The monastery, which is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, is located at the northern end of the Thimphu Valley about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the capital. It sits on a hill above the end of the road at Dodeyna and it takes about an hour to walk up the steep hill to reach the monastery from there.
According to Bhutanese religious histories, the place was first visited by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. In the 13th century it was visited by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan. Johnsingh (2005) describes the beauty of the place and the occurrence of goral there.
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Chagri Dorjeden was the first monastery established in Bhutan by Ngawang Namgyal in 1620 when he was 27 years old. The Zhabdrung spent three years in strict retreat at Chagri and resided there for many periods throughout the rest of his life. It was at Chagri in 1623 that he established the first Drukpa monastic order in Bhutan.
- "His Holiness the Je Khenpo begins tour of southern and eastern dzongkhags". Kuensel Newspaper. 6 March 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- Ardussi, John (2004); Formation of the State of Bhutan ('Brug gzhung) in the 17th century and its Tibetan Antecedents in Journal of Bhutan Studies, Vol 11 2004, Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu.
- Dargye, Yonten and Sørensen, P.K. (2001); The Biography of Pha 'Brug-sgom Zhig-po called The Current of Compassion. Thumphu: National Library of Bhutan. ISBN 99936-17-00-8
- Dargye, Yonten (2001). History of the Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan (12th to 17th Century A.D.). Thimphu. ISBN 99936-616-0-0.
- Dorji, Sangay (Dasho) (2008). The Biography of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal: Pal Drukpa Rinpoche. Kinga, Sonam (trans.). Thimphu, Bhutan: KMT Publications. ISBN 99936-22-40-0.
- Seeds of Faith: A Comprehensive Guide to the Sacred Places of Bhutan (volume 1). Thimphu: KMT Publications. 2008.
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Johnsingh, A.J.T. 2005. A paradise in the Himalaya. Frontline, January, 28: 67-72.