Tango Monastery in Thimphu
Tango Monastery

Tango Monastery

Tango Monastery, situated in the outskirts of Thimphu Valley is a Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan.  It is at least 30 minutes drive from the Main Thimphu town and after reaching the Dodena area, an hour hike uphill is required. This old monastery was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 12 century but was constructed in the 18 century by the 4th temporal ruler Druk Rabgye in the year 1688

History of the Monastery

According to a local legend, Phajo Drugom Zhigpo propounder of the teachings of Dodeyna who was on a visit to this place during his teaching mission heard the neighing of a horse coming from the direction of the Tango. Concurrently, he witnessed the cliff in the form of the god Tandin (horse head or Hayagriva) engulfed in flames. The deity appearing before Zhigpo prophesied that the place was meant to build a monastery for meditation. The prophecy also mentioned that Zhigpo would marry the Dakini, Khando Sonam Peldon, and establish the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Bhutan. The earliest history traced to this location is when Guru Rinpoche on a visit to the place in the 8th century identified the place as representing the Hayagriva or horse head. It was only in 1222 that the place again got its recognition when Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, the propounder of the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism, witnessed the cliff in the form of the god Tandin (horse head) or Hayagriva.

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal migrated from Tibet to Bhutan in 1616 at the age of 23 not only at the request of Pal Yeshay Genpo but also due to a conflict with Deb Tsangpa of Tibet; Namgyel belonged to a respectable lineage of Tsangpa Jarey in Tibet and had been christened by the name of Drukpa Rinpoche Ngawang Tenzin Nampar Gyelwa Jigme Drak Pai Dey and had attained name and fame from a young age as an enlightened dharma preacher. When he traveled to Bhutan on a preaching mission he was also attacked by the Tibetan army (sent by his enemy Deb Tsangpa). However, by virtue of his skills in the field of tantric art, he subdued his enemies, and finally went into meditation in the caves of the Tango Monastery; the monastery had been offered to him by the Tshewang Tenzing of Dorden (now Dodena). He deeply meditated and performed the tantric ritual of Gempo in the cave of Tango. With these spiritual powers, Zhabdrung caused the decimation of the dynasty of Deb Tsangpa of Tibet. Consequently, he celebrated this victory by writing of his achievements by composing the “Nga Chudugma or My sixteen Accomplishments”


Why is the Tango Monastery important?

Tango Monastery is one of the most religious significant destinations of Bhutan. With its teaching and amazing hiking route, Tango Monastery has been a must visit place in Bhutan and a favored sightseeing place in Thimphu for both pilgrim and travelers.

What are the relics present in Tango Monastery?

The main important relics of the monastery is Yedam tadin which has head of horse (Ta go) and named as “Tago “ and it’s name has become Tango over the times. The present form of monastery was built by 4th Desi Tenzin Rabgay. There is many important relics and museum exhibiting historical, artistic culture of Bhutan.

Who Built Tango Monastery in Thimphu?

The Tango Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located 14 kilometres to the north of the capital city of Thimphu in Bhutan, near Cheri Mountain. It was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in the 13th century and built in its present form by Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688.

The Best Things to do at Tango

  • You can also Hike Tango. The Tango hike is an excellent choice for your first weeks in Bhutan before you’re totally acclimated. Tango is on the mountain next to Cheri. There is a hike that goes from one monastery to the other over the ridge, but it’s not clearly marked so I’d recommend a guide. It’s quite common for the monasteries to be in renovation mode, it may take many years for the building to be complete so be prepared for that.
  • Meet the Reincarnation of Gyeltse Tenzin Rabgye.

Things to see in Tango Monastery

  • Six Chapels of Tango Monastery.
  • Meditation Cave at Tango Monastery.
  • Gallery of Painting of Lam Drukpa Kuenley.
  • Meditation at Tango Monastery.

Planning Your Trip?