Thimphu is the capital and largest city of Bhutan and perhaps the only capital city in the world without traffic light. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and is one of the Bhutan’s 20 Districts with a population of about 80,000. Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan in 1961.
MONUMENTS TO VISIT IN THIMPHU
Changangkha Monastery: Is one of the oldest temples of Thimphu dating back to 15th century. It was built by a descendant of Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo. The new born babies of residents of Thimphu valley are taken to receive their first blessings from a High Lama (Monk).
National Memorial Chorten : This Chorten was built (1974) in honor of the late 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. Built in a typical Tibetan style outside and with three shrines inside represents the mainspritual themes of the Nyingma School. The paintings inside depict tantric Buddhismin all its complexity. The complex is visited by people from all walks throughout the day and is one of the most public religious places in the capital.
Buddha Point: Kuenselphodrang now popularly know as Buddha point since the construction of the world’s tallest Buddha (Dhordenma) Statue (169 feet) started. Located on a hill, can enjoy the spectacular view of Thimphu valley.
Dupthop Lhakhang : One of the few nunneries in Bhutan.
Tashichho Dzong: The present form this Dzong was consecrated as late as 1969 and it is a visual delight. The history of this Dzong dates back to thirteenth century but the original dzong was not at the present site that offers no defensive merit. The old one was built in 1216 or so by the founder of the Lhapa School and was located on a spur to the North-East of the present one. This Dzong was badly damaged during a subsequent struggle with the drukpas and later became the property of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal in the 1630s. In 1641 he rebuilt the Dzong christening it Tashichhoe (the Fortress of Glorious Religion). This became the summer residence of the Zhabdrung and the clergy and Punakha the winter retreat. A fire in 1772 resulted in severe damage and the Desi and Je khempo of that time decided to rebuild it at the bottom of the valley where it now stands. After the capital was moved to Thimphu, it was renovated and expanded in 1962.
National Library: Was opened in 1967 to preserve the ancient Dzongkha texts and act as a repository for thousands of old religious books and manuscripts as well as the wooden blocks used for printing.
Zorig Chusum: Institute of 13 Traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan offers six years course on Bhutan traditional arts and crafts. One can witness the students at practice.
Folk Heritage Museum: The Museum offers a glimpse of not only the past but also depicts the present reality of rural Bhutanese people.
Royal Textile Academy: Was instituted in May 2005 under the patronage of Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck as a non-government, non-profit organization with the aim to educate, promote and preserve Bhutanese Textiles. It showcases the traditional methods of weaving and has large collection of of dresses from the Royal family.
Cheri Monastery: Situated to the North of Thimphu city it takes about 45 minutes drive to reach the end of road from where it takes 2 hours hike to Cheri Goemba (Monastery). The trail starts by crossing a lovely roofed wooden bridge across the Wang Chu river, and then climbs steeps to the monastery. This monastery was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1620 and established the first monk body. A Silver Chorten (stupa known as Kudung) inside the monastery holds the ashes of Shabdrung’s father.
Tango Monastery: This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in 13th century and Desi Tenzin Rabgye the 4th Temporal Ruler built in its present form in 1688. In 1616, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated in its cave. Today it is the institute of higher learning of Buddhism in Bhutan. The Main Lhakhang (Temple) holds the statues of ‘Due Sum Sangye’ (three Buddhas of past, present and future).
Simtokha Dzong: Simtokha Dzong is about 3Km south of Thimphu above the old road to Paro and Phuntsholing. Officially known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras), it was built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.