Major Cities in Bhutan

By | July 9, 2022

Thimphu (Bhutan)

According to ITYPEMBA, Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. The city is located in the western part of the country in a mountain valley at an altitude of 2700 m. In historical sources, it was first mentioned under the 2nd century AD. Thimphu has been the capital of Bhutansince 1961.

All buildings in the city are made in the style of traditional architecture. Thimphu is the only capital in the world where there are no traffic lights, traffic here is still regulated by the police.

In the central part of the city on a high hill stands the monastery of Trashi-Chho-Dzong (“Fortress of the Blessed Religion”). Trashi Cho Dzong was built in the 18th century and restored in the second half of the 20th century. This is the largest monastery in Bhutan. and religious center of the country. It houses the government of Bhutan, the royal throne room, and during the summer, the jokempo (religious leader of Bhutan) moves here with 2,000 monks. Foreign tourists are allowed into the monastery only at the beginning of autumn, when the colorful Thimphu Tsechu festival is held.

Not far from Trashi-Cho-Dzong, the buildings of SAARC (Association for Regional Cooperation of South Asia), made in the traditional style, and the Royal Banquet Hall are interesting. South of Trashi-Cho-Dzong are the National Institute of Zorig-Chusum (known as the Royal Art School), the National Library with a collection of ancient manuscripts in Tibetan languages and the Dzongkha language, National Institute of Traditional Medicine (one of the largest in the Himalayas), National Textile Museum, Changangha-Laghang temple, Dechen Podrang religious school, TV tower with a beautiful view of the whole city, Motitang Taking reserve, equipped in the form of a small zoo, and an extensive city ​​market, which works on weekends. Also worth visiting in Thimphu is the National Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 in honor of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the father of the current ruler.

8 km south of Thimphu the oldest fortified monastery in the country is located – Simtokha Dzong. It was erected in 1627 by order of King Shabdrung. It now houses a religious school. In addition, in the vicinity of Thimphu, Phadjoding, Sulukha Dzong and Cheri monasteries are of interest.

The surroundings of Thimphu with picturesque mountains and dense forests are perfect for hiking. The best place for hiking is Jigme Dorji National Park, named after the third king of Bhutan. It is the largest protected area in Bhutan and extends from Thimphu to the western and northern borders of the country. The area of the park is 4329 sq. km. Altitudes within the park vary from 1400 to 7000 m. There are more than 30 species of mammals, about 300 bird species and 1400 plant species. The park is home to the symbol of Bhutan – the bovid mammal takin, blue sheep, Bengal tigers, snow leopards, musk and barking deer, red pandas, Himalayan bears. This is the only place in the world where snow leopards and Bengal tigers coexist. Rare birds include black-necked crane, white-capped redstart, bluebird, blue magpie, Himalayan monal and nutcracker.

There are many hiking trails of various difficulty levels in the park. While traveling in these places you can see mountain lakes, hot springs, glacial valleys and such sacred peaks as Chomolgari (7314 m) (according to legend, the symbol of Bhutanlives here – the thunder dragon), Tsherimgang (7094 m) and Jichu Drake (6794 m).

Tashigang (Bhutan)

Tashigang is the capital of eastern Bhutan. It is the center of the commercial life of the region: residents of the eastern regions flock here for trade. The main attraction of the city is Tashigang Dzong Monastery. It was built in 1659.

Tashigang is the starting point for one of the most exciting trips in Bhutan, the Sakten Valley. The valley is known for the ancient semi-nomadic mountain tribes “Sharchop”, “Sakten” and “Brokpas”, who have their own language and whose way of life has not changed for centuries. Until now, the local residents are engaged in animal husbandry: breeding yaks and sheep. Also in the valley there is a unique reserve Sakten, where, in addition to plants and animals, the legendary Bigfoot (“Yeti”) is guarded, who, according to legend, lives in these places. Unfortunately, today the reserve is closed to tourists.

Tongsa (Bhutan)

In the very center of Bhutan, in the valley of the Mangde Chu River, at an altitude of 2000 m, the ancient city of Tongsa is located – the family nest of the ruling Wangchuk dynasty, which came to power in 1907. It was here that the ancestors of the current king lived.

The center of the valley is the imposing fortress of Tongsa Dzong – one of the largest fortresses in Bhutan. The first dzong temple was erected in 1543, and the construction of the entire complex was completed in the middle of the 17th century. Now the monastery is a small town with a complex of temples, narrow streets and residential quarters for monks. Above the dzong is the 17th century Ta Dzong watchtower. Tongsa Dzong is the link between West and East of Bhutan, the historical core of state power, which concentrated all regions of the country. The best time to visit the fortress is November-December, when the traditional Tongsa Tsechu festival is held here.

Tongsa (Bhutan)