Dhochu La is the pass to the whole of central and eastern Bhutan. We drove east from Thimphu and reached the pass in the mid morning. The road was sunny, but the view was obscured by dense clouds. When the weather is good one expects to see Bhutan’s highest mountain, Masanggang with its peak at an elevation of 7158 meters, from this pass.
The previous year we had seen a little pavilion hiding a small party of the royal family who had stopped here for tea and the view. This year we only saw the 108 khangzang chorten which were built in 2004. They commemorate the Bhutanese army’s victory in a fight against Assamese insurgents who launched attacks on India from a presumed safe haven in Bhutan. Travellers on the road stop here often, and one can observe a cross section of Bhutan wandering among the ranks of chorten.
The Emmet’s Inch and Eagle’s Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile
— William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
The road which descends from the pass is beautiful. It hugs a hillside full of deodar (cypress) trees. As we travelled along it we found ourselves looking at a beautiful rainbow over the road. I guess rainbows are not uncommon in spring, but to us it looked as if this was an augury of welcome: the weather had opened a gate for us to enter Bhutan. It turned out that this was quite an accurate reading of the weather for the next week.