A sovereign state in South Asia, Bhutan is also popularly known as 'Land of Thunder Dragon.' It is a landlocked country situated in the Eastern Himalayas, bordered along the People's Republic of China to the north, having India to the south, east, and west. The land consists mostly of high and steep mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys. The country has the world's highest unclimbed peak, Gangkhar Puensum, at 24,836 feet. An interesting fact about Bhutan - the general prosperity of the country is measured by the 'Gross National Happiness' index, explained by its four pillars - sustainable development, good governance, cultural preservation and environmental protection. Also, continually ranked as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest country in the world according to a survey by Business Week. Bhutanese have a strong reverence towards nature and the country leads in environmental conservation. People use cotton bags instead of plastic bags to keep the environment free of non- biodegradable items.Also, the Tobacco Control Act regulates tobacco, banning the cultivation, harvesting, production, and its sale in Bhutan. Bhutanese cuisine is known for its spiciness, most Bhutanese people do not enjoy a meal if it is not spicy. Rice and chillis are the main ingredients of most meals, accompanied by side dishes consisting of vegetables or pork, beef, and chicken. Ema Datshi is the national dish of Bhutan. Rich in cultural diversity, every village in Bhutan has a unique festival, Tshechu is the most important and widely celebrated of all festivals. Dwelling on its tourism industry, Bhutan attracts many travelers from across the globe because of its untouched mountains, serenity, and vibrancy. The Punakha Dzong- arguably the most beautiful Dzong in the country, Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the Paro Dzong and the Taktshang Goemba also known as the Tiger's Nest Monastery are the main attractions of the country.
Tour Places Of Interest
The Paro Chhu is a river of western Bhutan. It is a tributary of the Wong Chhu, which is known as the Raidak in its lower reaches. The Paro Chhu rises to the south of Chomo Lhari (mountain of the Goddess). Its glacial waters plunge torrentially through alpine meadows and deep gorges in the Jigme Dorji National Park, and descends into a wide, open, undulating valley. Sub-alpine and temperate forests are found along its middle and lower reaches. A prime trout stream, it nourishes lush green rice fields and apple and peach orchards on its banks.
Tachogang means 'temple of the hill of the excellent horse'. It is said that while Thangtong Gyalpo was meditating here, he had a vision of the spiritual horse Balaha-an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. He decided there upon to build a temple at this spot, in addition to one of his famous iron bridges later carried away by floods in 1969. A traditional style bridge with iron chains was restored in 2005. The temple is privately run by the descendents of Thangtong Gyalpo.
The Centenary Farmer's Market in Thimphu is an explosion of colours and scents. Thimphu residents throng the market on the weekends, to buy the freshest local produce from across the country, as well as a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and other products imported from India. The existing two-storey concrete structure was inaugurated in 2008 and renamed the Centenary Farmer's Market- the previous vegetable market operated out of rows of open structures with roofs, and tents in between. Produce are sourced from across the country, with the most perishable brought in from Paro, Punakha, Wangdue, Haa, and villages around Thimphu.
Motithang Takin Preserve, located in the Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan is a wildlife reserve area for takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free.
Crafts Bazaar also known as the handicraft market of Thimphu is a perfect place to get a glimpse inside the art and craft of Bhutan. As you will enter the place, the ever smiling Bhutanese people will welcome you, who are mostly the youngsters.
Tashichhoedzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city of Thimphu in Bhutan, on the western bank of the Wang Chu. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk Desi (or "Dharma Raja"), the head of Bhutan's civil government, an office which has been combined with the kingship since the creation of the monarchy in 1907, and summer capital of the country. It was built by the first Dharma Raja, who also founded the Lho-drukpa sect of Buddhism, which has remained the distinctive sect of Bhutan. The correct transliteration of the vernacular name- Bkrashis-chhos-rdzong, meaning "the fortress of auspicious doctrine" - is, according to Dr. Graham Sandberg, Tashichhoidzong.
Paro Taktsang is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan. A temple complex was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and is the tutelary deity of the country. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen taktsang or "tiger lair" caves in which he meditated.
The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo. It is considered to be one of the 108 border taming temples he built. In the 8th century the temple was visited by Padmasambhava and it is believed he concealed many spiritual treasures here. Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen wrote that during the 12th century the temple was looked after by the Lhapa Kagyu tradition and that during the 13th century it was handed over to a descendant of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo's son Nyima. In his The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (2nd Dudjom Rinpoche) records that the Jowo Temple of Kyichu could not be seen and that Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) uncovered the temple and restored it as it was before. In 1644 the temple was taken over by Ngawang Namgyal. From 1836 to 1838 the temple was restored and re-consecrated by the 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen. In 1971, Kesang Choden Wangchuck, the queen of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck built a Guru Temple next to the old Jowo Temple which was consecrated by Dilgo Khyentse. Ever since then the annual rites of great accomplishment for the deities Vajrasattva, Palchen Heruka, and Vajrakilaya have been held in this temple for the well being of the country under the patronage of Kesang Choden Wangchuck. There is a belief that the two orange trees in the courtyard of Kyichu Lhakhang bear fruit throughout the year.