Places to visit in Thimphu Valley
Thimphu Valley Overview
1,819 sq. km
It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and the surrounding valley is one of Bhutan's dzongkhags, the Thimphu District. The city became the capital of Bhutan in 1961.
Most of the government and moanstic heads are in Thimphu. Even the His Majesty's Secretariat Office is in Thimphu. So it is most developed district in Bhutan. And also most densely populated.
It was first built by Gyelwa Lhanapa founder of Lhapa Schoool in 1216, and named as Do Ngoen Dzong(Fortress of Blue Dzong) where Dechen Phodrang Monastery is located at present.
Later in 1630s the Dzong became the property of Zhandrung and in 1641 Zhabdrung built a new Dzong on the same spot and Named as Tashichoedzong(Fortress of Auspecious Dzong) and became
the summer residence of Zhabdrung. In 1772 it was damaged by fire and the Desi and Jekhenpo of that time have rebuilt the dzong but shifted to the new location where the present
dozng stands. After this also it was caught by fire and earth quake and restored several times and the present structure is from the time of 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who
have enlarged and shifted the capital to Thimphu from Punakha and at present it houses the government offcies including His Majestys Office as well as the monk body.
And it is also simmer capital of Monastic Body.
The outstandingly complex and subtle architecture of the fortress is one of the finest and biggest in the country. The fortress stands alongside
the Wang Chhu River in the Thimphu valley.
It is a very impressive monument with its bell twinkling in the wind with lot of people circumambulating it. We can see more elderly people in day time where as young and
office goers during evening and morning.
It was built in 1972 and was completed in 1974 in the memory of our Third Monarch Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972. Although there is no remain of king
inside the chortern, except for his portrayed inside it. Actually late king had 3 wishes that is he want to put the 3 traditional pillars of Buddhism; the Speech, the
body and the mind. In his life time he could achieve only 2 out of three, that is he had made 1000 buddha statue representing the Body of Buddha and transcribed a kanjur
and tenjur in golden letters representing the speech of Buddha. But he could not achieve third one so his mother the Royal Grandmother Ashi Phuntsho Choden put up the
monument on behalf of his late son HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and in his memory.
Simtokha Dzong is 6 km south of Thimphu. It is the first dzong built by Zhabdrung Nagwang Nampgyel in Bhutan. It was built in 1627 and was completed in 1629. It is one
of the smallest Dzong in Bhutan, as it was the first Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong was attacked by five groups of Lamas (Lam Kha Nga) in 1634, but the army of Zhanbdrung was
victorious. In 1671 the dzong was restored by third Desi Minjur Tempa. In 1989 it was made as institute(Institute of Language and Cultural Studies) where students are
taught Dzongkha and other related subjects, but now is shifted to Taktse in Trongsa.
Kuenselphodrang (Buddha Point)
This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. 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 8 inch tall and 25,000 12 inch tall statues respectively.
Each of these thousands of Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient
prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and
happiness to the entire world.
Changangkha Lakhang is one of the oldest temples in Thimphu, which was built in 12th century by descendant of Phajo. It is very important for the people of Thimphu as
it is the temple where the local protector Tamdrin/Gayden Damzap is residing. So we can see lot of people bring their new born babies to the temple for the blessings
and also to get the name for the new born. And most of the parents take thier baby atleast once a week to temple, so that the baby is protected from any harms.
It was founded by Druptho Rikey Jadrel. He was a Tibetan and visited Bhutan on the invitation made by Ashi Phuntso Choden, and HM the 3rd King for the investigation of
H.H Ponlop Khen Rinpoche. He stayed in sacred places like Dumtse and Bumdra for about 2 years and then came to Thimphu on the invitation made by his patrons and stayed
with Dungse Thinley Norbu and Dasho Tenzin Dorji.
He found that the present location was inhabited by the evils and in order to subdue it he mediated for 4 years in a small hut in present location. After that a
temple was constructed in 1981 and was completed in 1983. And the consecration ceremony was also conducted by HE Kalu Rinpoche.
Folk Heritage Museum
One of the oldest house in Thimphu have been converted in to Folk Heritage Museum and was inaugurated in August 2001 by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. This museum
show cases the everyday rural life for young generations who are born and brought up in Urban areas. And it is also a place to preserve the objects related to this life if
incase such life styles disappears in future.
The national library contains some of the the manuscripts and books which are printed with wooden blocks (Xylography) along with the printing blocks. And also you can see
the largest book in the world about Bhutan produced in 2004 by MIT, USA.
Zorig Chusum(Institue of Traditional arts and crafts)
It is the institute where the students are taught the traditoinal arts and Crafts. It is interesting to visit this place. You can see not only how skillfull students are
but also the traditional method of teaching the students. It is completely different from the western world.
It is located in middle of the meadow not far from the river. This was the resoidence of Zhabdrung when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616. The temple was built in first Quater
of 16th century and the exact date is unknown. And it was built by Ngawang Chogyel the great great grandfather of Zhabdrung.