Thimphu

Thimphu is the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The ancient capital city of Punakha was replaced by Thimphu when it was established as capital in 1955, and in 1961 Thimphu was declared as the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan by His Majesty the 3rd Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Unusually for a capital city, Thimphu is not served by an airport but relies on the Paro Airport connected by road some 54 kilometres away. Thimphu, as the political and economic centre of Bhutan, has a dominant agricultural and livestock base, which contributes to 45% of the country’s GNP. The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimphu in respect of literature, religion, customs, and national dress code, the monastic practices of the monasteries, music, dance, literature and in the media. Thimphu experiences a wet season, which runs from May through September and a dry season that covers the remainder of the year.

History: Before 1960, Thimphu consisted of a group of hamlets scattered across the valley including Motithang, Changangkha, Changlimithang, Langchupakha, and Taba, some of which constitute districts of the city today. In 1885, a battle was held at what is now the Changlimithang sports ground in Thimphu. The decisive victory opened the way for Ugyen Wangchuck, the first King of Bhutan to virtually control the whole country. The third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, reformed the old pseudo-feudal systems by abolishing serfdom, redistributing land, and reforming taxation. He also introduced many executive, legislative, and judiciary reforms. Reforms continued and in 1952 the decision was made to shift the capital from the ancient capital of Punakha to Thimphu. The fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, opened the country for development and India provided the needed impetus in this process with financial and other forms of assistance. In 1961, Thimphu officially became the capital of Bhutan.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: Thimphu is served by the Paro International Airport which is located at a distance of 54 km from Thimphu.

Road: The artery road connects the major cities across the nation that mostly runs parallel to the rivers. Thimphu is connected to major cities of Paro, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Chukha and Phuentsholing.

Local: For local transportation within the city and around there are buses, taxis and hired vehicles from various tour operators and hotels.

Tourist Interest:

The Great Buddha Dordenma: Great Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains of Thimphu. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Great Buddha Dordenma itself, are made of bronze and gilded in gold.

Tashichho Dzong: Tashichho Dzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city of Thimphu in Bhutan, on the western bank of the Wang Chhu. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk Desi or Dharma Raja, the head of Bhutan’s civil government, an office which has been combined with the kingship since the creation of the monarchy in 1907, and summer capital of the country.

Simtokha Dzong: Simtokha Dzong, known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras), is said to be the oldest surviving fortress cum monastery established in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan.

Chuzom: The confluence of Paro Chhu and Thimphu Chhu marked by three stupas representing the Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese respectively. The confluence lies on the way from Paro to Thimphu.

Memorial Chorten: The Memorial Chorten, also known as the ‘Thimphu Chorten’, is a Chorten in Thimphu located on Doeboom Lam in the southern-central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian Military Hospital. The Chorten that dominates the skyline of Thimphu was built in 1974 to honour the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

The other places of interest in Thimphu are Changangkha Lhakhang, Motithang Takin Preserve, Zilukha Nunnery, Clock Tower Square and many other as per individual interest.

Hotels: There are many hotels in Thimphu. Some of which offers the facility of online booking while one can also get rooms as a walk-in customer. The guides and the drivers come to great help while looking for hotels. During the off-season, the rates can also be negotiated.

Read my experience in Thimphu.

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