From spooky fortresses to houses that tell whimsical tales, these haunted places in Bhutan are sure to terrify even the most skeptic travelers.
Bhutan is a deeply spiritual country that practiced Bonism and later transcended to Buddhism. And people here believe that where religion predominates, ghosts and other supernatural phenomena are most likely to occur.
Every chapel has a fantastic story to tell, and their location couldn’t be better: the chill in the atmosphere, the ruins where the dwellers aren’t quite human, and traditional houses passing down tales of supernatural entities.
If you wish to include these haunted places in Bhutan in your trip, plan a personalized tour to Bhutan with Norbu Bhutan.
Let’s look inside the most haunted places in Bhutan:
- Chorten Kora, A Lore Within A Stupa.
- The Spirits Of Tang Valley
- The Legend Of Nyala Duem
- The Haunted Television in Tsento
- The Glorious Fort Of Victory
- Gom Kora
1. Chorten Kora, A Lore Within A Stupa.
The site: Chorten Kora is huge but not quite as big as the Bodhnath stupa in Nepal, after which it was modeled. This magnificent Buddhist architecture is built alongside the Kulong Chu creek in Trashiyantse, eastern Bhutan.
The colossal monument was built in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday (a spiritual practitioner) in honor of his uncle, Jungshu Phesan. But, more significantly, it was designed to subjugate the demon who ravaged the travelers there.
Story told: Lam Ngawang Loday sought divine intervention to tame the demonic entity spreading a great deal of malice. That said, it is one of the most haunted places in Bhutan.
The intervention predicted that the demon could be stopped by erecting a stupa resembling Nepal’s Boudha Chorten.
However, the stupa had to be encased with a sixteen-year-old girl bearing marks of divinity. For this reason, Ani Chorten Zangmo, the daughter of a local chieftain in Arunachal Pradesh, was enshrined in the stupa.
Current scenario: During the first month of the lunar calendar, the people from Arunachal Pradesh, known as Dakpas, make a three-day pilgrimage to honor the sacrifice of their princess.
Locals believe that on these days when Dakpas come to offer their prayers, the Chorten seems to illuminate more gloriously.
2. The Spirits Of Tang Valley
The site: Tang valley is located 11kms northeast of Bumthang. Most of the tales and folklore from Tang valley revolve around Buddhist masters persecuting aboriginal spirits. And not all locals readily talk about it.
Story-told: Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava subdued the malevolent spirits, causing havoc among the people during the eighth century. But what seems to have escaped were the lowly spirits who compel interactions.
These spirits are responsible for various harms, from illness and death to superficial wounds on human bodies. Malevolent ghosts are feared and worshipped. These spirits rule the valley of Tang, making it one of the most haunted places in Bhutan.
Current Scenario: Malevolent spirits are catastrophic, and once they are identified, necessary placatory rituals are conducted. Malevolent spirits, like living humans, have a strong desire for good food.
Offerings of food, tea, and alcohol are still made in Tang to appease the spirits and prevent them from wreaking more damage. If you are visiting Bumthang, the ceremonial acts done by Tang residents may fascinate you.
3. The Legend Of Nyala Duem
The site: As you travel toward central Bhutan, you will come across a big forest called Nyalalum. Long ago, a wicked demoness named Nyala Duem is said to have dwelled in this forest. She was the eldest of the seven sisters.
Nyala Duem was the most evil of the seven siblings, capable of performing various magical illusions. She would sometimes transform into a lovely young lady and ravage travelers.
It is recorded in the biography of a 15th-century saint named Drukpa Kuenley that he was journeying toward eastern Bhutan. He declined to travel further when he approached Trongsa, stating that he would not visit where three ‘bji’ meet.
Rukubji, Chendebji, and Tangsibji are the three bji or the haunted places in Bhutan that Nyala Duem and her sisters had in control.
Story Told: Let’s get you on an episode of Garp Lungi Khorlo, whose name means the wheel of wind. He was a messenger for the then ruler of Trongsa and would frequent Punakha.
It is believed that Garp Lungi Khorlo was praised for his ability to travel across Trongsa and Punakha within a day. When Garp Lungi Khorlo set off on his third trip to Punakha, he was not in a good mood. He was also reluctant and walked sluggishly.
As he was crossing hills and vales in Trongsa’s wilderness, Nyala Duem had depleted his life force without Garp Lungi Khorlo knowing. As he came across her by a small creek, she had turned herself into a beautiful, young nomad girl.
Garp saw her washing human entrails and claimed that it was his organs that she had in her possession. Garp Lungi Khorlo fell ill and died consequentially after these provocative incidents occurred. This place is one of the most haunted places in Bhutan, feared even now.
Current Situation: Since there are so many attractions, the road to Trongsa is now trodden with hordes of tourists. It is possible to hire a guide to show you around the most haunted places in Bhutan and tell you about its eerie past.
Make sure to visit these haunted places in Bhutan during the day, as locals believe that anyone traveling through the dense forest at night would encounter entities that are clearly not human.
4. The Haunted Television in Tsento
The site: If you enjoy a good ghost story, visit Tsento, a tiny village near Paro that is said to be one of the haunted places in Bhutan because of a TV set that is considered accursed.
Story told: This cursed device is said to be possessed by a man’s troubled soul who has evaded purgatory. It has swept through at least three families, leaving nothing but devastation and death.
Those who dared to own it were cursed. Villagers claim that the television is haunted because it makes noises even when turned off, which they interpret as a sign that the TV set is accursed.
Current scenario: After speaking with a well-known astrologer, he advised the locals to get rid of the TV set. Twenty years later, it is still lying in its quiet and secluded home, and the villagers will caution interested tourists who come to see it to keep away.
The people believe that the TV has desecrated an entire hill and that anyone who ventures too close to the place will be caught in the wickedness of the television and become mentally disturbed.
5. The Glorious Fort of Victory
The site: Just so you know, the glorious fort of victory is not, as you may imagine, a vibrant structure that has aged well. Drugyel Dzong, the fortress that marked Bhutan’s triumph against the Tibetan invasions during the 17th century, was razed to the ground.
What remains now are ruins, and it is, seemingly, one of the haunted places in Bhutan. The fortress is situated about 14kms from Paro.
Story Told: The remains have historical significance and honor the then-ruler of western Bhutan, who fought triumphantly against the Tibetans.
Drugyel Dzong was burned down in the 1950s, and the charred windows, fractured walls, and ominous darkness create the impression that something horrible is lurking inside.
Current Scenario: Drugyel Dzong is one of the major attractions in Bhutan, and the ruins are an impressive sight to behold.
The Drukgyel Dzong’s ruins and ancient defense architecture are well preserved and safeguarded. In 1914, Nat Geo published an article about the remains of this magnificent fort.
The former Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay announced that the dzong would be restored to its former glory to commemorate the birth of the future Sixth Dragon King, Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
6. Gom Kora
The site: Gom Kora is a temple located around 21 kilometers north of Trashigang. It is also the point of entry to Trashiyangtsi. It was once known as Gomphu Kora, meaning the hallowed meditation ground of Guru Rinpoche.
From the stories that were foretold, Gom Kora is considered one of the haunted places in eastern Bhutan.
According to tradition, an evil spirit named Myongkhapa fled from Tibet’s Samye. Myongkhapa followed the current course of the Kholongchhu stream, causing mayhem and hiding within a rock where Gomphu Kora now sits.
Guru Rinpoche, the founder of the Nyingma school of Buddhism, pursued the evil spirit and meditated inside the rock cave for three days before defeating it.
Current Scenario: Today, Gom Kora is not only famous for festivals honoring Guru Rinpoche but also one of the major attractions for pilgrims from eastern Bhutan and India, especially the Dakpas of Arunachal Pradesh.
Surprisingly, it is said that during the festival in Gom Kora, you can meet your soul mate.
These are some of the most eerie, creepy, and desolate haunted places in Bhutan. These haunted places in Bhutan are still blanketed in mysteries, with legends passed down for generations, and locals would advise you to stay away.
So, if you think you can withstand these haunted places in Bhutan and are brave enough to come closer to these dark mysteries, Norbu Bhutan can help you plan a personalized tour to Bhutan that includes these destinations.
To learn more about Bhutan and its differences from the rest of the world, read 10 Museums Of Bhutan To Visit To Assimilate Bhutanese Culture.