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A Complete Hiking Guide to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Board to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

The Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is located in Punakha, Bhutan. It was built in 2004 under the initiative of the Queen Mother to ward off evil and bring peace and harmony to all living beings. It is said that the Chorten was built in accordance to the traditional ways and it took 9 years to complete the construction. Situated on top of a mountain, this temple is one of the most beautiful and least visited one in Bhutan, making it an important place to add to your Bhutan travel itinerary.

How to reach the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Visitors from India and Bangladesh can reach Punakha by road. Foreign visitors will have to fly to Paro, and then reach Punakha by road. The tourism policy of Bhutan requires all foreign tourists to have a per-arranged tour, so your transportation will be arranged for you.

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is at a distance of around 9 km from the Punakha Dzong. The parking lot is at the banks of the Pho Chhu, where the famed Punakha river rafting starts. The normal prices for river rafting in Punakha costs Rs. 10000. While this is OK for a group of 4-5 people, they are willing to reduce the prices for lesser number of people.

Paddy fields
Paddy Fields

Through the paddy fields

To reach the hiking trail, one need to cross the Suspension Bridge over the Pho Chuu and walk through the picturesque paddy fields on the other side of the bridge. This is a small muddy path cut through by tiny streams of crystal clear water. Since the number of tourists visiting this particular temple is quite less compared to the other tourist spots in Punakha, the fields are yours to explore! They seem to go on and on, giving the landscape different shades of green when looked upon from far.

Cows on the way to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Cows on the way

The continuous sounds of the green paddy swaying in the wind and the water flowing nearby is just the thing you need to yourself being transported to another world altogether!

Renting the Hiking Poles

There is also a small and clean paid bathroom built on one side of the paddy fields. A small box is kept for a small fee of Nu. 10 to use the bathroom. You can also rent hiking poles from here for Nu. 50. The most wonderful part of this is that there is no one collecting these fee from you! You can just drop your contribution into the wooden box!

Rent hiking poles from here!
Rent hiking poles from here!

At the end of this path is the foothills of the mountain on top of which sits the magnificent Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. From here starts the actual hiking trail. The trail is quite easy to walk on and is surrounded by tall pine trees that are an amazing canopy from the crisp morning rays of the sun.

View from the trail
View from the trail

A stone-laid path begins as soon as you see a red sign with an arrow pointing towards the Chorten. It’s just a walk of another 10 minutes to reach the courtyard of the temple from here. It takes around 45 minutes to reach the temple from the riverside. Though not as hard as the hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, it is a great place for beginners.

Stone path

Inside the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

There is a well maintained garden with Bodhi trees around the temple. It is required to remove your shoes before entering the temple. Photography is strictly prohibited inside. The walls are covered with colorful murals of mythological events and they are beautiful beyond words. An elaborate 15-feet-tall statue of the deity Vajrakilaya can be seen enclosed in a huge glass case at the center of the room. The temple has three floors, and on each floor, deities are offered butter lamps and edible offerings.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten Courtyard
Temple Courtyard

Golden Stupa of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

The stairs from the third floor will lead you directly to the roof where the huge golden stupa sparkles in the sunlight. Under the stupa is a small statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha. It is believed that praying to this Buddha statue and making an offering will make your wishes come true!

Golden stupa in Khamsum yulley namgyal chorten
Golden Stupa

Another treat is the breathtaking view. The roof if the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is the perfect place to catch a panoramic view of the paddy fields and emerald rivers of the Punakha valley. It is definitely one view you should never miss while in Bhutan!

View from the roof of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
View from the roof

The return from the temple to the river takes lesser time. You can also opt to take a different route along the riverside. This will take you through village homes and farmlands, giving you the ultimate country side experience. While this takes an additional two hours worth of hike, it is an unforgettable experience!

Stone-laid path towards the temple
Stone-laid path towards the temple

Best time to visit

The best time for the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is from March to May (spring) & during October (autumn). Since Punakha lies at a relatively lower elevation, the Punakha weather is pretty bearable and pleasant most of the time. It is best to start the trek early so as to avoid the morning sun.

Paddy fields of Punakha
Paddy fields of Punakha

Entry time and rules

The Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten entry time is from 6 am to 6 pm. There is no entry fee, but some rules include removing shoes before entering the temple, wearing clothes covering shoulders and legs and strictly no photography.

Where to stay and transportation

All accommodations are arranged in 3-4 star hotels and transportation facilities are arranged by the travel agency for pre-arranged tours.

Check the rates of hotels – Click here

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten Hike Facts

  • Walking time – 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Altitude – 1500 m
  • Elevation gain – 200 m
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Fitness – Anyone with basic level of fitness can do this.
  • What to expect – Traditional Bhutanese temple with amazing view of the Punakha Valley.

Nearby attractions

The Punakha Suspension Bridge is located at a distance of 9.6 km from the Chorten. It is known to be one of the longest and oldest suspension bridges in Bhutan.

The Punakha Dzong is known to be one of the biggest and second oldest Dzongs in Bhutan. Located at 9.4 km from the Chorten,  the Punakha Dzong is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Punakha.

The Chimi Lhakhang is a fertility temple dedicated to The Divine Madman,  Drukpa Kunley. Located at a distance of 16 km from the Chorten,  the Chimi Lhakhang is an important attraction in Punakha.

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