the outsider from 8am-5pm. So the tourists are advised to visit the monastery within the specified time span since before or after these times no visitors are allowed within the premises of Tango Buddhist Institute.