Generally visitors enter the Kingdom at Paro by the National Airline, Druk Air. This beautiful valley, if ever a place exists here nature and man consulted to create their dearest image; it must be the valley of Paro. Mt. Chomolhari 7320m reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form the Pa - Chu (Paro River). Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraced field’s...
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The modern capital of Bhutan lies at an elevation of 2300m in a valley traversed by the Wang chu (river). Trashi Chho Dzong the main Secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty and a summer residence of the central monk body. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimpu is a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimpu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. It is also an ideal spot for day walks.
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Punakha Dzong built between two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel served as capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still the winter residence of the central monk body. In spite of four catastrophic fires and an earthquake that destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong houses sacred artifacts and embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Punakha's climate and warmer temperatures make its valley one of the most fertile in Bhutan. Chime Lhakhang located on a hillock among the rice fields is picturesque and is a pilgrimage site for childless couples. The temple is associated with the famous saint Drukpa Kuenlay "The Divine Madman" who has built a chorten on the site during the 14th century.
To the south of Punakha lies Wangdiphodrang Dzong at an elevation of 1300m. It is the last town on the highway before entering central Bhutan. This Dzong built during the 17th century played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts. Further up is Gangtey Gompa, an old monastery dating from the 16th century. It is infact the only monastery which follows the Nyingmapa sect of school. This valley of Phobjikha is also a home of the rare Black Necked Crane, an endangered species which migrate from the Tibetan plateau in winter. There are about 450 - 500 cranes residing in Bhutan out of which 250 - 300 live in this beautiful valley.
Trongsa at an altitude of 2200m forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The Royal family has strong links with Trongsa. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck ruled the country from this Dzong.
Sight Seeing around Trongsa
• Trongsa Dzong
Built in 1648 is an impregnable fortress. The massive structure is built on many levels into the side of the hill that includes countless courtyards, passage ways and corridors in addition to the twenty three temples inside the Dzong. Due to its highly strategic position as the only connecting route between east and west the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) was able to control the whole region effectively for centuries. Above the Dzong a Ta Dzong (watch tower) was built to watch out for invaders and travelers. Now its a temple dedicated to the great hero Ling Gesar.
Bumthang or Jakar
To the east of Trongsa lies the Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2,600m, has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his re-incarnation known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners.
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MONGAR & LHUENTSE
Mongar is the district headquarters and hardly more than a stopping place surrounding by fields of maize. It is northern portion of the ancient region of Kheng. Mongar is also the first town which builds in a mountain side as an alternative of valley. It is not as architecturally spectacular as others in the region. Arriving in Mongar is a great relief from the turns and heights of the journey over the pass.
Shongar Dzong, Mongar's original Dzong, is in ruins and the new dzong in Mongar town is not as architecturally spectacular as others in the region. Dramtse Goemba, in the eastern part of the district, is an important Nyingmapa Monastery, but it is difficult to get there. Read More »
TRASHIGANG & TASHI YANGTSE
Trashigang lies above the Gumri river and is the largest district in Bhutan. It is much busier than other Bhutanese towns due to its proximity to Samdrup Jongkhar in the south has enabled it to grow as a centre of commerce. Trashigang is used as the market place for the hill people from Merak & Sakteng who are known for their exceptional features and for their costume made of Sheep skin and Yak wool. The hat that they wear is unusual but has a significance of its own. It is very different from customary Bhutanese clothing. The 17th century Dzong is built on top of a cliff and serves as an administrative centre.
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The road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar was completed in the early 1960s. This town is small and bustling and acts as a commercial hub and entry and exit point in the south east.
Trongsa at an altitude of 2200m forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The Royal family has strong links with Trongsa. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck ruled the country from this Dzong. Read More »