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Thimphu Paro Tour

Thimphu, Bhutan

General Information about Thimphu
Longitude: 89ºE
Population: 30,340 (1993)
Language: Dzongkha
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism

Information about Thimphu
Since 1960, the capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. Thimphu is situated at a height of over 7600 feet on a hillside in a fertile valley on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu River. Thimphu is perhaps the smallest capital in the world. The town of Thimphu is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be.

Thimphu Bhutan

One interesting fact about this city is that it is the only world capital without any traffic lights. Thimphu is a gallery of traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, culture, and tradition and above all still so ethnic and pure. It is a fitting and lively place. The wooden houses stand side by side with concrete buildings, all painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese styles. For most part of its history, Bhutan has tried consciously to save its culture from the blunt influences of the western world. It is not that modernity has not reached this region, but they are being introduced in a phased and balanced manner that is unheard of at any place in the world. All these make Thimphu and other parts of the country a unique destination.

History of Thimphu
Not much is known about the history of Bhutan because of its long seclusion from rest of the world. New explorations have suggested about the presence of men around this region in 2000 BC, but written history dates back to 2nd century AD. Buddhism as the supreme religion and a way of life was introduced in Bhutan in 8th century when Indian Buddhist monk Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) came to Bhutan and established many monasteries. The Drukpa sub - sect of Kagyud school of Mahayan Buddhism was established as orthodoxy by scholar Padmalingpa in the 15th-16th century. The rise of Drukpa sect also led to establishment of the theocracy of Druk - yul by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1616. Shabdrung is considered as the person who unified the country and constructed most of the remarkable temple - fortresses known as dzongs. He also started the dual system of spiritual and temporal leaders that was ended by Sir Ugyen Wangchuk in the late 19th century. Sir Ugyen Wangchuk became the first hereditary king of the country and its first reference to modernity. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, father of the present king, is considered as the "father of modern Bhutan" since most of the developments that led the country towards modernity started during his reign. The present king Jigme Singye Wangchuck became the fourth monarch in 1974 and his coronation ceremony saw the entry of foreign media for the first time in the country. The first foreign tourist group entered the country very next year and started the process of restricted entry of tourists to save the culture and environment.


Festivals of Thimphu
Most of the festivals (Tsechus) in Thimphu have some or other connection with Buddhism. These festivals are celebrated in the Dzongs with dances, music, and religious allegorical plays. Some of the important festivals include Bhutanese New Year in January or February, Buddha Parinirvana and Birthday of Guru Padmasambhava in May or June, first sermon of Buddha and Yar Nyidlok in June or July, Blessed Rainy Day, Thimphu Domchey, and Nine Evils Day.

Accommodation in Thimphu

Thimphu Festivals

Not many hotels are there in Thimphu as in other capital cities of the world, but accommodation certainly is not a problem. With the smaller number of tourists being allowed to visit, there is not much of an accommodation crisis, except in the high season. Most of the hotels are good and operate with all the modern facilities. Constructed in the traditional Bhutanese style these hotels provide you the experience of living in an ethnic village. The accommodation in Thimphu is available in Hotel Motithang. Hotel Motithang is built in the classical Bhutanese style at a height of 2560 meters above sea-level on 20 acres of land. It played host to various heads of states and governments on the occasion of the coronation of His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Shopping in Thimphu

Thimphu offers a wide range of products to the tourists to take back home as souvenirs. The shops in Thimphu sells tea, horseshoes, cooking oil and cloth fabrics. The Handicrafts Emporium displays a wide variety of hand woven and crafted products like papier-mache masks, prayer wheels, decorative motifs, silk-screened handmade paper, rings and ornaments, and woven wool or silk clothes, precious stones and postage stamps (available at the General Post Office).

Adventure in Thimphu

Entire region around Thimphu has excellent trekking routes of different levels giving you ample opportunities for hiking, trekking, river rafting, and wildlife excursions.

Tourist Attractions in Thimphu

The various tourist attractions in Thimphu are Tashicho Dzong, Simtokha Dzong and Stupa. Tashicho Dzong, the main secretariat building, houses the main government departments, all the Ministries, the National Assembly Hall, the office of the King and the Throne Room and summer headquarters of the Central Monastic Body. It is also the summer residence of the monk body and the religious chief, the Je Khempo. The Simtokha Dzong is the oldest Dzong in Thimphu and gateway to the Thimphu Valley. This dzong still enjoys the strategic importance as it did in 1627. The Dzong houses Rigney School for Dzongkha and monastic studies. The stupa-styled monument is also situated in Thimphu.

How to reach Thimphu
By Air

The nearest airport in Bhutan is Paro.

By Road

From Bagdogra in India, it is possible to travel for about 175 km by road to Phuentsholing, the entry point in Bhutan. From Phuentsholing there is a tiring 179 km journey to Thimphu although the journey gives you a great chance to appreciate the natural beauty of the country. It is also possible to travel to Phuentsholing from Siliguri and Kolkata. Thimphu can be easily reached from Paro, Punakha and Trongsa.




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