Phajoding is a monastery which is located on the hills of Motithang area of Thimphu. In order to get to it, one must hike for about three hours from the nearest vehicular road in Motithang. It was once one of the richest and most decorated monasteries in the country however due to years of neglect it was listed in 2010 by the UNESCO's World Monument Fund as one of the five endangered cultural monuments that need most help in the world (1). It is home to many very sacred Buddhist artifacts. The monastery has a rich history and closely tied to the figureheads of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Bhutan.
Phajoding takes its name from the saint Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who meditated there in the 13th century and is considered to be one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. The monastery itself is an open complex that comprises many holy buildings and relics and a State monastic school that currently houses 30 monks. The monk body (Dratshang Lhentshog) is almost totally financed by the Government and given the numerous Buddhist institutes and monasteries across Bhutan, resources are limited. Only two thirds of the monks at Phajoding receive a Government stipend which subsequently has to be shared across all the monks. As a result, these monks live in the most basic of conditions and since they all come from impoverished backgrounds, their families often do not have the financial means to provide for their basic needs. Many sent to the Monastery have been orphaned
Really appreciate YANA's professional organization of the entire trip. Could not imagine how a trekking trip could such be well organized - more or less like a 5-star hotel with the only difference of we were at more than 3,000 above sea level. Special thanks to Yeshey and the chef who had given tons of assistance when I was descending due to attitude sickness. - Simon Liu, Hong Kong