At an elevation of 2320 m, in a lovely valley lies Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. It is unique with modern developments taking place alongside ancient traditions. With a population of around fifty thousand this city is the centre of government, religion and commerce.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Tashichho Dzong: This "fortress of the glorious religion" contains the main secretariat building, the throne home of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. It was built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and renovated and reconstructed by the Late King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Semtokha Dzong: This is the oldest Dzong in Bhutan and was constructed in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is now a school for Buddhist studies.
Memorial Chorten: This gold capped stupa was built in 1974 as a memorial to the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The Buddhist paintings and images inside are a must for those wishing to glance into Buddhist philosophy.
Traditional Medicines Institute: Also known as the Indigenous Hospital allopathic medicines are administered here. In Bhutan both modern and traditional treatments are given equal importance with people turning to traditional doctors (Drungtshos) as often as to modern doctors.
Handicraft Emporiums: Pretty basketwork, silver jewellery, thangkas and exotic weavings of wool, silk and cotton are available in a number of the emporiums in Thimphu. Painting School: Traditional paintings are taught here and students can be seen producing intricate and lovely designs on cloth.
The Weekend Market: Every weekend most of the residents of Thimphu valley can be seen on the banks of the Thimphu river where farmers from in and around Thimphu come to sell their vegetable and diary products. An interesting place to visit offering a chance to mingle with the locals.
Phajodhing Temple: A saint Shacha Rinchen built the temple in 15th century and is located at an altitude of 3,700 metres, overlooking the Thimphu Valley. Surrounding the temple are many retreat houses for the people who come here and spend about 3 years in retreat. The hike is uphill north of Thimphu through mixed conifer forest with great views of Thimphu valley behind. You could still hike higher up to the mountain to witness the enchanting Thujedra and Jimilangtso lakes. This is the last day of the Drukpath Trek in reverse.
Thadra Goenpa: At an altitude of 3270 metres can be reached after two hours of strenuous uphill hike from the RBA head quarters in Lungtenphu.
Tango Cheri Monastery:With about 12 kilometers of drive you arrive at the starting point of Tango hike. It takes about an hour to arrive at the temple and is about 900 feet climb. Built in 12th century by Gyalwa Lhanampa, it serves as the monastic school for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and many other Buddhist studies. On the same day you can hike to Cheri monastery, return back to the road, your car will drive you to the traditional bridge over the Thimphu River. From here you hike for about an hour and half. Crossing the lovely traditional bridge you climb steeply to the monastery. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal founded the temple in 1620.