Best Places to Visit in Bhutan
New Year, new journeys! Given that we’re on the verge of not just a new year but an entirely new decade, there’s no better time to fly far and wide than in 2021.
Initially, Bhutan was opened for tourism, the Government-owned Tourism Corporation was set up in Thimphu in 1974 to encourage and organize tours, support for tourists and bring in groups to Bhutan’s culturally important destinations focusing on Buddhism, bird weaving, natural beauty and excursions, and any special package. It was privatized and named Bhutan Tourism Development Corporation in 1994.
In 2021, whether you want to relax on a remote farmhouse in the east, ride Saktengs hairy yaks or spot howling langurs in the South, there’s plenty to discover in 2021 in this Tour to Bhutan.
This Year, we have compiled some of the best places to visit—and the list includes places ranging from top cultural destinations to places that are becoming cultural hubs in Bhutan.
Places to visit in Thimphu
Thimphu is Bhutan’s capital and largest city. It is located in Bhutan’s western central section. In 1955, Thimphu took over the old capital of Punakha and in 1961 the 3rd Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, proclaimed Thimphu to be the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Thimphu is the world’s fifth largest capital, reaching 2,248 meters (7,375 meters) to 2,648 meters above sea level (8,688 feet). Thimphu does not typically have its own airport, but is linked by road some 54 kilometers (34 miles) from Paro Airport
Thimphu is Bhutan’s political and economic center and the central government has a dominant farming and livestock base, contributing 45% of the country’s GNP.
Thimphu is completely represented in Bhutan’s culture in the monastic practices of monasteries, the music, the dance and media, in literature, religion, customs and national dress code.
Established in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanapa(1164-1224), Tashichhoedzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress at the North end of Thimphu city in
It was historically the seat of the Druk Gyalpoandhead office of the civil administration in Bhutan, which had been combined with the kingship since the monarchy was established in 1907.
It is also the country’s summer capital.
Royal Textile Academy
The Bhutan Royal Textile Academy is one of the first institutions in the nation to preserve and display textiles and to establish various worldwide techniques.
In 2005, from guidance of Her Majesty Gyalyum (Queen Mother), she founded the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan, as a non-profit organization.
Weaving is a fundamental component of Bhutanese culture and this academy is a place for trainees to learn weaving traditions and techniques. It is also a conservation center for the preservation of rare objects from monasteries across Bhutan.
Situated on a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, Buddha Dordenma overlooking beautiful small Valley Thimphu looks stunning. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy of the A.D. 8th century, which Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) discovered and which is thought to originate from the entire universe an aura that of harmony and happiness.
The Buddha Dordenma Statue, prominently named Buddha Point, as you drive to the statue, the winding slope of the rods offers an incomparable view of the city and is a great place for clicking pictures, particularly at night when the city shines in the valley. It measures at a height of 51,5 m, making this huge Shakyamuni statue one of the world’s largest Buddha statues.
The demand for Bhutanese arts and crafts is within walking distance from Thimphu weekend market. Expect to find from indigenous yak pieces to woven artifacts, woodwork, ornaments, etc. The huts are beautifully completed by a mile stretch and offer bright Bhutanese arts and crafts.
All the items are collected in the local villages. The Market aims to conserve and encourage the culture and craft industry of Bhutan.
National Post Office
National Post Office is home to stamps from the famous Philatelic Bureau of Bhutan and Bhutan stamps. Because of its colorful presentation and limited issue, stamp collectors around the world are aware that Bhutan is the first country to diversify and export stamps, particularly 3D stamps. An agency in New York sells the stamps to the collectors and the government of Bhutan is also prints it locally.
Clock Tower Square
The newly renovated Clock Tower Square is surrounded by shops and restaurants. It is located in the heart of the city. The site is better served by fountains and traditional Bhutanese mani or prayer wheels. This is usually the hangout place for the locals. Here are held a variety of programs and activities.
Simtokha Dzong was constructed in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is the first of its kind built in Bhutan.
The Dzong is believed to protect against a demon that disappeared into a rock near the site and has consequently taken the name ‘Simtoka’ which means ‘demon’ and do’ which means ‘stone.’
Today it houses one of the largest Dzongkha linguistic schools, an important historically important monument and an old Buddhist monastery.
Bhutan is a highly immersive “living museum,” which offers a great introduction to different facets of traditional Bhutanese life. As a tourist, there is so much you can think about when you come to visit this museum. You can learn how to dress up in traditional Bhutanese clothes, how to make Ara (Rice wine) distillate and even learn about it. It literally gives you clear idea about the Bhutanese customs and it daily life style.
Places to visit in Paro
Paro is a traditional village with a lot of religious sites and artistic sites dotted around the region. There are many traditionally decorated buildings in the main street.
Paro is also home to, Bhutan’s only international airport. Paro Airport is regarded as one of the most difficult commercial airport in the world. Higher-altitude Himalayan peaks and the 1,980m length of the runway pose a double challenge as the approach aircraft passes by 5500m, because of its high density at the site.
The tallest building of Bhutan, the Ta-Dzong, which is 22 meters (72 feet) high and has six floors, is also located in Paro. In 1649 Ta-Dzong was completed.
Paro Taktsang is a sacred Vajrayana Buddhist Himalayan site located at the cliff of the Upper Paro Valley, in Bhutan, and is also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest.
In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava meditated and he flew from Tibet to this place on the back of Yeshe Tshogyal, which he turned into a flying tigress and landed on the cliff. Then Guru performed meditation and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations). The place was subsequently called the “Tiger’s Nest,” which he saw” as the place for construction of a monastery.
It is located 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) to the north of Paro and hangs over the Paro Valley, in a precarious cliff 3120 m (10,240 ft).
It s the most searched and most talked about landmark in the country.
Founded in 1968, Ta-Dzong has also been designated as a National Museum of Bhutan. It is a seven storey round building with some of the finest examples of Bhutanese art, such as bronze statues and paintings, were produced to house the necessary infrastructure.
Today, over 3,000 Bhutanese works of art spanning more than 1,500 years of Bhutanese heritage are available in the National Museum. The rich wealth of its varied artistic cultures and disciplines blends the past with the present, making it a big draw for tourists to the country and abroad.
Drukgyal Dzong was a fortified Buddhist monastery in the upper portion of the Paro district. The Dzong now is in ruins built in 1649 by Tenzin Drukdra to commemorate the victory over an attack from Tibet at the request of Ngawang Namgyal Zabdrung Rinpoche.
Former Prime Minister Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay declared that Dzong would be restored and resurrected into its previous glory in 2016 to celebrate the birth of The Gyalsey and to mark two more important events, namely the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in Bhutan in 1616 AD and Guru Rinpoché’s anniversary. One day after the Prince was born; the announcements and breaking ceremony took place.
Kichu Lhakhang, also known as the Lho Kichu temple is a historically important temple in Bhutan. It is one of the oldest temples of Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo which dates back to the seventh century. It is one of the 108 border taming temples he had founded. sIn the 8th century Guru Padmasambhava visited the temple and many spiritual treasures are considered to have been hidden here.
The temple is included in a network of twelve temples around the Jo-khang temple in Lhasa.
The annual rites of great success and achievement of deities Vajrasattva, Palchen Heruka and Vajrakilaya are celebrated in this temple for the wellbeing of the country, under the patronage of Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, Queen of Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who founded the guru temple next to the old Jowo temple consecrationed by Dilgo Khyentse in 1971. The two orange trees in Kyichu Lhakhang courtyard have a belief that they bear fruit through the year.
Paro Airport Bird’s Eye view
Paro Airport Bird’s Eye view point offers a stunning view on the city. With the Paro International air terminal being in the best ten shocking air terminals on the planet, you can envision what’s coming up for you. In the midst of the mountains, the sight is so beautiful and striking that one remains speechless by the loftiness of the city.
The international air terminal of Bhutan is among the 10 most challenging air terminals on the planet. The surrounding peaks as high as 5000 m makes it a touch of challenge, but then Paro air terminal is something you should eye for. Try not to miss seeing leaving flights from Paro Airport Bird’s Eye view point which in itself is a unique experience.
Best Things to do in Punakha
Located 3 hours from the Thimphu (Current capital city of Bhutan), it was the former capital of Bhutan.
Compared to the other Dzongkhang, Punakha provides a distinct climate, the winter and summer in Punakha are normally warmer due to its lower elevation.
Punakha is the principal producer of rice in the country’s district and provides the best landmarks to visit with thrilling experience and adventures.
Khamsum Yueling Monastery
This chorten(stupa) was established by HM the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck in 2004. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a classic example of this country’s beautiful traditions and architecture standing on the hill overlooking Punakha valley. The interior is made of 4 stories with depictions of the deities of mandalas of Vajarakilaya and is in the shape of a pagoda such as stupa.
But this chorten is special. It was constructed by the Queen Mother in order to lead all living beings with destructive powers and transport peace and harmony. The distinction in this Chorten is, instead of trendy engineering manuals, that it is built to be the principal ones in the Holy Scriptures.
Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of ‘divine madman’:
Chimi Lhakhang is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District. Constructed in 1499 by the 14th hierarchical Drukpa, Ngawang Choegyel was blessed by the visionary Saint Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529), who founded a chorten on this site after that site was blessed by the “Divine Madman”
It is said that Lama Kunley, in founding this site, conquered demons with its magic thunderbolt of wisdom and caught him in a rock near the chorten. He has been recognised as the “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox teaching of Buddhism through singing, comedy and outrageous behavior, which has become surreal, surprising and sexual overtones. He is also the saint who justified the use of phallus symbols as a means of keeping away the evil eye and the wicked chatter. This wooden phallus is used to bless people, particularly women who seek blessings for children who are barren when visiting the monastery on pilgrimage.
Mystical Punakha Dzong, the emblem of unified Bhutan:
Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong is Bhutan’s Dratshang Lhentshog(Central Monk Body) Winter Home in Punakha, the administrative and religious center of the district. The dzong has also been a place of ongoing vigil since the 1680s over the earth’s body of the country’s founder Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, which lies in a special chamber in the dzong. In the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Punakha Dzong was the capital of Bhutan. It is one of the oldest dzongs in the whole country. It is located between two confluence rivers, the Pho Chhu(male) and the Mo Chhu(female), which was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century
Nunnery-Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang:
The Lhakhang Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup is a temple with a monument overlooking the Punakha and Wangduephodrang valleys.
The lhakhang consists of a two story temple, a chorten similar to the boudhanath stupa in Nepal.
A 14-foot bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara is located in the temple (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). It also houses other statues such as Guru Padmasambawa, the Buddha of Gautama, the Ngawang Namgyel of Zhabdrung, the Namsum of Tselah, the 21 Taras and Buddha of longivity.
At first, 41 nuns began the Nunnery Complex, comprised of 70 rooms. The complex also includes a permanently enhanced center of study and meditation for nuns, which offers life-skills preparation for religious education such as tailoring, embroidery, creating statues and thangka paintings.
This statue was handmade by local Bhutanese craftsmen, the Avalokiteshvara which is supposed to be the largest in the world. The Nunnery was founded as a Buddhist College for nuns and now houses about 120 nuns.
Punakha Suspension Bridge:
The Punakha Suspension Bridge was built by the Buddhist Monk Thangtong Gyalpo and it was one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges. At 160 m, this bridge north east of Punakha Dzong is one of the longest suspension bridges of Bhutan and it is fun to cross the swinging, prayer-flagged, walkway across Po Chhu and provides a perfect spot for bird watching and nature photography.
Punakha Dzong Suspension Bridge is a prominent and significant part of the architectural history of Bhutan as it was constructed to connect the villages of Shengana, Samdingkha and Wangkha to the Palace of the Wangchuk Kings.
Cherish the enrapturing Chortens at Dochula Pass
The Dochu La (Dochu- Pass, la means Pass in Dzongkha) is a mountain pass in the snow-covered Himalayas along the Thimpu to Punakha road where the Eldest Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, has built 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” In honor of the fourth Druk Gyalpo (head of the Bhutan State), Jigme Singye Wangchuck. There is also a monastery called Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) established in addition to the chortens.
The pass is adjacent to the first Royal Botanical Park in the country with 108 chortens. The pass is 3,100 meters – 3,150 meters high. In general, the weather at the pass is foggy and chilly. But panoramic views of the Himalayas can be seen between October and February.
The pass is marked by 108 Druk Wangyal Khang Zhang Chortens and stupas, the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang and the rhododendron garden which is part of the 47 km2 Royal Botanical Park.
Druk Wangyel Festival takes place here every year.
Wildlife safari to Jigme Dorji National Park:
The Jigme Dorji National Park is the second-largest National Park of Bhutan. It stretches over an area of 4316 km² and spans all three climate zones of the country. The park provides sanctuary for 37 known species of mammals including several endangered, threatened or vulnerable species. It is the only park in Bhutan where the national animal (takin), flower (blue poppy), bird (raven) and tree (cypress) exist together. It is also home to 300 species of Birds. The rivers Mo Chhu, Wangdi Chhu and Pa Chhu have their sources in the glacial lakes located in the park.
Hot spring in Bhutan is locally named Tshachu and mineral water is called Drubchu. There is another form of water called smenchu (medicinal water). Spiritually, the good wishes and blessings of Buddhas and Boddhisattava are thought to owe the roots of tshachu, drubchu, and smenchu. Tshachu is very popular among the Bhutanese people. In Bhutan it is often used to treat disease unlike in other countries where tshachu is used for recreation and relaxation.
Koma Tshachu is situated in Punakha, at an altitude of 1839 metres and it is believed to Heal broken bones and joints. Although hot spring temperature has decreased over decades, the faith of the people has not declined because of its cure effects.
Up to now there was a temporary bridge which was washed away during the Monsoon but finally, with a permanent bridge Koma Tshachu would have a better access for the local people and the visitors.
Places to Visit in Wangdiphodrang
The city takes its name from Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, which ruled the district in 1638. Ngawang Namgyal, the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche, is said to be assigned the name who was searching for the best position for a dzong to escape southern incursions.
In the 17th century the monastery of Gangtey gewog was founded. The complex consists of the principal monastery, the neighborhood of the monks, meditation centers and a small guest house. On a hillock in the center of Gangtey Village, with a marvelous view of the Phobjik Valley below is the Monastery of Gangtey Gonpa. In 1613 this monastery was established by the grandson (Gyalse Rigdzin Pema Thinley) of the great Bhutanese treasure-finder, Tertoen Pema Lingpa. The ninth Gangtey Trulku is the head and is the largest monastery of Nyingmapa in western Bhutan.
On the afternoon of 24 June 2012, Wangdi Phodrang Dzong burned down. However, the dzong was being restored at the time, which spared most of the ancient artifacts from destruction. Shortly following the fire, the Wangdue Phodrang Reconstruction Fund earned over 1000 Japanese sympathizers contributed over 134,500 U.S. dollars. It is expected to continue the mammoth reconstruction task until 2021.
Legend says that four ravens were seen flying away in four directions as people found a site for the dzong. This was considered a positive sign that spread of religion to the four parts of the nation.
The Phobjikha Valley in central Bhutan is a large U-shaped valley. The valley houses a monastery called Gangtey Nyingma Linage in central Bhutan, one of the impressing ancient Buddhist Monasteries in Bhutan. The graceful cranes from the Tibetan Plateau in Bhutan, Grus nigricollis, visit the valley during the winter.
Bhutan is renowned for its picturesque scenery and cultural uniqueness, the vast valley with its best-known ponds. Apart from the worldwide endangered black-necked cranes, the Valley is rich with faunal biodiversity. Annual Tsechu, the colors of the Mask Dance Festival of Bhutan, is organized as the Crane Festival welcomes the black-neck cranes in winter months every year in Gangtey Monastery courtyard. There is also a popular three-day trek.
Places to see in Bumthang
Bumthang is among one of the districts in Bhutan’s twenty dzongkhag. The number of antique temples and sacred sites is more compared to other districts and it is considered as the most historical Dzongkhag. Bumthang includes the four mountainvalleys such as Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor , while the entire region is also called the Bumthang Valley. After building Jambay Lhakhang, it is said that the name “Bumthang” was emerged.
Most of the district of Bumthang is a part of the vast network of Bhutan’s protected areas.
The Wangchuck Centennial Park is situated in the north of two-thirds of the district (the Chhoekhor and the Tang geogs) buffered by pockets of biological corridors.
Southern Bumthang is a part of another protected region, Thrumshingla National Park, which is the gewogs of Chhumi, Tang and Ura. Bumthang is recognized as Switzerland of Bhutan for its mesmerizing landscapes, picturesque sceneries and large population of Black-necked cranes, which migrate during the winter.
Jampa Temple is one of the 108 temples constructed by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 649 CE on a single day to pin an evil warlock in the earth forever and ever. It was built in Bumthang (Jakar).
Legend has it that a supine demon caused obstacles to Buddhism’s spread, and temples were built on her body parts that spread through Tibet, Bhutan, and the borderlands. Jokhang lhakhang in Lhasa, Tibet, Kichu lhakhang in Paro, and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang District are known among the most well known temples.
Kurjey Lhakang , established as the Kurjey monastery in Bumthang Valley. This large, active and important temple complex is named following Guru Rimpoché’s body (kur) prints(jey) that were preserved in a cave in the oldest building of the three because in the 8thcentury, Sendhu Raja, king of Bumthang, was ill and invited Guru Rimpoché to cure him who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Guru Rinpoche pointed out that local deities, including the powerful Shelg Karpo were causing King’s sickness.
Guru pursued the deities into a cave to find the cause of the illness and for three months he meditated inside the cave. Then Guru subdued the deities including Shelging Karpo and left a mark of his body imprint in the cave and thus giving the name as Kurjey (Body Imprint).
Also there is a large tree behind one of the temple buildings which is believed to be a terma, left by Padmasambhava.
Significantly, this is the ultimate resting place of the remains of Bhutan’s first three kings.
In the central part of Bumthang, Tamzhing Lhündrup Monastery is located. The temple and monastery of Pema Lingpa (1450–1521), are remarkably linked to the tertön of the Bhutan, his tukus and his saints. It is now the seat of Sungtrul Rinpoche, Pema Lingpa’s current speech incarnation.
Tamzhing consists of a temple that has deteriorated and monks’ small quarters. A body of more than 95 Buddhist monks was sponsored. Tamshing has no donations, no money-making mission; her only job is to fulfill the community’s needs. The monastery is at a loss at present.
The main missions of Tamshing are to teach the Dharma, to serve the community and to educate young monks. As Tamshing is not funded by government, 95 monks are faced with growing problems while retaining the old physical structures. The monks are mostly orphans or from very poor families less than 15 years old who cannot afford to send their children to a public school. As the country’s economy shifts and society becomes more outwardly visible, it is unavoidable to test some of the conventional wisdom-styles in helping temples and monasteries.
In March 2012, the monastery was listed on the list of World Heritage Sites for inscription; it is still on the provisional list.
Membartsho is a Holy Site which is the place of the discovery of several Gurú Terma from Guru Rinpoche in the 15th century by Pema Lingpa (the greatest treasure discoverer in Bhutan) Locally known as the Burning Lake because legends say that Tertoen Pema Lingpa had a dream to go to that specific place on the Tang Chuu River and discover the treasure.
His statements were cynical to local residents and the ruling Penlop, so he invited them to return to him and retrieved another terma. The gathered crowd said, carrying a lit lamp: “If I’m a true revealer of treasures, may I come back with the treasure and my lamp still lit.
However, If I am evil, may I drown” and he dove in. The people got worried after a while that it took him so long but finally when he suddenly came out of the water with a statue, the treasure chest, and the lamp in his hands was still lit.
The lake is renowned for elegance, serenity and spiritual sense as a “Ney” – natural and spiritual energies and vibrations flow out of these powerful locations, making their surroundings conducive to spiritual experience. Spiritual persons are therefore in search of these places to speed up and improve spiritual practice.
In the center of the bumthang valley is the Thangbi Lhakhang. It was constructed in 1470 by the fourth Shamar Rinpoché of Karmapa religious school. The temple houses the frightening deities, ancient clay sculptures from the 15th century and the remarkable paintings of the residence of Guru Rinpoche. Some twenty gomchenes (lay or married monks) attend the Mani festival in the middle of the eighth lunar month (October) and celebrate the fire Ceremony.
Thangbi Mani is a four-day festival that demonstrates the rich tradition of celebrating this ancient monastery’s cultural heritage. Every year it is held from the 14th to 17th day of the eighth month in the Bhutanese Calander. The annual festivals have been organized since the start by the people from the Thangbi, Goling and Kharsath villages.
Jakar Dzong is a Bumthang district fortress in central Bhutan. It is in the Chamkhar Valley of Bumthang on a ridge above Jakar town. The site of the earlier temple was founded by Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk (1517–1554), the hierarch of Ralung, when he arrived in Bhutan. Jakar Dzong can be more than 1,500 meters long, the largest dzong in Bhutan (4,900 ft).
The name Jakar is derived from the word bjakhab meaning “white bird,” referring to the story of Jakar that suggested a white roasting bird to be found near the monastery around 1549.
The Dzong played an important role as the fortress of defense of the whole eastern Dzongkhags. It also became the seat of the first king of Bhutan.
Best Things to do in Phuntsholing
Phuntsholings is a border town in southern Bhutan and the administrative seat of the Chukha District.
The Indian town of Jaigaon adjoins Phuentsholing and cross-border trading has led to a prosperous local economy.
At Phuntsholing the India-Bhutan border distinguishes two very different people and cultures. Jaigaon across the border is broadder, but with many Bhutanese shoppers, it is lively and loud, similar to many other centers in western Bengal.
Phuntsholing is uniquely more urban than other Bhutanese towns as it is the Bhutan’s financial, industrial and trading capital. It has been affected a little by the neighbouring culture, but is distinctly far more quiet and orderly than its neighbour.
In the middle of the Phuntsholing town, this 3-story temple was decorated with the work of the Bhutanese master craftsmen.
Its complex unique and lovely sculptures are always a sight to see. Zangdopelri is at the center of the spiritual lives of the people of this region because of its religious sense and convenient location.
Zangdo Pelri Lhakhang is in Bhutan a place of great religious importance and is also known as the ‘Guru Rinpoché Paradise,’ situated right in the heart of the town, near the Bhutan Gate and Immigration Office, offering the troubled hearts peace and consolation.
Founded in the 1900s by Bhutan National Anthem composer Dasho Aku Tongmi, this temple with a splendid outdoor setting surrounded by a beautiful garden where visitors can rest and relax in the spiritual vibes.
A monastery located just under the road on the Phuntsholing –Thimphu Highway, Rinchending Goempa is popularly referred to as the karbandi Goempa. It is situated at a picturesque hill overlooking the entire city of Phuntsholing and well away from Torsa River before the view of a mountain vanishes. The name of Rinchending Goempa literally translates into a monastery on a precious hill. In the 1967, the great grandmother Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck founded the monastery.
You can see the statues of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rimpoche, along with paintings depicting scenes in Lord Buddha’s life.
Among Indian visitors, the monastery has become a top attraction.
Norgay Crocodile Breeding Farm
In 1976, in a small scale without much development, Norgay Crocodile Breeding Farm in Phuentsholing was set up in a small pool. In partnership with Nature Conservation and the Bhutan WWF, this was further strengthened in 2003. Contrary to most farms elsewhere, Norgay farms plan to increase their number and release them into their natural habitat their precious skin.
The center only began with four Gharials and today the center has spread to over 0.6 hectares.
As daunting as it seems, marsh Crocodiles and Gharials are a treat for the spectators, particularly when fed and cleansed by the caregivers when all are being behaved creatures. The perfect time to watch these marsh muggers is in the afternoon when they are dozing. The farm is the home for the two extinct species, the Muggar and the Gharial.
The Bhutan Tower distinguishes Bhutan from India and showcases classic elements of Bhutanese classical architecture. It’s situated in the Indo-Bhutan border town Phuentsholing, a splendid example of the Bhutanese architecture. The wood work on the gate is completely emotional.
The only land entry to Bhutan is this classic structure. The boundary is between Jaigaon on the West Bengal Indian side and Phuentsholing in south-western Bhutan.
Places to visit in Eastern Bhutan Tour
Buddhist Monument in Trashi Yangtse(one of the districts )
Chorten Kora is tall, but not nearly as big as the Bodhnath stupa in Nepal it was modeled on. It was built by Lama Ngawang Loday to commemorate Jungshu Phesan, his uncle, and to subdue the local spirits in 1740.
The reason to build this Chorten was that Lama Ngawang Loday went to Nepal and brought back a Bodhnath model carved in a radish. He had it copied here to encourage people to visit this place rather than make a challenging journey to Nepal. It is because the radish shrunk and was warped during the return journey that Chorten Kora is not the exact clone of Bodhnath.
There is a favorable kora in the first month of the lunar calendar (February or March), in which people earn merit by walking the main chorten and its inner kora. It is held on two different dates (the 15th and 30th days of the lunar month).
Drametse Goemba (Trashigang Dzongkhag)
The biggest and most prominent monastery in East Bhutan, it was established by Ani Chhoeten Zangmo, a granddaughter of Pema Lingpa in 1511 as she referred monastery as Drametse, which means the ‘peak of which no enemy existed’.
The monastery has about a 100 monks and gomchen ( lay or married, the Nyingma monks), is known for the popular dance Nga Cham drum that features in many Tshechus which later became a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Worthy of World Heritage by Unesco.
The Dzong is located on a small slope near the confluence of The Drangme and the Gamri Chha. It was established by Mingjur Tenpa, the third Desi of Bhutan, in 1667. From the late 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century it controlled the whole eastern area from that dzong.
Many lama dances are screened in Trashigang to calm up Yama(local deity) particularly during the first round of November and December of the month, A great thangka is also showcased along with the presentation of the statue of Guru in the last days of the festival.
Yakgang Lhakhang ( Mongar)
Sangdag, the youngest son of Pema Lingpa, founded this little-visited, but interesting, Yagang Lhakhang in a village on a border door just outside Mongar Bhutan in the 16th century. This temple is significant for its collections of religious gems, masks, musical instruments, crests, old arms, and xylographs blocks used to impart letters in the prayer flag and treasures. The religious riches include a statue of Gautama Buddha which was found in Mebartso discovered by Pema Lingpa, and a kīla built by him.
An annual three-day ritual and Cham dance festival is held on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of the fifth month of the Bhutanese lunar calendar in this Lhakhang. This festival is one of the oldest held in eastern Bhutan. It is said that the handwritten texts in the corner inside the lhakhang were brought from Tibet
Lhuentse Dzong (Lhuentse)
As it is known correctly, Lhuentse Rinchentse Phodrang Dzong sits high up onto the rocky outcrop overlooking the valley of Kuri Chhu. The fortress was refurbished several times, the most recent ones being to patch the damage caused by an earthquake in 2009. Although this Dzong was founded on this place early in the sixteenth century by Pema Lingpa’s son Kuenga, the Dzong was built by the then Trongsa Penlop Mingyur Tenpa in 1654.
The one hundred or so resident monks are very friendly, perhaps explaining why tourists in Bhutan have more freedom than anyone in any other dzong to explore.
In December/January, a four day tsechu is held annually.
Guru Rinpoche Statue
The 154ft high Guru Padma Sambhava statue Guru Nangsa Zelnen, installed under Menbi Gewog in Takila, was initiated and financed by the Druk Odiyana Project. Construction began in March 2008 and was consecrated in 2015. The site is situated 15 km away by car from Thinleypang/Tagmochu Chakzam.
The Guru statue is surrounded by eight wide and 108 small stupas (chortens). Takila, as imagined by Late Khenpo Karpo, would not only serve as a holy place of learning for monks and nuns, but would also serve as a home for the elderly in the future. The site, in the future, is expected to be a religious tourist place of economic importance to the local community and country.
National Institute for Zorig Chusum(Arts Centre in Trashi Yangtse)
The Art and Design Institute opened in 1997 to provide vocational training opportunities for those who have not advanced in their university education network. 10 of the Zorig Chusum have been spent studying here, including thangka painting, sculpture, embroidery, metalwork, walls and woodwork. You can take a classroom tour, see kids at work and take pictures. A selection of paintings, carvings, sculptures, bowls, and masks is appropriate for sale in the showroom.
According to oral tradition, a king named Karpo Dung invited an architect from Paro, Zochhen Bala, to construct a fortress in the city. The architect, while surveying the property, came across a white stone shaped like a bowl on a hill just above Kurichhu. He named the place Zhongkar (white bowl), now known as Mongar, and the present dzong stands on this site. Zhongar Dzong was devastated by a fire and an earthquake that lasted seven days. After that, it was abandoned and its functions transferred to present-day Mongar.
The Mongar Dzong was built in 1930 to replace the original Shongar Dzong, although the original utse (central tower) dates back to an earlier period.
The week-long Mongar Tsechu takes place here in November or December (from the seventh to the 10th days of the 10th lunar month).
Bumdeling is the eastern Phobjikha Valley. Like Phobjikha Valley, Bumdeling is also known as an important bird area, as it is a wintering place for black-necked cranes. The area is also part of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary occupies much of the Tashi Yangtse district and is home to endangered animals such as the snow leopard, the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Red Panda along with 130 species of butterflies. Blessed with rich bio-diversity and picturesque landscapes, this serene destination is perfect for a photography tour.
Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary which includes the former Kulong Chu Wildlife Sanctuary in northeastern Bhutan. The sanctuary encompasses much of the district of Trashiyangtse, including Bumdeling Gewog. The sanctuary was planned for 1995 and was built in 1998. It comprises diverse flora, fauna and ecosystems, including alpine lakes. There are also many cultural and religious sites in the sanctuary with around 3,000 local households living in the park.
BirdLife International found this sanctuary as an important Bird Area because it supports black-necked cranes (it is one of the national wintering areas), wood snipes and grey-crowned princes.
The white-tailed eagle has been documented as of 2007, a first record for the sanctuary. It is listed in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.