Choki Wangmo  

Hidden in the lush warm broad-leaved forests, Dangchu in Wangdue is a land of countless monasteries, saints, wild dogs, tigers, and menchhus.

Dangchu Menchhu, also known as Wang-chu in Tokaling Tomla, sees people from across the country, some staying as long as 15 days at the menchhu – medicinal bath.

Kinley Dorji, a former cab driver and his family, caters to the visitors. The water that flows from under a huge cypress tree is drawn to two big water tanks.  The water from the heated tankers is distributed to seven bathrooms.

The 29-year-old has to pay the gewog an annual fee of more than Nu 1.4 million . Until this month, 2,000 people has visited the menchhu. Visitors, Kinley Dorji said, increase in winter. A tub costs Nu 1,200 to 1,500, and a room charge for a night is Nu 200. 

The local residents say that three Wangchhus—Phochhu, Mochhu, and Domchhu—flowing during the empowerment of 2nd Je Khenpo Sonam Oezer in the 17th century has powers to heal 13 different types of diseases known as gNey- Rig-Chusum.

Locals believe that the menchhu heals cancers, fractures, and cut

A Khenpo from Dangchu Dendrupcholing Goendzin Dratsang, Yonten Gyeltshen, said that during a teaching, the Khenchen couldn’t use the village stream for purification rituals. He then pointed to a cypress tree from which the villagers brought him the water.

“It is said to have healed cancers, fractures, and cuts,” he said.

After Khenchen Sonam Oezer,  Yeshi Senge visited the place and used the water when he started the first Buddhist college in the country. He built a stupa at the site with the mantras of Namjom (Ushnishavijaya).

The water from the menchu was once used as an offering in Punakha dzong and as an offering for the sacred body of Pema Lingpa.

The place got its name from the spring water too. Dang Chu means ‘clear water’.

“By the prayers of Khenchen Sonam Oezer and the blessings of Chabje Yeshi Singye, this sacred water has benefitted many people with ailments,” Yonten Gyeltshen said.

Today, people worship and consider the spring as a ‘Duetsi’ (blessed water) and drink it for health benefits.

Built at the cost of 1.5 million by the dzongkhag administration, the newly-constructed bathhouses and other infrastructure at the menchhu include seven bathrooms, five guestrooms, a common kitchen and three public toilets.

However, visitors say that the basic facilities at the menchhu need renovation and maintenance. Some raised the issues of high charges which makes it inaccessible for the poor. 

Dangchu Gewog, once considered one of the remotest gewogs until it was electrified and feeder road was built from Nobding in recent times has over 207 households. It is about 18km drive away from Nobding.