- General information
- Himalayan Wonderland
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- Himalayan Splendor
- The Last Shangrila
- Mountain Journey
- Bhutan Odyssey
- Himalayan Heartlands
- Bhutan Treks
- Gangtey Trek
- Druk Path Trek
- Bumthang Cultural Trek
- Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
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- Punakha Winter Trek
Bhutan-Places of Interest
The capital town of Bhutan , and the center of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a lively place, an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
What to see in Thimphu
National Memorial Chorten : The building of this chorten was originally the idea of Bhutan 's third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan ”), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty's untimely death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974 . The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Tashichhodzong : The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty's secretariat, and the central monk body. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and while the monk body is resident in its winter quarters in Punakha.
Simtokha Dzong : This dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km. down the valley from Thimphu . The Institute for Language and Culture Studies is located here. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.
National Library : The National Library was established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan 's cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundred years old. This collection, known as the Choekey Collection, mainly comprises Buddhist literature written in Choekey, the religious script of Northern Buddhism, but also includes works written in Tibetan and in Dzongkha , Bhutan 's national language. There is also a small Foreign Books Collection, stock of which mainly comprises works written in English, with subject interest on Buddhist studies, Bhutan , the Himalayan region and neighboring countries.
Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as the Painting School , the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan . On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine : 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 the outside.
Changangkha Temple ( Thimphu )
t's one of the oldest temple in Thimphu valley, built by a descendant of Phajo Drugom Shigpo, the founder of the Drukpa school in Bhutan . The main figure here is an image of sitting Avalokiteshavra. Facing the entrance the murals also include an authentic depiction of Tsangpa Gya-re, the founder of Drukpa Kagyed School in Tibet 12 th century. It has superb view overlooking entire Thimphu Valley with prayer flags floating in the wind.
Drubthob Monastery (Nunnery)
The monastery was founded by a later emanation of Drubthob Thangthong Gyalpo (1361 – 1485) who built temples and iron-chain bridges in Bhutan and Tibet . At present there are about sixty nuns residing in the small complex. It has fantastic view of Tashichhodzong and National Assembly building, especially in the afternoon.
Zoo (Takins )
The national animal of Bhutan, traditional lore says that Drukpa Kuenley, also popularly known as divine madman, created this strange looking animal from the leftover of different animals parts. It does looks like cross between goat and moose. If time permits, you can take a 30 minutes easy walk around the fence, where you can also see few barking deer and sambar deer.
Folk and Heritage Museum
It gives you complete picture of rural life in Bhutan . The museum is three-storied traditional farmhouse of typical constructions with all homemade accessories and subsistence farming. It tells us how farmers are self-sufficient and self-reliance in isolated far-flung interior ragged terrain. Little mechanization with no competition but much stronger social ties in the community.
It highlights the traditional weavings from different parts of Bhutan . It houses a series of changing exhibitions especially from east. The pattern designs and colours sometimes signify different religious elements. Especially appliqué and embroidery are ceremonial purposes. Live demonstration of weaving and embroidery is available at all times during working hours.
Handicrafts shops : A wide assortment of colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and many smaller crafts shops around the town.
Weekend Market : Most of the Thimphu 's population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held down by the river. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.
Archery: Archery is the national sport of Bhutan . High spirited competitions are a part of all festive occasions. A team of archers shoot at targets from a distance of 150 meters. Each team has a crowd of supporters who encourage their own side and try to put off their opposition.
Archery practice is played on every weekend and on National Holiday everywhere.