Thimphu, the capital city of the Land of Thunder Dragon popular known as Himalayan Kingdom is home to approximately 100, 0000 inhabitants. The capital Thimphu is hub place for commerce, religion and government offices including resident of Kings’ palace. It is most modern city with more type of facilities compared to other Bhutan districts. It is said that Thimphu is only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights instead of that they use policemen directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions.
- a. Trashi Choedzong: it was first constructed in 1216 A.D by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa where Dechen Phodrang now stands above Thimphu. In 1641 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel( the father of unfied country) enlarged the dzong in bigger shape. It has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Other government departments are housed in buildings nearby. The dzong is located near the bank of River. During night you can beautifully decorated with beautiful lights like Copper Celestial palace.
- b. National Memorial Chorten
It is a monument to the Third Druk Gyalpo and to World Peace built by late spiritual master Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rimpoche ( the father of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse) upon prophesy made by his father Late Dudjom Rimpoche. Elderly and young people circumambulate the chorten throughout the day. Chorten literally means” Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the “Mind of Buddha”.
It is located center of Bhutan and one can go in the morning and evening for circulation.
- c. Buddha Dordenma Statue
This massive statue of Shakyammuni measure in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it on one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world which is 169 ft tall. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold, 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 100, 000.
The Buddha Dordenma is beautifully located atop of hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and from here it is bird eye view of whole Thimphu City. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Treasure discover Pema Lingpa and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.
d. Thimphu Festival
One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).
The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.
Equally important are the Atsaras, who are more than just mere clowns. The Atsaras are the dupthobs (acharyas), who provide protection. The dances and the jesting of the Atsaras are believed to entrance evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during Tshechus. Modern Atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.
To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.
Besides the annual three day Tshechu, Thimphu also celebrates a one day festival known as the Thimphu Dromchoe. The day long festival dates back to the 17th century. It was first introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was recognized as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel. The dromchoe is celebrated 3 days prior to the Thimphu Tshechu.
The Dromchoe showcases the sacred dances dedicated to the chief protective deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo. Legend has it, that the deity Pelden Lhamo appeared before Kuenga Gyeltshen and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen initiated the Dromchoe.
- d. Dochula
The road to Punakha and WangduePhodrang, branches of a short distance before Simtokhadzong.
The road, which loops back as fly-over bridge, is the east-west highway, which was constructed in 1984.
About a Kilometer past the turn-off there is a magnificent view of Simtokhadzong, the first fortress of Kingdom.
The road then climbs past the forestry research center at Yusipang, then through apple orchards and forests of blue pine.
Within few minutes’ drive from here you will reach Dochula La Pass at 3050m.
It is a 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu. This pass is marked by a chorten with an array of colorful prayer flags.
Dochula cafeteria of Queen mother, located quite near to Dochula stupas which are of 108 stupas to commemorate victory over Indian insurgents.
Dochula Pass offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
Such days are rare. The best chance of view is in the early morning between mid-October and mid- February.
The pointed peaks standing opposite Dochula are:
- Kang Bum-6526m
- Gangchhenta- 6840m
- Masang Gang-7158m- This mountain dominates the region of Laya
- Tshenda Gang- 7100m
- Teri Gang- 7170m
- Jejekangphu gang-7158m
- Zongphu Gang- a Table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana is 7060m
- GangkarPuensum -7497m is the highest peak in Bhutan
Gasadzong almost 50 kms to the northcan also can be seen from the Dochula cafeteria.