The Capital city of Bhutan is Thimphu, home to approximately 98,676 residents counting the Royal family. Overlooking the mesmerizing Wang Chu river, Thimphu boasts a pristine environment, spellbinding scenery and architecture, and warm hospitable people. If you are into nature, you will love the towering snowcapped Himalayan ranges, protected alpine forest, lush valleys and swift clean rivers. Ancient Buddhist temples, fortresses and sacred places are well protected and preserved.
This bustling small city is the center of administration and business in the kingdom. Thimphu is the best among all the cities in Bhutan with an plenty of bistros, internet cafes, clubs, and supermarket, however, it still retains its’ cultural identity alongside the marks of modernization. Thimphu city is one of the few cities in Bhutan fitted out with ATM banking conveniences all over the city and best place to bank some currency.
The most inquisitive sight of Thimphu is that it is the only capital city in the world with no traffic lights. As an alternative, a few major crossings have traffic cops standing in extravagant traffic booths, showing the way with exaggerated hand gestures. The ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary for a comparison of ancient and modernity changes, just by getting immersed in the lifestyle of Bhutanese modern city.
This Buddhist fashion stupa is the National Memorial Chorten built in 1974 in the reminiscence of the late 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The third king is the architect behind modern Bhutan during his reign he earned a title of the father of modern Bhutan. It was constructed by Her Majesty the late Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck for her loving son, who left for heavenly abode in 1972. The mandalas paintings and statues contained in the monument dedicated to the king, also exhibiting deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
One of the main points of interest to go to Bhutan is the numerous stupas and chortens dotting the panorama, the Memorial Chorten is among the most adorned and visited religious site in Bhutan. Regardless of what time you come here, there would be folks, particularly elders, praying, making rounds around the stupa, prostrating and turning giant prayer wheels to accumulate merit.
It is a fortress-like Vibrant Buddhist temple and monastic school perched atop above south Thimphu town called Motithang, it has served locals daily since its construction. You will get an excellent sights view of Thimphu valley from the courtyard established in the 12th century by saint Phajo Drukgom Zhegpo, who was originally from Ralung in Tibet. The central statue is Chenresig in 11-headed manifestations ( Lord Avalokiteshvara) an ideal place for parents seeking auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children.
The Centenary and Coronation Park placed overlooking Wangchu river banks, right next to the National Stadium and Archery ground called Changlimithang. The Park was installed by the Queen Mother Ashi Chimmi Yangzom Wangchuk on 26 September 2006 to honor 5th king His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk. It also memorializes 100 years of monarchy in the country. This park is landscaped on an area of 5.6 acres of land next to Thimphu river to offer a pleasant jogging and relaxing atmosphere to take a peaceful walk or to sit to read books and watch the glittering river flow by.
The park has footpath made of flat stones, green hedges, beautiful canopies, and many benches. There is a small playground for kids consisting swings and slides, a miniature basketball court and a small sand football ground. Not only that the park is filled with gardens of more than sixty species of beautiful flowers and trees.
On13 April 2012 the landmark icon measuring 13.716 meters tall golden statue of walking Lord Buddha was inaugurated in Centenary and Coronation Park. It symbolizes people to pursue happiness and celebrate the 84th Birth Anniversary of Thailand’s King and also the wedding anniversary of current King. During the inauguration came to light candles and recite prayers from different walks of life.
Tashichho Dzong is the religious and administrative capital of Bhutan, located a couple of turns away from Thimphu city on the bank of Wangchu river. Tashichho Dzong is also known as “exaltation of glorious religion", it was initially constructed in 1216 AD by Saint Gyalwa Lhanangpa, the fortress has been destroyed by fire and earthquake. It was the King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who rebuilt the Tashichho Dzong by 1952 during his reign as the father of modern Bhutan. The dzong you see is reconstructed in its original glory, in traditional style using neither modern nails nor architectural plans.
The massive structure with whitewashed walls, traditionally painted and carved on tall wood beam, and highly decorated lush gardens on flourishing green valley emanates a look of splendor during the daytime. Glowing in red like it’s a symbol of love and maintaining the outline of dzong with the golden emanation in the Thimphu valley adds peaceful rest to your soul at night.
It is a majestic fortress which exalts the entire capital city with its beauty of simplistic creativity. Bhutan’s National Assembly house right on the other side of the bank an example of a modern Bhutanese building. The religious head is His Holiness, Trulku Jigme Choeda, the Je Khenpo, lives in the Tashichho Dzong during the summer months along with monks of Bhutan.
National Folk Heritage Museum in the heart of the Thimphu city, this museum was installed in 2001, and it presents visitors and sightseers with engaging insights within the Bhutanese corporeality managing and way of life. The Folk Heritage Museum is set up inside of a three-storied, 19th-century old Bhutanese residence.
The museum grants you a sight of the universal Bhutanese lifestyle, in addition to artifacts from country households; it also showcases an extraordinary array of everyday household articles, tools, and material. The museum also coordinates proper illustrations of rustic customs, crafts, practices, and methods as well as entertaining tutorial presentations for children.
The National Folk Heritage Museum accompany a biennial cadence, just like the liveliness of a real rural household, allowing you to experience something distinct to see each time you tour the museum. The museum produces an extraordinary work of recollecting the rustic rural environment and ambiance. In the museum, you will comprehend ancestral home by watching paddy, grain and millet fields, a common stream-mill including millstones of 150 years old. There are a traditional fashion kitchen gardens with herbs that typically grown in Bhutan for the past ten decades and the ancient conventional hot stone baths that are distinctive of Bhutanese culture throughout the country.
To foster our understanding of customary indigenous lifestyle, endemic trees and plants that had home applications in a rural Bhutanese household are produced, creating a sanctuary of greenery, undeviatingly nurturing for the younger generation in the heart of the capital city of Bhutan.
The Takin Preserve center established in Thimphu, is a wildlife park for Takin (scientifically called Budorcas taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan. The preserve center was formally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when the authority determined that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free. The cause for claiming Takin as a national animal of Bhutan is attributed to a legend of the animal’s origin in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kinley.
Takin draws curiosity due to their strange peculiarity as its head looks like a goat and the body is of a cow. Takin was formerly ambiguous of animal's phylogeny, and ordinary people describe it as a “bee-stung moose.” Takin is an in danger varieties of goat-antelope, indigenous to Bhutan, India, China, and Tibet.
Its habitat is subalpine pastures during the summer season, above an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,100 ft.), it feeds primarily on weeds. During the monsoon period, the lower elevation forests are uninhabitable for Takin due to the plenty of leeches, mosquitoes, and horseflies. Alpine grasslands provide rich grazing for Takin, and as a result, some males have been recorded to weigh as much as a ton. Courting or mating happens in July and August. Following a fecundation span of about eight months, a single calf is born, usually in late February or March. Full grown Takin looks golden yellow with brownish fur; calves are born black. As the drizzly season tapers, the Takin go down to elevations of 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) and 3,000 meters (9,800 ft.) to browse through the winter season on the moderate vegetation of broadleaf jungles.
The iconic olden dzong Simtokha decodes to “Atop a Demon,” moreover the saga linked with the Dzong’s creation narrates us that it was constructed to conquer a destructive spirit that was harrying travelers in the country.
This Dzong, built in 1627 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, rises on a low hill about 8 km below the valley of Thimphu. The Institute for language and cultural studies systematized here. The most remarkable aesthetic trait of the Dzong is the set of over 300 finely sculptured slate carvings behind the intercession wheels in the patio.
The Dzong housed many icons and murals of various Buddhas, deities and religious deities including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of Compassion and many more, all carved and cosmeticize in excellent detail.
The National Handicraft Emporium is placed on the central road called Norzin Lam and has an extensive assortment of handicrafts, illustrating a collection of exquisite hand-woven and craftsmanship products. This government-run souvenir emporium has fixed prices and takes credit cards. There is a comprehensive array of merchandises displayed at one place, including fabulous designed traditional shoes, bamboo crates, and ceremonial masks.
The term Zorig Chusum translates to “the thirteen arts” also called as painting academy among the Bhutanese, this academy renders training in the arts and crafts of Bhutanese lifestyle. Pupils from all across the nation, who possess a talent for painting (fittings, thangkas –spiritual pictures), woodcarving (masks, figures, vessels), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or sculpture-making (clay), train for four to five years to perfect the instruction. After acquiring the discipline, these scholars are contracted to rehabilitate critical Bhutanese arts and paintings.
This Institute Of Zorig Chusum was instituted to support Bhutanese culture by the preservation of inherited techniques of arts and craft. The institute revitalizes the dwindling procedures through research and transfer of anecdotal and adept professions to the youth. The final product and crafts exhibits are a photographers' vision, and it's arduous not to feel inspired with the ability and discipline of the young pupils. The showroom trades considerate-worth for arts made by students.
The national library endowed in 1967 with the prime intention of obtaining and preserving principally ancient Buddhist transcribed and published resources. It is a primary ecclesiastical repository including some quintessential purposes devoted to the preservation and advancement of the vibrant cultural and evangelistic heritage in Bhutan.
The treasured history of Bhutan lies imprinted in old manuals; lastingly stored at the National Library. Furthermore, thousands of manuscripts and biblical records, and also advanced educational books and printing block segments for prayer flags have a place in the library for you to review/read.
The Jungshi handmade paper factory practices conventional techniques to produce the actual Bhutanese paper identified as Deh-sho.
It is roughly 1 km from Thimphu City. The plant utilizes the bark of two tree varieties, the Daphne tree and Dhekap tree in the production of conventional paper. Tourist/Visitors can witness the whole process of creating handcrafted Deh-sho paper practicing traditional classical methods that prevailed for ages. Tourists and visitors, can also attempt at this old craft and secure some anecdotal demo paper to call it your very own and take it as a souvenir. Monasteries incipiently used Deh-sho paper for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books. The Jungshi paper factory continues to save the ancient art of papermaking in Bhutan.
With the establishment of Textile Museum, under the assistance of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden, Bhutanese textile has attained new climaxes as one of the most visible distinct art forms. The textile museum has begun its exhibition on six significant themes - warp design weaves, weft design weaves, the role of textiles in doctrine, achievements in textile techniques, textiles of autochthonous threads and the royal collection.
The crowns of Bhutan's Monarchs, namzas (attire), the earliest version of Royal Crown and other confederates used by affiliates of Royal family can be observed within the museum. The aim of the museum is to steadily become an essence for textile education that will carry out documentation, analysis, and studies on Bhutanese textiles.
The crowns of Bhutan's Kings, namzas (dresses), the first version of Royal Crown and other accessories used by members of Royal family can be found in the museum. The goal of the museum is to gradually become a center for textile studies that will carry out documentation, research and studies on Bhutanese textiles.
This Centenary Farmers vegetable market set in Chubachu along the banks of Wang chhu (river). It is an excellent place to buy organically produced vegetables and groceries, and if you envy to mingle with the people, it is the ideal place. It is the place of hustle and bustling with local vegetable vendors from all across the country have their stall open to selling their local produce. This market is accessible from Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.
Opposite on the other bank of the river, there is another weekly market that which has a variation of local textiles and casual outfits for you to buy.
The Royal Botanical Park placed in Lampelri adjacent to the Thimphu-Punakha Highway. It is the earliest botanical park in Bhutan and frames the backdrop of the Dochula Pass. The botanical park settled within an elevation range of 2,100 meters (6,900 ft) and 3,750 meters (12,300 ft). The park is also a biological passageway of 47 square miles (120 km2) area connecting the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. The Botanical Park has various beautiful gardens which expand over a stretch of 125 acres (51 ha). The park has 46 varieties of rhododendron of which 18 species are indigenous in the park while the additional 26 varieties are induced from different districts of Bhutan and planted. It blooms throughout mid-March to early August. The park was formally revealed to the public in June 2008 to observe the anniversary of the Coronation of King Jigme Kesar Namgyel Wangchuk and celebration of Bhutan's monarchic admiration.
Apart from the rich diversity of flora and fauna the park also has biking trails, cafeterias, artificial lake and playground for children. It is a favorite picnic spot among the Bhutanese and often attracts families on vacation.
Aside from the rhododendrons in the botanical park, there are other species of plant and flowers consisting of 115 sorts of ferns. The Botanical Park has trees like big birch, magnolia, and oak. Many famous birds visit the park area, 46 avifauna classes were known. Remarkable bird species recorded include Monal Pheasants and Blood Pheasants (Ithaginis cruentus). The park is also a habitat of 21 animals, which comprises the leopard cat, musk, deer, tiger, leopard, and red panda.
The Annual rhododendron festival is held here to celebrate the beautiful and unique rhododendrons found only in the Himalayas. Showcasing different rhododendron species that are in full bloom by May, the three-day rhododendron festival celebrates the blossoms at the Lamperi botanical park.
A nun is known as “anim” in Bhutan, and similar to another monk, they devote their whole life to spirituality and Buddhism. Rested on a foreland, facing charming Thimphu Golf course and Tashichho Dzong, it is the sole nunnery few miles above the dzong known as Zilukha Anim Dratsang. It relates back to the multitalented king Thangthong Gyalpo who was a Drubthob (Realized one) also known as The King of the open field. Guru Thanthong Gyalpo (king) of great Himalaya of the 15th century was similar to modern-day Leonardo da Vinci in term of versatility in the making.
In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants abundant in the Kingdom are prepared and dispensed here. The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and view it from outside.
The Buddha Dordenma or local calls it Buddha Point is placed atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, and it is visible from almost everywhere in Thimphu City. The biblical treasure that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) 8th century A.D predicts a statue, said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.
This massive statue of sitting Buddha Shakyamuni at the height of 51.5 meters, presenting it as prominent statues of Buddha in the world. The figure gilded in gold made of bronze, and it holds 125,000 smaller Buddha statues placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 25,000 12 inches tall and 100,000 8 inches tall statues respectively. All the 125,000 replica statue cast in bronze and gilded gold. The seat that the Buddha sited superimposed is comprehensive meditation chamber.
Dochula pass designated on the way to Punakha from Thimphu at an altitude of 3100 meters (10.1706 ft.). The Dochula pass is a favorite spot amongst visitors because it extends a beautiful 360-degree scenic view of Great Himalayan mountain range. The landscape is wonderfully magnificent on bright, winter seasons with snow-capped peaks emerging a majestic illustration of the Himalayan mountain.
Dochula is more memorable for the 108 chortens identified as Druk Wangyel Chortens. All are built covering the hilltop surrounded by Thimphu - Punakha highway. Circling these Chortens is believed to bring good luck and successful journey for the tourists and travelers.
Dochula range has Royal Botanical Park. It is a utopia for plant lovers, and it caters to special interest tours as an engaging place for bird watching, research, and photography. The rich plant diversity of this park draws nature lovers from the entire country. There are biking trails within the park and children park as well. It is the excellent spot for a weekend gateway for families and to enjoy a day picnic with treasured ones.
Right above the Dochula cafeteria rests Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) built in honor of His Majesty the 4th king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The history and futurity seem to blend in the features of the temple, and its fabrication tells the tale of a leading combatant personality, whose vision intrudes the far future in an excellent amalgam of antiquity and mythicism.
The Bhutan Broadcasting Services tower placed on a hillside northeast of Motithang or beyond Zilukha. It is perfect sightseeing location with excellent opportunities to enjoy and take photographs picturesque of Thimphu valley. This location is one of the favorite places to the residence of Thimphu so, they getaway frequent to this place to enjoy and reinforce themselves from the stressful day or for a relaxing drive. On bright daylight, you can see the ubiquitous services banners fluttering on the slopes in the horizon and the stunning scenery of Thimphu Wangchhu (river). BBS tower is also commonly recognized as Sangaygang view-point.
The original site of Tango was founded in the twelveth century, but it was the 'divine madman,' Lama Drukpa Kunley, who built the present structure in the 15th century. It’s a 20 minutes drive from Thimphu city to reach Tango parking lot. The trail leading from the parking lot leads above 280m and takes about half hour to one hour depending on who is taking the hike. You'll come across Buddhist quotation marks to instigate you on the divine path. Today, Tango functions as a university of Buddhist educations and is the home of Gyalse Rinpoche, a renowned trulku (re-embodied lama) who is documented as the seventh rebirth of the fourth desi (secular ruler), Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye (the founder of Taktshang Goemba). The goemba undertook a complete overhaul in 2016.
In 1616 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal stayed at Tango Goemba and meditated in a proximate cave. The superior lama, a successor of Lama Drukpa Kunley, offered the goemba to the Zhabdrung, who carved a sandalwood figurine of Chenrezig, which he put in in the monastery. Tango is a popular place to visit during the commemoration of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal's heavily abode in April or May, known as the Zhabdrung Kuchoe.
Hiking up the slope, there are few chapels you to visit, including the 3rd-floor zimchung (living quarters) of the fourth desi, where you can receive a blessing from his walking stick. A newly built Buddhist university site was constructed at the base of the Tango slope in 2016 to substitute the aging shrine.
As you hike to the monastery first visit the meditation cave of the Zhabdrung (Tandin Ney) rested on this ridge. Long stairs leading to a chapel featuring a huge crystal brought from Tibet is used in visualization meditations. Also at this juncture is a figurine of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and the local guardian Bayup, on a horse. Tango translates to horse head the outline natural shape of the rocky outcrop.
A hike of 45 minutes leading to Cheri Goemba is Bhutan's earliest cloister is 20 minutes from Thimphu city. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built the cloister in 1620 accompanied by his earliest disciples in Bhutan. Cheri cloister is still an imperative place for meditation sanctuaries, with monks meditating for the standard three years, three months and three days. Make sure not to disturb anyone in the vicinity.
The Goenkhang (chapel dedicated to protective deities) features the two protector deities of Cheri and Tango. From here it's a steep climb (pilgrims aim to do it without pausing) to the Demon-Subjugating Monastery, built into the cliff where the Zhabdrung restrained the local demons. You will very likely see the brown goral (mountain goats) grazing and the beautiful valley of the northern side of Thimphu from the monastery compound.