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Religion in Bhutan

Bhutan follows Vajrayana form of Buddhism as a state religion. Majority of the citizens follows Buddhism with minor number into Hinduism and Christianity as well.

Though Bhutan consist of majority Buddhism followers, the country also respects different faiths in Religion so the individual can choose his/her faith in different religion.

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Buddha Point Thimphu Amedewa Tours and Trek – Bhutan Tour Package

Buddha Dordenma statue or commonly known as Buddha Point sits at the top of the hill overlooking the entire valley of Thimphu.

Construction of Buddha Point began in 2006 and concluded until 25th September 2015.

The completed structure is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world which is 169 feet (52m) and contains 125,000 miniature buddhas inside.

Various religious ceremonies are held every year by the monastic body of Bhutan which last for months.

it gives an amazing 360 panoramic view of Thimphu valley and watch sunrise if you hike early in the morning from your hotel.

There is an easy hiking trail from Kuensel phodrang park for people looking for easy normal day hikes.

Want to Explore more! Contact us at Amedewa Tours or mail us at travelamedewa@gmail.com

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Dechenphu Tshechu Bhutan Festival Tour – Amedewa Tours and Trek

Dechenphu Tshechu is located in the outskirts of Thimphu, approximately 30 mins drive from Thimphu.

Dechenphu Tshechu festival is of great importance as it is dedicated to Gay Ngyen Jakpa Melen, the guardian deity of Bhutan.

The sacred dances performed includes Genyen Kunchaam, Shazam Cham, Nga Cham followed by other cultural and classical program.

Tentative itinerary for Dechenphu Tshechu Festival

 

Day 1: Arrival to Paro International airport

Welcome to Bhutan! Representative from Amedewa Tours will receive you and drive to Thimphu.

Dechenphu festival

Activity for today

Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing

Bhutan festival tour

Activity for today

Day 3: Dechenphu Festival

Dechenphu festival

Activity for today

  • We will attend Dechenphu festival.
  • Easy day hike from Buddha Dordenma to Changangkha.
  • Stroll Thimphu town in the evening.
Day 4: Drive to Punakha

Bhutan festival

Activity for today

Day 5: Punakha to Paro
Festival in Bhutan
Activity for today
Day 6: Paro sightseeing 

Paro valley

Activity for today
Day 7: Tiger’s Nest

Bhutan cultural tour

Activity for today
Day 8: Outbound journey
  • We bid farewell today and drop to Paro airport.

Package cost: USD 1890 for 1 pax

USD 1825 for 2 pax and above

USD 1615 for 3 pax and above

What’s Included

    • Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees, museum/monument fees and taxes.
    • Accommodations in minimum 3 star Hotel/Resort or Farm stays if interested
    • All meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the tour in Bhutan.
    • All land transfers, sightseeing with entrance fees.
    • Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
    • Bottled water in the vehicle and other comp. services.
    • Tour SUV with well experienced driver with pick and drop to airport
    • Return souvenir gift from Bhutan

Not Included

    • Flights into and out of Bhutan
    • Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, tips, and others.
    • Archery cost and river rafting
    • Travel Insurance (Recommended but not available in Bhutan)

Email us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or visit www.amedewa.com

Phone/WhatsApp: +97517306726

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Tshechu Festival in Bhutan – Bhutan Tour Operator

Tshechu Festival in Bhutan

Tshechu, a religious festival is celebrated on the tenth day of a month of the lunar calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava.
The annual Tshechu is held in different districts of Bhutan in various Temples, monasteries, and Dzongs.
Festival is the time when locals gather with their friends and families in colourful attires worn only during the festival and they spend the entire day together and rejoice themselves.

It is believed that everyone must attend a festival and witness various mask dances to wash away all sins and gain merit.
it also consists of various cultural programs and showcases Bhutan’s rich culture and history.

List of Festivals in Bhutan
Thimphu Festival is held in the capital city which honors the birthday of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan.
Paro Festival is celebrated for 5 days in Paro valley. It consist of mask dances and cultural programmes with unfurling of Thangka of Guru Rinpoche on the last day.
Punakha Festival is held right after Punakha Drubchen which honors the victory of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel over the invading Tibetan forces which then lead to unification of the country as one nation.

Punakha tshechu festival is held after Punakha Drubchen with unfurling of Thnongdrel, a large tapestry of Guru Rinpoche.

Black Necked Crane Festival is celebrated at the courtyard of Gangtey Goenpa in Phobjikha valley. It is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this endangered and majestic bird which becomes an inseparable part in their daily lives during the winter months.

It is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered Black-Necked Cranes. The festival includes cultural programs such as folk songs and dances and mask dances performed by the local people, crane dances and environmental conservation-themed dramas and songs by school children.

Contact us for Bhutan Festival Tour!

Contact us at travelamedewa@gmail.com
Website: www.amedewa.com
WhatsApp: +97517306726

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Institute for Zorig Chusum Amedewa Tours And Trek – Thirteen Crafts

Bhutan is known for its rich and unique arts and crafts. History has it that the art and crafts of Bhutan were being influenced by Buddhism and hence have religious significance along with strong cultural representations. These arts are being broadly classified into thirteen different types and hence the name Zorig Chusum means “thirteen arts”. The thirteen arts are Painting (Lhazo), Sculpturing (Jinzo), Wood Carving (Shagzo), Calligraphy (Yigzo), Papermaking (Dezo), Bronze Casting (Lugzo), Embroidery (Tshemazo), Weaving (Thagzo), Carpentry (Parzo), Masonry (Dozo), Bamboo and cane weaving (Tshazo), Gold/Silver Smithy (Trozo), Black smithy (Garzo).

Only two institutes in Bhutan, one located in the capital city Thimphu and another in Trashiyangtse in eastern Bhutan teaches the skills in these thirteen crafts. These skills are being mastered over a period of 4-6 years by the students. Their products can be seen in many handicraft shops in Bhutan.

Tourists can witness these arts being executed live at the institute by the students and also learn a bit about it.

Explore more with us!

Email: travelamedewa@gmail.com
Website: www.amedewa.com

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Punakha Dzong Bhutan Travel – Amedewa Tours and Trek

Punakha Dzong

It is located at the confluence of Pho Chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river). This dzong was the central administrative body from 1637 to 1907 when Punakha was the capital of Bhutan.

Because of the its historical importance, many important functions and occasions are being conducted including the royal wedding of the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema on the  13 th of October, 2011

This dzong is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan, its structure being one of most architecturally picturesque gives amazing view from the vicinity and is one of the most photographed structure in Bhutan.

Explore more with us!

Email: travelamedewa@gmail.com
Website: www.amedewa.com

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12 Days Bhutan Tour Cultural Tour – Amedewa Tours And Trek

 

12 Days Bhutan Cultural Tour 

Amedewa Tours And Trek

 

 Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air 

Paro International Airport

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river)  meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity. and we will start our cultural tour of Bhutan in the next day.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu cultural tour 

Today’s full day of Bhutan cultural tour include the following

National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Then proceed to Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue under construction in the mountains of Bhutan. The statue will house over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, the Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan;

After lunch visit changgangkha lhakhang  and visit  Folk Heritage Museum: These museum which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

Trashichhodzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Visit Changlingmeythang  National stadium where Archery match for locals takes place.

Drive to farm stay where by you can visit monk/lama and get blessed.

If interested you can have dinner at the farm house where by you will get local Bhutanese cuisine.

Day 03: Thimphu cultural tour 

Today after breakfast we will drive to the road end and start our hike to Tango monastery, It was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century and built in its present form by Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688.

And later hike to Cheri monastery, established in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyel 1st zhabdrung Rinpoche, the founder of the Bhutanese state.

Visit simply Bhutan museum, culture tour of Bhutan and also try archery, national game of Bhutan  and overnight halt at Thimphu.

Day 04: Thimphu to Punakha/Wangdiphodrang

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m),  Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m. Then continue onwards, reaching Punakha  town in time for lunch. then continue to visit Punaka dzong and then suspension bridge and a short hike to the  fertility temple.

In the evening drive to wangdi phodrang and stroll town Halt at Punakha in the evening.

Day 05: Punakha / Trongsa (200 Km, 7 hours’ drive)

on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large white chorten prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo.

Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.

Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check into the hotel  for the night.

Day 06: Trongsa / Bumthang (68 Km, 3 hours’ drive)

TRONGSA DZONG

After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648 it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the  first and second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governer’) prior to ascending the throne, and the present Crown Prince now holds the post. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.

Then drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of about 3 hours, over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). The road winds steeply up to the pass, 28 km from Trongsa, then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley.

On arrival in Bumthang, check in at your hotel  overnight in Bumthang.

Day 07: Bumthang

BUMTHANG VALLEY

Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.  Visit to Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 08: Bumthang / Gangtey / Phobjikha (190 km, 7 hours’ drive)

PHUBJEKHA VALLEY

After breakfast drive to Gangtey / Phobjikha. In the mountains east of Wangduephodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few km, down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quite, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Explore Gangtey village and Phobjikha valley. Overnight at the lodge in Gangtey / Phobjikha.

Day 09: Gangtey / Phobjikha / Punakha (70 km, 3 hours’ drive)

After breakfast drive to Punakha. Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damages to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a stupa. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha /Wangduephodrang.

Day 10: Punakha / Paro (125 km, 4.1/2 hours’ drive)

PARO RINPUNGDZONG

After breakfast, drive to Paro en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) and now houses the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro and administrative office  of Paro district. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 11: Paro (Hike to Tiger’s nest)

After Breakfast proceeds to Taktsang Palphug Monastery more famous as Paro Taktsang is a Buddhist temple complex which clings to a cliff, 3120 meters above the sea level on the side of the upper Paro valley, Bhutan.

The Taktsang Palphug Monastery is one of the most famous touristic destinations of the country and the cultural icon of Bhutan.

Visiting the Paro Taktsang Monastery is an unforgettable experience thanks to its unique location and the views of surrounding majestic mountains and emerald green valleys.

After lunch, drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Shabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644.

While returning to hotel visit en route, Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

If interested go to hotstone bath and relax in the evening

Day 12: Depart Paro

After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

 

 Hotels:

 Hotel Thimphu Tower or Jambhayang Resort or hotel Amodara or any equivalent in Thimphu

Zhimkhang Resort or Drudchu resort or Zangdopelri resort or any equivalent in Punakha

Hotel phunzhi or Yangkhil resort or equivalent in Trongsa

Leki Guest house or Swiss Guest house  or any equivalent in Bumthang

Janka resort or Tenzingling resort or any equivalent in Paro

 

Travel month: March, April, May, September, October and November

Package cost :
  • USD 2885 per head for 1 pax
  • USD 2800 per head for 2 pax
  • USD 2510 per head for 3 pax and above

 

Travel month: December, January, February and June, July and August

Package cost :
  • USD 2400 per head for 1 pax
  • USD 2300 per head for 2 pax
  • USD 2020 per head for 3 pax and above

 

INCLUSIONS:
  • 11 Nights accommodation in min 3 star Hotels/resorts
  • Tour car like Hyundai Creta or Kia Seltos or any equivalent with well experienced driver
  • Bhutan visa and all taxes and surcharges
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Museum/monument/entrance fees
  • All sightseeing and airport transfers
  • English speaking guide
  • Daily mineral bottled water
  • Return souvenir gift from Bhutan

 

EXCLUSIONS:
  • Hotel outside Bhutan
  • Personal Expenses/hot stone bath and expenses for playing archery.
  • Tips to driver or Guide.
  •  River Rafting expenses in punakha
  •  Expenses for Hotstone bath and night outs
  •  Mountain Biking
  •  Flight to Bhutan and outbound flight
  •  Alcoholic drink

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Dumste Lhakhang Buddhist temple – Attraction in Paro

Dumste Lhakhang | Buddhist temple

Attraction in Paro

 

The road leading to the National museum, right above Paro town is Dumste Lhakhang. It was built by Thang Thong Gyalpo in 1421 to subdue the ogress on the top of whose head It is said to be built. One can also the central tower of the temple chained down from four direction as it was believed that the central tower moved, attempting to fly to Tibet during the consecration. The temple shows paintings of various stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy and important deities as well as figures of Drukpa Kagyu.Dumste-Lhakhang-Buddhist-temple-Attraction-in-Paro

 

Explore more with us! Mail us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or visit Amedewa Tours & Trek

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Kurjey Lhakhang | Temple in Bumthang | Amedewa Tours

Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the must see temple in Bumthang, it consist of three temple , the first one is where Guru Rinpoche meditated during the 8th century, the second is considered the most holly which contains the imprint of Guru’s body and third one was built by queen grandmother, Ashi Kesang Wangchuck in the 90’s.

The first of the three temples is the Guru Lhakhang built in 1652. Just below the cave is the figure of a snow lion with Jachung ( Garuda ) above it.

The second temple, the Sampa Lhendup Lhakhang was built by Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan. It  has an imprint of Guru Rinpoche’s body.

The third temple was built in 1984 by Ashi Kesang Wangchuck, the queen mother to the third king of Bhutan.

It is also the final resting place of three great kings of Bhutan and those temples are enclosed by 108 chortens.

Explore Kurjey Lhakhang with us ! Mails us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or visit www.amedewa.com

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Paro Festival with Cultural Tour of Bhutan

Paro Festival is one of the popular festival in Bhutan. It is celebrated for 5 days which mainly consist of mask dances with cultural programme and unfurling of Thangka, an embroided painting of Guru Rinpoche.

Tentative itineraries for Paro Festival with Cultural Tour of Bhutan 

 

Day 1: Arrival to Paro International airport

Paro festival

 

Activities for today 
  • Iron bridge, on the way to Thimphu
  • Visit Thimphu Tashichhodzong

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu cultural tour 

Thimphu Cultural Tour

Activities for today 
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha

Bhutan cultural Tour

Activities for today 

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Punakha.

Day 4: Punakha to Paro 

Paro festival

Activities for today 

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 5: Paro Festival

Paro festival

Activities for today 
  • Paro Festival
  • Try national costume, GHO for men and Kira for women
  • Play Archery
  • Stroll Paro town and handicraft shops

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 6: Drive to Haa via Chelela Pass 

Bhutan cultural tour

Activities for today 

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 7: Paro Tiger’s Nest

Bhutan cultural tour

Activities for today 

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 8: Outbound journey
  • We bid farewell today and drop you to Paro airport
Package cost: USD 1880 for 1 pax
                         USD 1810 per head for 2 pax
                         USD  1600 per head for 3 pax and above

 

What’s Included
  • Bhutan Royalties, tourist fees, Visa fees, museum/monument fees and taxes.
  • Accommodations in minimum 3-star Hotel/Resort
  • All meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the tour in Bhutan.
  • All land transfers with pick and drop to airport, sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • Experienced English speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
  • Bottled water in the vehicle and other comp. services.
  • Tour SUV or Toyota or Hyundai Mini Bus with well experienced driver depending upon number of pax

 

Not Included
    • Flights into and out of Bhutan
    • Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, tips, and others.
    • River rafting in Punakha

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Gasa Festival | Festival of Bhutan | Bhutan Festival Tour

Gasa Festival in Bhutan 

This unique festival is accompanied by mask dances and other cultural programmes by the locals of Gasa. The festival also consist of stalls with local based Yak produce, medicinal herbs and plants along with some competition on highland animals including the Yaks, mastiffs and horse which makes it very unique to the visitors.

Day 1: Arrival in Paro International Airport

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu cultural sightseeing

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 3:  Day hike Thimphu
  • Hike to Dodeydrak monastery and if time permits explore trail from Buddha Dordenma to Changangkha.
  • Visit Homestays and mingle with locals if interested.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 4: Drive to Punakha

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha to Gasa 
  • We will drive to Gasa today and leisure at the farmhouse or camp
  • Visit Gasa Hotspring

Halt at farmhouse or camp in Gasa.

Day 6: Gasa Festival 
  • Attend Gasa Festival and drive to Punakha for halt

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Punakha.

Day 7: Punakha to Paro 

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 8: Drive to Haa via Chelela Pass

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 9: Paro Tiger’s Nest
Day 10: Outbound journey

Mail us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or visit www.amedewa.com for any queries.

Useful Links:

Getting into Bhutan

How to make tour payment to Bhutan?

Bhutan visa information

Travel Tips to Bhutan

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Thimphu Memorial Chorten | Bhutan travel guide

tional Memorial chorten
Thimphu Memorial Chorten

The Memorial Chorten of Thimphu dates back to the year 1974 when it was erected in memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had passed away in 1972. The stupa is located in the southern central part of the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu.

The breathtakingly beautiful stupa otherwise known as the Jangchup Chorten has been designed to show how beautiful and visible religious structure can be. The rich architectural designs in the interior of the stupa as well as the exterior makes it even more attractive to not only tourists and foreigners, but even locals seem to be in awe of its beauty despite the existence of many other such stupas around the country.

People from around the country visit this religious site and circumambulate only in a clockwise direction reciting prayers for not only one self but for the benefit of all sentient beings who are suffering in samsara. People of all ages can be seen around the chorten either praying, circumabulating or prostrating or whirling the large red prayer wheels. Good-natured people visit the chorten to offer old people and monks food and snacks to encourage them to gain strength to accumulate more merits, cool and fresh fruit drinks to quench their thirst from the scorching heat, and clothes to keep them warm on cold windy days, medicines and money as well. It is these small acts of kindness that spreads smiles on people’s faces and makes Bhutan an even more happier country.

Mail us for Bhutan tour services at travelamedewa@gmail.com or WhatsApp at +97517306726

Useful Links:

Getting into Bhutan

How to make tour payment to Bhutan?

Bhutan visa information

Travel Tips to Bhutan

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Dechenphu Lhakhang | Bhutan Tour and Travel Guide

Dechenphu Lhakhang 

History 

Dampa, the son or possibly the grandson of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who propagated the Drukpa school of Buddhism throughout Bhutan, constructed Dechenphu monastery in the 12th century on the western slope of Thimphu valley. The monastery was established on land that has been associated with Genynyen, a warrior god, since ancient times. Kunga Singye, the 7th abbot of the Ralung monastery in Tibet, who came to Dechenphu with Damtrul Loden Gyalpo, the illegitimate grandson of Dampa and also the reincarnation of the founder himself, appointed Geynyen, the spirit guardian of Thimphu valley, as the official protector of the Drukpa Kagyu teachings.

The Gönkhang, a fortified tower that still stands as the centre of Dechenphu Lhakhang, was built by Kunga Singye. The majority of goenkhangs are built to house powerful protective deities. According to legend, Kuenga Sangay was required to subjugate the spirit and transform the god into a protective deity. The spirit of Jagpa Melen (another name for Geynyen, meaning “Fire Fetching Brigand and Supreme Warlord”) withdrew into a large stone known as the Thimphu, which means ‘Disappeared into the Stone’. It is believed that when Bhutan is most in need, the warlord will return from the stone and rescue the country.

The Dechenphu Lhakhang was rebuilt between 1996 and 1998. Despite the fact that the demolished structures were from the early to mid-twentieth century, their arrangement was representative of the original plan. With the growing number of pilgrims visiting the monastery, the present layout provides for a considerably greater courtyard space. Most of the visitors are Bhutanese residents, as international tourists are not permitted to enter this sacred site. Pilgrims visit the monastery to seek the deity’s protection before embarking on a new venture, or to seek Genyen’s blessing for their infants in general.

 

Useful Links:

Getting into Bhutan

How to make tour payment to Bhutan?

Bhutan visa information

Travel Tips to Bhutan

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Chorten in Bhutan | Amedewa Tours And Trek

Chorten in Bhutan

Chorten in Bhutan can be seen almost everywhere, from hilltops to the valleys and along the highways, Chorten are worshiped by walking around in clockwise direction. They were built to house the remains of Buddha or other saintly person. The eight main events of Buddha’s life from birth to his death is commemorated through eight different kind of stupas known as “Desheg chorten gye” or eight stupas of the Buddha.

Eight Stupas of the Buddha:

Stupa of heaped lotus Commemorate the Buddha’s birth and symbolise the lotus which sprung during his birth.
Stupa of enlightenment built in Naranjana to celebrate his enlightenment and defeat of the inner demons.
Stupa of many doors built in Varanasi to remember his first sermon and path to enlightenment.
Stupa of miracle built in Sravasti to buddha’s victory over comtemporary teachers.
Stupa of descent from heaven built in Sankyasya to represent Buddha’s return from the celestial world.
Stupa of reconciliation built in Rajagrha to celebrate his success in bringing together his followers after Devadatta tried to split them into factions.
Stupa of victory built to represent his victory over evil forces.
Stupa of Nirvana symbolises the death of Buddha.
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Tashichho Dzong | Buddhist Monastery in Thimphu

Tashichho Dzong, the Buddhist monastery and castle in the capital, is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the country’s chief abbot of the central monastic body. It also served as the seat of the Druk Desi who was the leader of Bhutan’s civil government until 1907. The Dzong was destroyed by fire and earthquake serval times and the leaders of the monastic body reconstructed the Dzong. When Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan after moving from Punakha, the current Dzong was reconstructed by the third King,  Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

The old Dzong was modified to suit its purpose as the seat of administration. Tashichho Dzong has thirty temples, chapels, and shrines, as well as the annual Thimphu Tshechu festival, are located within the Tashichho Dzong, which is surrounded by beautiful gardens and well-kept lawns at the present day. The dzong now houses the King’s throne room and offices, the cabinet secretariat, and the ministries of home affairs and finance, with other government offices to the south. A tiny tower known as Ney Khang Lhakhang is west of the dzong and houses a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha as well as guardian deities.

Mail us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or visit www.amedewa.com for any assistance.

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Jakar Bumthang festival | Bhutan Festival Tour

Jakar Festival in Bumthang

Jakar festival is held in Bumthang for three days inside the courtyard of Jakar Dzong with different mask dances performed by the monk body of Jakar Dzong and folk songs and dances are performed by the  villagers as a offering to the local deity of the valley. People and tourist gather to receive blessing for peace, prosperity and long life as attending such festival washes off all sins and bless one with good health.

Tentative festival date: 22-24 October, 2023
Day 1: Arrival in Paro International Airport

Jakar festival

 

Upon arrival you will be greeted by your driver and guide from Amedewa Tours And Trek.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu cultural sightseeing

Jakar festival

Local Sightseeing of Thimphu

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 3:  Day hike in Thimphu

Jakar festival

 Activities for today
  • Hike to Dodeydrak monastery and if time permits explore trail from Buddha Dordenma to Changangkha.
  • Visit Homestays and mingle with locals if interested.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Thimphu.

Day 4: Drive to Punakha

Dochula pass

Activities for today

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha to Trongsa

Punakha

Activities for today
  • Stop en route at Chendebji chorten.
  • Visit Trongsa Dzong.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Trongsa.

Day 6: Trongsa to Bumthang

Bumthang

Activities for today
  • Visit Jakar dzong
  • Stroll Bumthang town

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Bumthang.

Day 7: Bumthang sightseeing

Bumthang sightseeing

Activities for today
  • Kurjey Lhakhang
  • Jambhay Lhakhang
  • Tamshing Lhakhang
  • Visit local weaving center

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Bumthang.

Day 8:  Jakar festival

Jakar festival

 

Activities for today
  • We will spend the entire day witnessing Jakar festival.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Bumthang.

Day 9:  Bumthang to Gangtey

Gangtey

Activities for today
  • We will drive to Gangtey and make multiple stops for photography

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or Homestays in Gangtey.

Day 10: Gangtey valley

Gangtey sightseeing

Activities for today
  • Gangtey goenpa
  • Black necked crane center
  • Explore Gangtey nature trail

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or Homestays in Gangtey.

Day 11: Gangtey to Paro

Paro Bhutan

Activities for today
  • We will drive to Paro and halt at the hotels or resorts in the evening.

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 12: Paro sightseeing

Paro Ringpung Dzong

Activities for today

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 13: Drive to Haa via Chelela Pass

Jakar festival

Activities for today

Halt at min. 3 star rated hotel or resort in Paro.

Day 14: Paro Taktsang 

 

Jakar festival

Activities for today
Day 15: Outbound journey

Jakar festival

Activities for today
  • We bid farewell today and drop you to Paro airport

Package cost: USD 3630 for 1 pax 

USD 3550 per head for 2 pax 

USD 3190 per head for 3 pax and above 

For  group and student discount, please refer here.

Contact us at travelamedewa@gmail.com or Phone/WhatsApp at +97517306726

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Chimi Lhakhang | Fertility Temple in Punakha

Chimi Lhakhang | Fertility Temple in Punakha 

Chimi Lhakhang also known as the Fertility Temple is a Buddhist monastery in the district of Punakha famous for miracles and marvels. It was established in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, on a round hillock near Lobesa, after the location was consecrated by the “Divine Madman,” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529), who built a chorten on the site after subduing a demon that was troubling the valley.

Visiting the fertility temple 

Those who are unable to conceive and childless couples undertake the trek in the hopes of receiving a blessing, from a Buddhist monk and his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’.Drukpa Kunley was a Bhutanese yogi and poet renowned as “the Divine Madman” for abandoning the monastic life of a monk in favor of a more cheerful and enjoyable way of life. His goal was to illustrate that being enlightened, imparting enlightenment, and having a very healthy sex life is feasible, and that celibacy was not required to be enlightened.

In addition, he intended to broaden the range of methods for imparting enlightenment while also introducing new evolutionary possibilities to the overall tradition. He is credited with introducing phallus paintings to Bhutan, as well as the practice of putting statues of them on rooftops to ward off evil spirits.

The original wooden phallus emblem that Drukpa Kunley brought from Tibet is kept at the monastery. This wooden phallus has a silver handle and is used to bless pilgrims who come to the monastery, especially women seeking blessings to have children. Women who come to the temple seeking to conceive are required to carry a wooden phallus three times around the temple, for this women from around the world visit this monastery in hope to be blessed with a child.

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Things To See in Thimphu | Bhutan Travel Tips

Things To See in Thimphu

Here are the list of the things to see in Thimphu:

National memorial chorten

National Memorial Chorten

 

The Memorial Chorten is one of the best Things to see in Thimphu which dates dates back to the year 1974 when it was erected in memory of the third King od Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had passed away in 1972. The stupa is located in the southern central part of the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. The breathtakingly beautiful stupa otherwise known as the Jangchup Chorten has been designed to show how beautiful and visible religious structure can be.

The rich architectural designs in the interior of the stupa as well as the exterior makes it even more attractive to not only tourists and foreigners, but even locals seem to be in awe of its beauty despite the existence of many other such stupas around the country. People from around the country visit this religious site and circumambulate only in a clockwise direction reciting prayers for not only one self but for the benefit of all sentient beings who are suffering in samsara.

People of all ages can be seen around the chorten either praying, circumambulating or prostrating or whirling the large red prayer wheels. Good-natured people visit the chorten to offer old people and monks’ food and snacks to encourage them to gain strength to accumulate more merits, cool and fresh fruit drinks to quench their thirst from the scorching heat, and clothes to keep them warm on cold windy days, medicines and money as well. It is these small acts of kindness that spreads smiles on people’s faces like a virus and makes Bhutan an even more happier country.

Buddha Dordenma statue in Thimphu

Buddha dordenma in Thimphu

The construction of the gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue began in 2006 and got completed in 2015. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha. It is one of the best Things to see in Thimphu.

Buddha dordenma view

Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the glorious religion) 

 

Tashichhodzong in Thimphu JPG

Tashichho Dzong, the Buddhist monastery and castle in the capital, is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the country’s chief abbot of the central monastic body, and the seat of the Druk Desi, the leader of Bhutan’s civil government, which has been integrated with the monarchy since the monarchy was established in 1907. The lovely fortification was destroyed four times by fire and severely damaged by an earthquake. It was reconstructed by the leader of the monastic body at the moment each time. After the capital was moved from Punakha to Thimphu, the current Dzong was rebuilt as the seat of administration by the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, using a different plan from the old one.

From the older Dzong, only the central Utse tower, the Lhakhang Sarp (new temple), and the main Gönkhang (protector temple) remain. Thirty temples, chapels, and shrines, as well as the annual Thimphu Tshechu festival, are located within the Tashichho Dzong, which is surrounded by beautiful gardens and well-kept lawns at the present day. The dzong now houses the King’s throne room and offices, the cabinet secretariat, and the ministries of home affairs and finance, with other government offices to the south. A tiny tower known as Ney Khang Lhakhang is west of the dzong and houses a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha as well as guardian deities.

Dechenphug Lhakhang | Things to see in Thimphu 

 

Dechenphu lhakhang

Dampa, the son or possibly the grandson of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who propagated the Drukpa school of Buddhism throughout Bhutan, constructed the monastery in the 12th century on the western slope of Thimphu valley. The monastery was established on land that has been associated with Genynyen, a warrior god, since ancient times. Kunga Singye, the 7th abbot of the Ralung monastery in Tibet, who came to Dechenphug with Damtrul Loden Gyalpo, the illegitimate grandson of Dampa and also the reincarnation of the founder himself, appointed Geynyen, the spirit guardian of Thimphu valley, as the official protector of the Drukpa Kagyu teachings. The Gönkhang, a fortified tower that still stands as the centre of Dechenphug Lhakhang, was built by Kunga Singye. The majority of goenkhangs are built to house powerful protective deities.

According to legend, Kuenga Sangay was required to subjugate the spirit and transform the god into a protective deity. The spirit of Jagpa Melen (another name for Geynyen, meaning “Fire Fetching Brigand and Supreme Warlord”) withdrew into a large stone known as the Thimphu, which means ‘Disappeared into the Stone’. It is believed that when Bhutan is most in need, the warlord will return from the stone and rescue the country.

The Dechenphug Lhakhang was rebuilt between 1996 and 1998. Despite the fact that the demolished structures were from the early to mid-twentieth century, their arrangement was representative of the original plan. With the growing number of pilgrims visiting the monastery, the present layout provides for a considerably greater courtyard space. Despite the higher number of visitors, all visitors ought to be Bhutanese residents, as international tourists are not permitted to enter this sacred site. Pilgrims visit the monastery to seek the deity’s protection before embarking on a new venture, or to seek Genyen’s blessing for their infants in general.

Begana Chorten

Begana Chorten | Things to see in Thimphu

It is a miniature duplicate of the 14th-century Bodnath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, while the Begana chorten was built in the late twentieth century. The location is also known by its Tibetan name, Jarumhkhasor, which is also used to refer to the Bodnath. The Lokpalas, the guardians of the four directions, are represented by the eyes of the “Mystic Buddha” gazing from each face of the chorten. Legend has it that this form of chorten (or stupa) is linked to pathways that marked the early introduction of Buddhism, though this may be mythical.

Pangri Zampa | Things to see in Thimphu 

Pangri Zampa Monastery | Things to see in Thimphu

Pangri Zampa is located on the Thimphu river’s west bank. Although it has a nearly 500-year history, it is best known for being Bhutan’s Royal College of Astrology, which it has held since 2003. On the west, north, and south sides of the monastery, there are student dorms, classrooms, and administrative buildings, as well as two temples on the northeast and southeast corners. The structure was constructed in two stages over the course of 100 years.

Zhabdrung, the unifier of Bhutan’s arrival coincided with the second stage. The dream that brought Zhabdrung to Pangri Zampa is documented in a biography written by one of his students. Zhabdrung had a dream about a large black raven flying into the “southern valleys” while in Tibet (i.e., Bhutan). In his dream, Zhabdrung reached the summit of a cypress tree and paced the raven as it flew low over the mountains, pacing it until it landed on a cypress tree at Pangri Zampa, which he later identified as Pangri Zampa. Despite the raven’s natural appearance, the dreaming Zhabdrung recognized it as Mahakala, the Buddhist dharma’s fierce guardian.

Mahakala is typically shown with a raven’s visage and is regularly summoned to defeat bad spirits. The temple was built on the southeast corner of the monastery, next to the Kabesa bridge, by Zhabdrung. His dwelling is on the upper floor, which today houses his statue. A mermaid statue depicting ‘Menmo’, a water goddess and consort of Gengyen Jagpa Melen, the guardian deity of Thimphu who resides at Dechenphug, is housed within this temple.

In the current period, the monastery is frequently consulted to identify the most fortunate timing of major national events. For instance, the head astrologer predicted the best time for HM King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s coronation in 2008. Pangri Zampa also helped with divining dates for royal weddings and crown prince naming rituals, among other things.

Phajoding Monastery

 

Phajoding Monastery

Phajoding Monastery, positioned at 3,600 meters (11,800 feet), is one of Thimphu’s highest-altitude sanctuaries, offering stunning views of the valley below. Its full name is believed to be Phajoding Thubten Jago Phungpo Wogmin Nampar Gyalwai Khangzang, which translates to “The Temple of the Buddha’s Doctrine, Vulture Peak Mountain, and the Akanishtha Mansion of Complete Victory.”

 According to some traditions, the monastery’s namesake, Phajo Dugom Zhigpo who popularized the Drukpa school of Buddhism throughout Bhutan, founded it in the 13th century. However, no constructions from that time period have survived. The existing structures date from the mid-eighteenth century, when Sherab Wangchuk, Bhutan’s 13th Druk Desi, restored and extended the temple.

The Phajoding monastery’s current layout consists of a loose cluster of roughly ten temples. The largest is the Jampa Lhakhang, a three-story structure enclosed by thick shabkhor walls built in the mid-eighteenth century. The Khangzangand Wogmin lhakhangs, located higher up on the slope to the north, are two nearby monuments dating from the mid-18th and late-18th centuries, respectively.

All three monuments were completely repaired between 2013 and 2018, at a cost of around Nu 200 million, thanks to a grant from the Indian government. Restoration work at such altitudes was difficult, especially because there were no roads appropriate for construction equipment connecting the site to the lower valley. Instead of destroying extensive swaths of forest to preserve the site’s holiness, the conservators created a system of ropeway towers to transport construction materials up the mountainside from a base at Sangaygang, approximately five kilometres to the east. The path of the ropeway line may be seen as a small breach in the trees extending eastward from Phajoding in the satellite view below.

Clock Tower Square | Things to see in Thimphu

Clock Tower Square | Things to see in Thimphu

Clock Tower Square is a square in Thimphu, Bhutan, where the iconic four-faced clock tower can be found. The square is also surrounded by numerous businesses, hotels, and restaurants. With beautiful Bhutanese carvings and paintings, the Clock-tower has a classic Bhutanese architectural perspective. On all four faces of the tower are typical hand-crafted dragons with golden paintwork, symbolizing the county as an independent dragon kingdom. The tower contains lovely flower carvings and paintings, which add to its beauty. With multi-coloured wood frontages, small arched windows, and sloping roofs, the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the clock tower square are a blend of fine traditional and modern architectural Bhutanese design. The three-story buildings that surround the area are all small and the cafes and restaurant serve delicious Bhutanese cuisine and a blend of western quick bites infused with traditional delicacies.

The spot is perfect for catching up with Thimphu because of the water fountains and traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (prayer wheels). The area is frequently used as a venue for a variety of events and activities, including fund-raising events, movie award ceremonies, trade displays, live musical performances, and more. It is perfect to witness the amazing view of the rolling mountains and the enclosing Thimphu valley from Clock Tower Square.

Bhutan Postal Museum | Things to see in Thimphu 

Bhutan Postal Museum | Things to see in Thimphu

The Bhutan Postal Museum, Evolution of Communications Systems in Bhutan, was founded in 2015 to commemorate the 60th birthday of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The museum’s primary goal is to portray the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of the country’s communications and postal systems. Anecdotes, relics, and the vast collection of stamps created by the country throughout the years are used to tell the story.

From the earliest mail couriers to Bhutan’s often odd and highly collectible stamps, the museum’s five exhibits illustrate the development of Bhutan’s postal system.

Gallery I is utilized for temporary exhibitions that change with the country’s important occasions and stamp launches.

Gallery II examines the evolution of communication during the pre-postal era, when government decrees and messages were delivered by messengers.

Gallery III depicts the evolution of Bhutan’s postal and telegraph systems, with antique postal and telegraphic equipment, devices, and furnishings on display.

The stamp issues dedicated to the Wangchuck Dynasty are on display in Gallery IV, together with information on the monarchy’s establishment in 1907 and a brief biography of Bhutan’s consecutive monarchs.

Bhutan’s postal stamps are on exhibit at Gallery V, to promote the country’s independence, rich culture, and fauna and flora. Bhutan’s famous ‘Talking Stamps,’ for example, are on show. It is also an interactive area where the visitors will be educated through activities and programs as well as   documentaries about the postal system is screened.

Folk heritage museum | Things to see in Thimphu 

Folk Heritage Museum

The Folk Heritage Museum, also known as Phelchey Toenkhyim, was founded on July 28th, 2001, on the initiative of Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the Queen Mother of Bhutan. Through displays, demonstrations, educational activities, and documentation of rural life, it aims to connect people to Bhutan’s rural history. Her Majesty is also the Museum’s founder and patron. It hosts educational and cultural demonstrations on a regular basis.

The main exhibit is the museum structure, which is a three-story traditional rammed mud and timber house that has been rebuilt. The house is designed and built in the style of a typical Wang household in the mid-nineteenth century. The longevity and performance of the building materials are demonstrated by the structure’s age.

Household artifacts and typical domestic tools and equipment utilized by a family in a rural household at that period are displayed from the ground to the top floor.

Hike to Wangditse Lhakhang | Things to see in Thimphu 

Wangditse hike

The lhakhang was founded in 1715 by Druk Rabgye, the 8th Druk Desi (Bhutan’s secular leader, under Bhutan’s dual system of governance). The site was formerly known as Zhabden Lhuendrubtse (Natural Peak of Profound Meaning) when the temple was first built, but that name was quickly dropped. The master of ceremonies noted that dignitaries from all over the country had made the effort to attend the temple’s consecration ceremony, which was led by Zhabdrung Chogley Namgyel (1708-36), of Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s “speech incarnation” line. He renamed the lhakang Wangditse, meaning Peak of Conquest, since he thought it was fortunate that the central government was able to put such far-flung provinces under its control.

Wangditse Lhakhang, with Tashiccho Dzong—the seat of government administration—overlooks the Thimphu valley’s centre. Although it is commonly referred to as a lhakhang (temple), it is also known as a dzong (fortress-monastery) due to its intimidating, fortress-like aspect. The lhakhang became the seat of Thimphu dzongpens (governors), many Druk Desi, and even reincarnations of the Zhabdrung in succeeding years. Earthquakes wreaked havoc on the region on a regular basis. Taschichhodzong, in the valley’s centre, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897.

Some of the roof components and shattered timbers were later repurposed for use at Wangditse. When explosives used at the dzong site during reconstruction unexpectedly damaged Wangditse, Taschichhodzong resurfaced in the temple’s history. Shortly after, in the 1960s, the lhakhang was repaired. After a windstorm blew away part of the roof in 1995, causing damage to different wall paintings, and interior antiquities, another renovation was required thirty years later. The most recent renovation (as of now) was completed in 2020, with the structure being completely restored.

Simtokha Dzong | Things to see in Thimphu 

Simtokha Dzong | Things to see in Thimphu

It is the oldest of Bhutan’s dzongs (fortified monasteries), having been built in 1629 in the archetypal style pioneered by Zhabdrung Rinpoche, Bhutan’s national unifier. Despite various restorations and remodels throughout the years, its current appearance is regarded to be roughly compatible with its original appearance. The site is often referred to as the Sangag Zabdon Chho dzong—the “Palace of Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras,” though it is most commonly known as Simtokha Dzong.

According to legend, Zhabdrung was recognized as the reincarnation of the former Drukpa lineage leader, which resulted in a power struggle in Tibet over succession. Various prophecies, on the other hand, forewarned the Zhabdrung of the enemy’s impending arrival. One prophecy was of a dream of a black raven flying southward, which he took to be a manifestation of Yeshe Gonpo (a protective deity) advising him to seek sanctuary in the southern valleys, was one of the prophecies he received. Zhabdrung heeded the warning and traveled south to western Bhutan, where he found allies among local magnates who were also Drukpa lineage members. He gathered under his power the heads of numerous important families, particularly those from Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdi Phodrang, and Paro. With Zhabdrung at the head, the basis of the present state of Bhutan was born.

The soldiers of Zhabdrung were attacked at Simtokha in 1629, some thirteen years after fleeing Tibet, by a coalition of five opposing Buddhist schools, the so-called “five groups of lamas,” who were united in their desire to see Drukpa rule reduced. The coalition’s first onslaught failed, and there was an uneasy period of nearly five years while the coalition bided its time. The Tibetan soldiers crossed into western Bhutan and encountered Zhabdrung’s forces at Simtokha dzong, but were repulsed after a bloody struggle. Nonetheless, the dzong’s damage was readily restored, and Zhabdrung’s prestige was significantly strengthened, assisting his upcoming unification of the rest of Bhutan.

Cheri (Chagri) Monastery | Things to see in Thimphu 

Cheri ( Chagri ) monastery | Things to see in Thimphu

It was founded in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyal, the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche and the foundation of modern Bhutan, and is the oldest institution on Bhutanese land. After encountering a conflict regarding reincarnation identification and successor of power in Tibet, Zhabdrung fled to Bhutan and took refuge at Pangri Zampa. He survived many threats to his life during the next few years, including raids by Tibetan invaders at Paro and an arrow shot almost missing him while traveling near Thimphu on horseback. The peripatetic lama eventually settled in northern Thimphu and established Cheri (Chagri) Monastery as his headquarters.

It’s unclear why Zhabdrung chose Cheri as his “headquarters,” but there were a number of characteristics that made northern Thimphu a plausible choice. To begin with, by the time the monastery was constructed in 1620, Zhabdrung had already spent a large amount of time meditating at the adjacent Tango monastery, which was only a few kilometers to the east. Second, when his father died in 1619, the body was surreptitiously transferred to Thimphu, where it was incinerated at Tango; the burying of the remains at a nearby spot was likely of utmost concern. Third, northern Thimphu was the Zhabdrung’s initial refuge in the southern valleys, so it’s only natural that the area appealed to him psychologically. Aside from local assistance, the Zhabdrung had made friends with a wealthy Chapcha devotee and the Raja of Cooch Bihar just a year before, both of whom lavished him with presents.

Zhabdrung went around Bhutan in ensuing years to form alliances, build new dzongs, and attend to spiritual matters, although he regularly returned to Cheri. Aside from using it as a personal dwelling, the monastery also operated as a guesthouse for visiting guests. Chagri is also known for its population of gorals, a goat-like creature that is near-threatened. They can be spotted roaming the grounds and the steep mountains.

Tango Monastery | Things to see in Thimphu 

Tango monastery | Things to see in Thimphu

Tango Goemba is located near the northern end of the Thimphu valley, on a south-facing cliffside. The word “Tango,” or more accurately “Rtamgo,” refers to the god Hayagrva (Tamdrin), who is a manifestation of either the Bodhisattva Avalokitevara or one of his or her attendants.

Phajo Drugom Shigpo (1184-1251), one of Bhutan’s most influential religious figures, founded the temple, and his descendants were instrumental in the establishment of many other sites of worship throughout Bhutan. Phajo wanted to spread the Drukpa sect of Buddhism throughout the “southern lowlands” after arriving in Bhutan from the remote Ralung monastery in west-central Tibet (present-day Bhutan). For the following couple hundred years, the monastery’s history is a mystery.

When Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651), the future unifier of Bhutan, who was eventually named the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche, visited Bhutan, Mipham Tshewang Tenzin was in charge of Tango monastery. Zhabdrung accepted his host’s offer to use the facilities at Tango and entered a deep cavern to meditate, where he “propitiated the black-foreheaded wrathful Mahakala,” a formidable defensive force. He used the deity’s might to stop his rival, the Tseng Desi, from invading Bhutan via southern Tibet. Bhutan’s independence was aided by the defeat of the Tseng Desi and his allies.

Motithang Takin Preserve | Things to see in Thimphu 

Motithang Takin Preserve

The Motithang Takin Preserve, on the outskirts of Thimphu Valley, is one of Bhutan’s protected areas. Motithang is dedicated to the conservation of Bhutan’s national animal, the takin. The location is surrounded by a dense forest of alpine trees, which provide a spectacular view of the snow-capped peaks on a clear day.

According to legend, Drukpa Kunley, a Bhutanese yogi and poet renowned as “the Divine Madman” for abandoning the monastic life of a monk in favour of a more cheerful and enjoyable way of life created the unique animal called Takin by grafting the head of a goat onto the body of a cow in the 15th century.

When people questioned him about his extraordinary abilities, Drukpa Kinley took a bullock’s bones and feet and a goat’s head and skin, placed the head on top of the bones, wrapped the skin around the bones, breathed life into the animal. The takin, which is half goat and half bullock, was the animal he created. After then, the animal was given the name “Dong Gyem Tsey” – Takin. Due to its significance with Bhutanese religious history and mythology, the takin was proclaimed the country’s national animal on November 25, 2005.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the takin as

vulnerable. There are barely a few thousand of these creatures left in the wild, according to some estimates. The ones in Thimphu Zoo, which were transported down from the highlands in 1974, are doing quite well. The animal has grown in popularity as a tourist attraction.  The magnificent creatures can now graze freely in their protected, forested habitat without fear of being hunted down for their meat and horns by smugglers involved in the illicit wildlife trade.

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory | Things to see in Thimphu 

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory

The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is situated on a hilltop with a panoramic view of Thimphu’s landscape. The word “jungshi” literally means “natural,” and this is reflected throughout the entire paper-making process.

The authentic Bhutanese paper known as Desho is created at the Jungshi handmade paper business using traditional processes. This age-old Bhutanese custom is being preserved and promoted by the Jungshi paper plant. It also makes a variety of other items, including stationery and greeting cards. The paper business exemplifies the government’s commitment to bolstering the local economy by conserving traditional arts such as papermaking. On a daily basis, Jungshi makes roughly 1,500 sheets of paper.

The paper is manufactured with Himalayan materials such as the bark of the Daphne Papyri (found at altitudes of 3,000 feet and above), the bark of the Edgeworthia Papyri (found at altitudes of 3,000 feet and above), and different additional components such as flowers and leaves to provide textures and patterns.

Steps included in the paper making process:

The bark of the shrubs is soaked in water to break down its structure, then strained and sent into the factory. The stringy material is put into a grinder, which spits the pulp into a large vat, similar to a massive bowl of oatmeal.

The magic happens in the next phase. The screen is lifted out, aligned with the rising stack of wet paper, released on top of it, and peeled off from the opposite edge, leaving the fresh sheet of paper behind.

Stacks of paper may be found all over the plant, some wet, some dry, and some stacked and pressed for flatness. Dry paper is hung sheet by sheet from an easel, brushed off, and inspected for quality.

After being stamped with the Jungshi brand, the completed paper is either delivered from the factory or placed in the site’s paper shop. According to the United Nations, the majority of demand for Bhutanese handmade paper originates from Sweden and the United Kingdom. Greeting cards, gift wrap, stationery, books, and certificates are all made of paper.

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