Located at an altitude of 2400m, Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan,It is the most populated district of Bhutan with about 135,000 people. Thimphu is the center of commercial hub where you can see mixture of people from all the places. It is the seat of Government, home for civil servant and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally founded development projects. You can visit a number of sights, and attractions in Thimphu, including museums, handicrafts shop, archery fields, monasteries and Dzongs.
Literally meaning, fortress of the glorious religion, Trashichho dzong, was first built in 1641 by Zhabdrubg Ngawang Namgyel, and later rebuilt in its present form in 1965 by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This fortress houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, civil official and is the seat of the government and the summer residence for the monastic body.
Buddha Point ( Kuensel Phodrang)
The Buddha Dordenma Statue is a 169 feet tall statue of Buddha, built at the foot of the hills in Thimphu. This iconic gold and bronze statue is visible from almost anywhere in Thimphu and is among the best tourist places in Bhutan.
This is a statue of Buddha and it’s a giant one at the top of the mountains in Thimphu and it’s also known as the Kunzang Phodrang. The presence of this giant statue of Buddha symbolizes the dominant religion of Bhutan. This very religion plays a solid part in this country and in the everyday life of the country people.
Buddha Dordenma is one of the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world today and it’s 51.5 meters tall and made of bronze. The statue will house over one lakh twenty five thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which like the Buddha Dordenma itself
Key attractions: The 169 feet tall Buddha statue, thousands of smaller bronze and gold statues of Lord Buddha, and the surrounding Kuensel Phodrang nature park.
National Memorial Chorten:
This stupa was built in 1974 in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, the Third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned from 1952-1972. The statues and paintings inside this stupa provide a deep understanding of Buddhism in Bhutan.The stupa is being now home for daily worship for the people of Thimphu.
Changangkha Lhakhang (Monastery):
It is one of the oldest temple perched on a ridge overlooking Thimphu,a temple look like a fortress, this 12th century Buddhist temple built by Lama Phajo Drukgom shigpo from Ralung in Tibet provides a fascinating view of the whole of Thimphu valley. Chenrigzig or Avalokeshterivara is the central statue of this temple. A parent usually brings their newborn babies to get blessing and auspicious name from the protector deity Tamdrin.
Motithang Takin Preservation:
At the Takin Preservation, you can see the Takins, the National Animal of Bhutan. This animal is smaller than a yak with short legs and resembles a moose with a big face and thick neck. It looks like a cross between cow and goat. It was chosen as national animal of Bhutan based on its uniqueness and strong association of our countrys religious history and mythology. It can be found only in Bhutan and nearby by areas. You can also see some barking deer too.
Folk Heritage Museum:
At the Folk Heritage Museum, you can explore the traditional Bhutanese home, Bhutanese culture and traditions, and the agricultural tools that were used in Bhutan in the olden days.
Zilukha nunnery is also called as Drubthob Goemba monastery,is located on the slopes, looking down at Golf course and Tashicho Dzong with around 70 resident nuns.One can see how the real life of nuns are spending in the monastery.The monastery was founded by later reincarnation of Druthob Thangtong Gyalpo or Drubthob Chakzampa, who in the 15 century was known all over Tibetan Buddhist world for building iron bridges.The main statues inside is statue of Drupthop Thangtong Gyelpo himself and the 21 Tara statues wish fulfilling god.
Postal Department is one of the oldest Govt.organization in Bhutan.It was started in 1962 as soon as after the road was opened in 1961.Bhutan Postal Museum,was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. The story is told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced over the years.
National Handicrafts Emporium:
This Handicrafts Emporium is run by the govt. in Thimphu, you can come across a number of hand-woven textiles made of yak hair, nettle fibre, silk, and cotton. You can also witness a number of designs and different types of textiles that are used in Bhutan.
The monastery now which stand is an original structure of Thimphu dzong in 12th century. Currently a group of monks are undergoing Buddhist studies. One can meet and talk with the monks.
Coronation Park is popularly known as the Walking Buddha Park, because the centre of attraction in this park is a huge statue of Lord Buddha in a walking stature. This beautiful park is dedicated to the 2008 Coronation of His Majesty the 5th King. Located near the Thimphu river, this park provides a wonderful and relaxing environment to stroll and watch the river flow by.
Centenary Farmers Market:
Established in 2008, the Centenary Farmers Market in Thimphu is a popular weekend market where you come across a variety of cereals, fruits, and fresh vegetables. This market atmosphere provides you with an opportunity to mingle with the local people and to take numerous pictures of the Bhutanese farmers who come from the nearby districts to sell their farm products.
Changlingmithang Archery Field:
Bhutan’s national sport is archery. In addition to the traditional bows and arrows made from bamboo, Bhutanese archery players also use modern compound bows. You can witness archery matches that take place at the Changlingmithang Archery Field. Traditional songs and victory dances are all part of fun during the matches.
We stare down the 140 meter bhacho (archery range) straining to focus on the small wooden target propped up in the dust.
National Institute of Zorig Chusum:
The institute commonly known as ‘Paining school. Students at this institute undergo vigorous training in Zorig Chusum (the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan) The students at this school learn the skills of woodturning, woodcarving, carpentry, weaving,tailoring,thangkas- painted religious pictures on clothes,mask statues,bowls,embroidery,statues making out of clay,gold and silversmith courses, to name just a few.
The National library was established in 1967 to preserve ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts.The Library houses an extensive collection of religious texts, manuscripts, and ancient texts on Buddhism, and many ancient Buddhist texts in wood block format. Here you can also see how prayer flags are printed by using wooden printing blocks.
Most of the Traditional texts of Bhutan are kept folded in colored cloth. A lot of the texts have been written on them as well.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine:
The National Institute of Traditional Medicine prepares herbal medicines and also trains students to become traditional medicine doctors; Drungtsho.
Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden is located in Serbithang.30 minutes by car will take you to this wonderful and beautiful botanic garden. Here you can explore the various sub-tropical and tropical plants of Bhutan, including a number of orchids that grows in Bhutan. You also come across a fish pond.
Built in 1629 by zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and it is often said to be the first dzong built by him in Bhutan, Simtokha Dzong is Bhutans most ancient fortress. It is located on a lofty ridge, rising up from a small hilltop, five miles away from Thimphu.This fortress now houses the School for Buddhist Studies.
Royal Textile Museum:
The Textile museum displays an assortment of garments worn by the Bhutanese throughout the ages. This museum is a testimony of the rich living traditional culture of Bhutan.
Jungzhi Paper Factory:
At this papermaking factory, you can explore how traditional Bhutanese paper is made from the Daphne plant, and how different types of traditional paper are made using various floral decorations. These thick traditional papers are used to produce strong carry bags, to print religious texts, to make notebooks, envelopes, greeting cards, and are also used as gift wrappers.
Sangaygang Radio Tower:
A ten minutes drive will take you to this radio tower, overlooking the whole of Thimphu city. It is a nice venue for light walks, among the numerous colorful prayer flags that flutter in the hill, and the cool breeze. Here you get best view of the whole of Thimphu city
Short hikes around in Thimphu
Buddha Point round trail.
Sangay Gang –Chhokho Tse -Wangdi Tse- Sangay Gang/Dechen Phodrang trail.
Excursions around Thimphu
It is around 2.5 km uphill walk from the base and. founded in the 12th century by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpoa, Tango Monastery was built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman.Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel mediated in a cave near the monastery in 1616 that ensured the defeat of invading Tibetan forces.
Opposite to the Tango Monastery, it is around 4 km uphill walk from the base point .Built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1620, this Buddhist monastery is holds the ashes of Zhabdrungs father Tenpai Nima. An excursion to this monastery will take you across the Thimphu Chhu, and then up a steep valley.
Phajoding is around 5.5 km uphill trek from Motithang,Thimphu.It is always better to start your journey early in the morning.This monastery was built in the 15th century by Sacha Rinchen who introduced the Drukpa Kagyud School to Bhutan in the 13th century.