Thimphu, the capital of the dragon kingdom is situated in the western central part of Bhutan at an elevation of 2,320 meter. Thimphu is the world’s third highest capital which is spread over an attitudinal range between 2,348 meters and 2,648 meter. Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centers. Thimphu reflects the culture of Bhutan in terms of literature, religion, custom and national dress code, monastic practices of the monasteries, music, dance and literature. Thimphu houses the several attractions such as the National Post Office, the Clock Tower Square, the Motithang Takin Preserve, Tango and Cheri Monasteries, Buddha Dordenma, National Memorial Chorten, Centenary Farmer’s Market, Simtokha Dzong and many more.
Simtokha Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang in 1629 which houses one of the premier Dzongkha language learning institutes. The dzong is located about 5 kilometers south of the capital Thimphu. The dzong was built in order to subdue an evil spirit that was harassing travelers in the region. The central tower (Utse) of the dzong consists of 12 sides. The central houses a large statue of Yeshay Gonpo (Mahakala), the chief protective deity of Bhutan. The dzong also contains the bed chambers of both Zhabdrung Ngawang and Jigme Namgyel. Various statues and paintaings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figure including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya GUalpo the Buddha of Compassion are also carved and painted in the Dzong.
Tashichho Dzong a Buddhist Monastery and fortress is located on the western bank of the Wang Chu at the northern edge of the Capital, Thimphu. The dzong was first constructed in 1216 A.D by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa, later Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built the new one considering the original one less spacious, and was called as lower Dzong. The Dzong serves as 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. The main structured building is of two-storied with three-storied towers at each of the four corners topped by triple-tiered golden roofs.
National Memorial Chorten
National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in the memory of the third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. The Chorten is a large white structure crowned with a golden spire and is dedicated to World Peace. The Chorten is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is approached through a small garden and a gate decorated with three slate carvings. The exterior of the gate represents the three protective bodhisattvas: Avalokitesvara (the symbol of compassion), Manjusri (the symbol of knowledge) and Vajrapani (the symbol of power). The Chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures.
Buddha Dordenma Statue
The Buddha Dordenma also known as the Buddha’s point is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic statue of Buddha which houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues same as Buddha Dordenma made of bronze and gilded in gold. The massive statue of Shakyamuni is one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world and measures 51.5 meter in height.
Folk Heritage Museum
Folk Heritage Museum is located in the capital city of Thimphu and was established in 2001 which provides a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, in addition to artifacts from rural households, and also displays an impressive collection of typical household objects, tools and equipment. The museum is located in a three-storey 19th century traditional house. The museum regularly holds events for education and culture demonstrations. The museum opens every day except government holidays from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM on weekdays, 10:30 AM to 1:00 Pm on Saturday’s and 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM on Sunday’s.
Centenary Farmers Market
Centenary Farmers Market or Thimphu’s weekend market is located below the main town, near the Wang Chhu River and is the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers arrive here from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. Fresh and organic products are available within the Farmer’s Market due to which it has become a favorite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Motithang Takin Preserve
Motithang Takin Preserve is located in the Motithang district of Thimpu and is a wildlife reserve area for Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan. Takin was declared as the National Animal of Bhutan due to a legend of the animals’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley, popularly known as the Divine Mad Man.
Druk Wangyal Lhakhang
The Druk Wanggyal Lhakhang (temple) was built in honor of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuk. The past and future of the temple appears to merge in the details of the lhakhang and its structure states the story of a supreme warrior figure, whose vision pierces the distant future in a fine blend of history and mythology.
Dochula Pass situated at an altitude of 3050 meters is just an hour drive from Thimphu. The pass is a popular tourist destination as it offers the flawless 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. The dochula also houses 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens built by the eldest Queen Mother Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangomo Wangchuk. During a clear warm day, great pictures of the snow-capped mountains can be photographed at Dochula.