INTRODUCTION OF BHUTAN:

Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is a landlocked nation in the Himalaya Mountains, between India and the People’s Republic of China in South Asia. It is believed that the name Bhutan is derived from the Sanskrit “Bhotant”, meaning “the end of Tibet, “or from Bhu-uttan, meaning “high land.” Historically the Bhutanese have referred to themselves as Drukpa people.The independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in it’s history. Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion and accounts for about half the population. Thimphu is the capital and the largest city.

Western Bhutan

Paro:

A journey into the Kingdom of Himalayan Bhutan normally starts and ends at Paro, and there are few more beautiful valleys in the Bhutan. As you, checkout from Paro International airport and take your first breath of Himalayan air, you will be touch by the silence and peace of valley. As you pass by the main road, the Willow trees with welcome you with beautiful color during autumn season and hear the melody of Paro river and one can enjoy the dancing of paddy along the road side.

Sightseeing in Paro:

  1. Taktshang Lhakhang (Lhakhang means Temple)
  2. Rinpung Dzong (Dzong means Fortress)
  3. Ta Dzong or National Museum
  4. Dungtse Lhakhang
  5. Drugyel dzong
  6. Kyichu Lhakhang

Thimphu:

Thimphu is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights and situated on the West Bank of the Wang Chhu (Wang means Thimphu and Chhu means River). The city has changed dramatically over the years with infrastructure and construction making it the fastest growing city in Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. One of the most beautiful ways of spending time in capital is walking through the town, full of wonderful restaurants and unlimited shops stocked with local items from all over the Kingdom.

Sightseeing in Thimphu:

  1. Simthoka Dzong
  2. Tango Goemba
  3. Chari Goemba
  4. The Memorial Chorten
  5. Buddha Point
  6. Weekly Market (Thursday till Sunday)
  7. National LibraryTakin Zoo
  8. Changangkha temple
  9. Zulikha Nunnery
  10. Pangri Zampa Temple
  11. National Institue of Traditional Medicine
  12. Royal Textile Academy School of Arts and Crafts
  13. Changzamtog Textile weaving Centre
  14. Tashichoe Dzong
  15. Paper making factory

Punakha:

The first stop after leaving Capital city on the journey is Dochula Pass at 3140 meters. It is around one hour drive from Thimphu, it offers stunning view of Himalayan range. Where we can see the highest mount. Gangkhar Phuensum (7564m) and one of the best time to reach Dochula is dawn when the clouds are thin. In spring, the Rhododendrons with different color can be seen there.Punakha served as the old capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is the winter residence of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). The town of Punakha does not hold many attractions apart from the glorious dzong that is situated in between of two rivers. The Punakha Dzong is considered the most beautiful fortress in the Kingdom.

Sightseeing in Punakha:

  1. Punakha Fortress or Dzong
  2. Chimi Lhakhang
  3. Lampari Botanical Park
  4. Nalanda Buddhist College
  5. Talo
  6. Punakha Nunnery
  7. Khamsum Yuelling Namgyal chorten

Wangdue Phodrang:

It is the last western district before we reach at central part of Bhutan and it is also the name of the dzong (built in 1638) which dominates the district, and the name of the small market town outside the gates of the dzong. The name is said to have been given by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who was searching for the best location for a dzong to prevent incursions from the south. The word "wangdue" means unification of Country, and "Phodrang" means Palace in Dzongkha.The valley of Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful valley at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park.This place is the winter home of Black Necked Cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. They stay from mid of October till March and fly back to Tibet for their summer home.According to a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.

Sightseeing in Wangdue Phodrang:

  1. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong
  2. Rinchengang Village
  3. Gangtey Temple
  4. Black Necked Crane Centre
  5. Khewang Temple

Central Bhutan

Trongsa:

Trongsa means ‘the new village’ and the founding of Trongsa first dates from the 16th century which is indeed relatively recent for Bhutan. It was the Drukpa lama, Ngagi Wangchuk (1517-54), the great grandfather of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel, who founded the first temple at Trongsa in 1543. This town is situated on a steep ridge and offers spectacular views of the deep valleys surrounding it. Traditionally, the King of Bhutan first becomes the Trongsa Penlop (governor) before being named the Crown Prince and eventually the King.

Sightseeing in Trongsa:

  1. Chendebji Chorten (Stupa)
  2. Trongsa DzongTa Dzong

Bumthang:

Bumthang directly translates as "beautiful field" – “thang” means field, and “bum” is said be an acronym of either bumpa (a vessel for holy water, thus describing the shape of the valley), or simply bum ("girl," indicating this is the valley of beautiful girls). The name is said to have given after construction of Jambay Lhakhang.Bumthang Dzongkhag (district) divided into four main valleys, Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley’. It is the most historic dzongkhag if the number of ancient temples and sacred sites is counted. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers. The wide and scenic valleys attract a large number of tourists every year.

Sightseeing in Bumthang:

  1. Jakar Dzong
  2. Kencho Sum Lhakhang
  3. Kurje Lhakhang
  4. Tamshing Lhakhang
  5. Member Tsho
  6. Lamey Goemba
  7. Wangdichholing Palace
  8. Tang Ogyen Choling Muesum
  9. Ura Valley

Eastern Bhutan

Trashigang:

Bhutan’s largest river, Dangme Chhu, flows through this district. Trashigang town is set on a scenic hillside and was once the main trade point for merchants looking to barter their goods in Tibet. Today, it is the main highway of the East-West road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian state of Assam. Trashigang town is also the important market place for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng, whose unique way of dressing stands out from the ordinary Bhutanese Gho and Kira. It is the country’s largest district, with an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000 m.

Sightseeing in Trashigang:

  1. Zangtho Pelri Kanglung Lhakhang
  2. Khaling Lhakhang
  3. Radhi Lhakhang
  4. Trashigang Dzong

Trashi Yangtse:

Trashiyangtse was named by Terton Pema Lingpa during his visit in 15th century meaning; (the fortress of the auspicious fortune). It was created in 1992 when Trashiyangtse district was split off from Trashigang district. The northern part of Trashiyangtse encompasses the skills of woodturning and paper making. Southern part mainly depends on cash crops and animals.

Sightseeing in Trashi Yangtse:

  1. Gom Kora
  2. Chorten Kora
  3. Trashi Yangtse Dzong

Mongar:

The Journey to the eastern is one of the beautiful of Himalayan range as we pass through the Thrumshing La (the second highest pass, 3800 meters). It passes over sheer cliffs and through beautiful fir forests and green pastures. Travelers passing this route will have the opportunity to visit the Rhododendron garden. There are 46 varieties of rhododendrons here and on clear days you can even catch a glimpse of Gangkhar Puensum (7541 m), a strong candidate for the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. The region is known for its weavers and textiles, and fabrics produced here are considered some of the best in the country. Mongar is the fastest-developing dzongkhag in eastern Bhutan. A regional hospital has been constructed and the region is bustling with many economic activities. Mongar is noted for its lemon grass, a plant that can be used to produce an essential oil.

Sightseeing in Mongar:

  1. Mongar Dzong
  2. Zhongar Dzong
  3. Jarung Khashor Chorten
  4. Dramitse Lhakhang

Lhuentse:

In the northeastern corner of Bhutan lies the ancient region of Kurtoe or Lhuntse as it is known today. It is the ancestral home of our Kings and hosts several of the sacred sites of pilgrimage in the country. It is situated 77km from Mongar (3 hours’ drive) and is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan. The region is famous for its weavers and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. Kurtoep women are especially skilled at weaving a textile called Kishuthara.

Sightseeing in Lhuentse:

  1. Lhuentse Dzong
  2. Khoma village (famous for weaving)
  3. Jangchubling Dzong
  4. Kilung Lhakhang
  5. Dungkar Naktshang
  6. Gangzur Village
  7. Guru Rinpoche Statue

Pemagatshel:

Originally the present site of Pemagatshel Dzong was known as khedung, meaning the “village of cuckoos” as the region was once said to be full of this species of bird, but the people mispronounced as Khedung. In 1969, Lam Sonam Zangpo of Yongla Gonpa invited His Holiness Chabji Dudjum Rimpoche to bless and teach “Rinchen Terzoe Wangling” to the present site of Pemagatshel MSS. Right after this, Mr. Ugyen Tshering of Nangkhor village requested Rimpoche for a name to replace Khedung. Rimpoche renamed it Pemagatshel meaning “Blissful land of Lotus” after analyzing the shape and landscape of the place that resembles lotus flower. It is famous for its artisans and weavers. The district is known for its numerous festivals and folk songs. The most notable folk song is the Ausa, a song that is sung during the departure of family members, friends and relatives. The celebration of the festival has started in this region from the early 1980’s with construction of fortress.

Sightseeing in Pemagatshel:

  1. Yongla Goemba
  2. Pemagatshel Dzong