Thimphu became the capital city of Bhutan in the year 1961.Thimphu can be considered the most modern town well balanced with its own Bhutanese tradition and culture. Thimphu town is an exciting place for visitors. The town houses are built in traditional style and the people are friendly and helpful. Thimphu has changed much over the years but there are still no traffic lights and this will remain long into the 21st century as one of the world’s most pristine capital cities. Thimphu also has Bhutan’s only golf course – a nine-hole circuit that is popular with the residents. Thimphu is also an ideal place for day walks.
The Tashichhodzong is the most prominent landmark situated near the Wang Chu River and it houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan. During the summer months, the monk body led by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong. The Dzong was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. 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
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 do. 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. It is a popular site for many locals who come to circumambulate an offer their prayers. Blessings are organized from revered Lamas or Rimpoches every once in a while.
At the moment it under going major renovation but can still be visited.
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 artistic feature of this Dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.
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. 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. The largest book in the world about Bhutan is on display.
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.
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.
These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
Bhutan’s colorful stamps can be viewed and purchased at the main post office.
A wide assortment of colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the many Handicraft shops in town.
Every Saturday and Sunday locals from Thimphu city come to the sabji bazaar (vegetable market) at the bank of the Wang Chu river. A wide range of agricultural produce n other food products from Thimphu and other parts of the country are brought here for trading. A variety of 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.
The fields adjacent to the weekly markets are reserved on weekends for basketball and archery. You can go witness it if there is a game on.
Cheri monastery, 15 km drive north of Thimphu is the seat of the first monastic body in Bhutan. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built it in 1620. It is situated at an altitude of 2,600 meters on a steep mountain slope on the southern boundary of the 4,200 sq km .The hike up to the monastery will take about 45 minutes along a well-maintained bridle path, through the forests full of rhododendron trees.
It is the largest protected area in Bhutan. The park is named after the third king of Bhutan. It is a beauty to watch the whitish torrential waters tinged with blue roll over the rocks and form emerald-green pools. And is in the transition zone between broad-leaved forests characterized by species such as oak, rhododendron, maple and walnut and conifer forests with species such as spruce, fir, hemlock and the Himalayan yew.
A three-hour walk from Thimphu and the effort is rewarded with a stunning view over the city and a good example of Bhutanese flora.
One can also walk up to the Sangaygang, which would give the best view of the whole Thimphu both in the day and the night. Sangaygang is where the national radio station is broadcast.
" Bhutan is one of the most attractive destinations worldwide, not only for all nature lovers, but also for people interested in cultural and
historical trips. While organizing next groups in the future, we are going
to cooperate closely with our exclusive partner – Wangchuk Tours and
Thank you very much."
Dr. Michal Kohn
Albatros Travel and Expeditions – Czech Republic