Dochula Pass: Druk Wangyal Chortens

The road from Thimpu to Punakha passes a mountain called “Dochula Pass” at an elevation of over 9,842 miles (3,000 m) above sea level. The Dochula Pass offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayan range. Here, the highest peak in Bhutan, the Gangkar Puensum, can be seen on a clear day. At one of the viewing points is a concentration of 108 stupas, also known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens,” each of which contains Buddha effigies and religious texts. They are memorial stupas constructed by the eldest Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk to honor the 108 Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 battle against Indian insurgents during “Operation All Clear.” This was the Royal Bhutan Army’s first ever military operation against the Assam separatist insurgent groups at the southern Bhutan border districts.