Trashigang

Trashigang serves as the largest town in the eastern region, and a base for tourists venturing into the surrounding villages and mountains. It was once the centre of an important trade route with Tibet. Trashigang extends from the easternmost corners of the kingdom, stretching up to the edge of the Indian state of Arunachel Pradesh. It is the country’s largest district, with an altitude ranging from 600m to over 4000m. Trashigang town stands as the main market place for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng. It is home to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which was created in part to protect the migoi, a type of yeti. Trashigang houses one of the most reputed colleges in the country, the Sherubtse College which was founded in 1966 by a group of Jesuits under the leadership of William Mackey.

Trashigang Dzong

Trashigang Dzong (The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill), one of the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan was built in 1659, to defend against Tibetan invasions. This wonderful fortress is situated atop a ledge with steep cliffs on three sides overlooking the Dangmechu River. According to legend, the sight of the Dzong sacred the Tibetan Army which retreated while remarking that the Dzong was a “Sky Dzong and was not on the ground”. It has been the political stronghold of Eastern Bhutan for over 300 years. Due to its location, Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan. The present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola in 1936.

Trashigang Tshechu

Trashigang Tshechu (festival) is held annually for three days during the 7th to 11th days os the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar (December) in Trashigang Dzong. The festival is attended by the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic people that reside in the valleys of Merak and Sakteng, the Khengpa community and people from as far as Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel and Trashi Yangtse.

Radhi Village

Radhi Village is often known as the ‘Rice Bowl of the East’ due to its verdant rice fields that supply most of the grain to eastern parts of the country. Rice fields and skill of weavers are famous in Radhi Village. Around 200 households are present in the village, all of which the people make living from fine raw silk or bura textiles during the off-agricultural seasons.

Trashi Yangtse

Trashi Yangtse is one of the newest districts in Bhutan which was established as a distinct district in 1992 and covers the area of 1,437 sq. km with subtropical and alpine forests. It lies at an elevation of 1750-1880 meter and is an ethnically and culturally diverse district and includes the inhabitants Yangtseps, the regions indigenous dwellers, Tshanglas, Bramis from Tawang, Khenpas from Zhemgang and kurtoeps from Lhuentse. The people of this region have incredible skill at woodworking and paper making. They produce items such as traditional wooden bowls which are prized throughout the country. The district contains a major art school, the school of Traditional Arts which teaches sic forms of art; painting, pottery, wood sculpture, wood-turning, lacquer-work and embroidery. Trashi Yangtse consist some protected areas such as Kulong Chhu Wildlife Sanctuary and Bumdeling Sanctuary.

Chorten Kora

Chorten Kora is just two hour drive from Trashigang which is modeled after Boudhanath stupa of Nepal which attracts the local people and Dakpa people from Arunachal Pradesh (India) in February/March for a festival to circumambulate the chorten.

Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar is located at the south-eastern part of Bhutan and borders the Indian state of Assam. It is the oldest town of Bhutan and is the largest urban center in eastern Bhutan. Its elevation ranged from 200m to 3,500m. Samdrup Jongkhar district has a mix of population largely dominated by the Sharchops and by Lhotshampas in Bangtar. It is also an important economic center of the country where coal mining is an important contribution to the country’s economy. There are several tourist spots in Samdrup Jongkar including the Mithun Breeding Farm and Samdrup Dzong. Samdrup is a bustling little town with shopkeepers and hawkers coming from the nearby border of Assam to sell their wares.

Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong

Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong serves as the administrative centre of the district and is one of the newest Dzongs in the country. Unlike other Dzongs that are built on strategic locations atop mountains or between rivers, the Dzong in Samdrup Jongkhar is built on a flat and fairly wide-open area.

The Zangdopelri

The Zangdopelri Temple is three storied set in the middle of the town and is adorned with the work of the master Bhutanese craftsmen. Due to its religious significance and convenient location, it is at the heart of the spiritual lives of the people of this area.

Dewathang

Dewathang is the site where Jigme Namgyal, the father of Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck led the Bhutanese troops in a final battle against the British in 1884.

Mithun Breeding Farm

This Farm is located at Orong, along the highway reroute to Samdrup Jongkhar, above the town of Dewathang. The Mithuns raised here are supplied to the farmers of the six eastern districts and are considered the finest breed of bison in Bhutan.

Pemagatshel

Pemagatshel is located in southeastern Bhutan covering the area of 517.8 sq.km and ranges from 1,000-3,500 meters. The district is famous for its artisans and weavers. They produce instruments like Jalings and Dhungs which are highly priced and sold throughout the country. The weavers produce fine Kiras (traditional dress worn by women) from Bura (raw silk). Pemagatshel translated as “Lotus Garden of Happiness” is also known for its numerous festivals and folk songs. Ausa is the most notable folk song which is sung during the departure of family members, friends and relatives. The main crop grown in the region is maize but potatoes, oranges, bananas and other fruits are also cultivated.

Yongla Goemba

Yongla Goemba is situated at a dagger-shaped mountain and is one of the oldest and holiest shrines in Eastern Bhutan. During the Duar War, the Trongsa Ponelop (Feudal Lord) Jigme Namgyel, father of the First King Ugyen Wangchuck, used it as a base of operations in order to launch raids upon the British troops.

Mongar

Mongar covers an area of 1,954 sq km, with a population of about 38,000 with an elevation ranging from 400m to 4,000m and is a town situated in Eastern Bhutan. Mongar offers the spectacular landscapes with stark cliffs and deep gorges set surrounded by dense conifer forests. The weavers and textiles and fabrics products of Mongar are considered some of the best in the country. The road approaching Mongar passes over sheer cliffs and through beautiful fir forests and green pastures and is one of the most breathtaking journeys in the country. Mongar is the fastest developing district in eastern Bhutan which consists of a regional hospital and various economic activities are being carried out in the district. Mongar is also famous for lemon grass, a plant that can be used to produce essential oil.

Mongar Town

Mongar town is situated atop a hill and is considered as the main trade and travel hub of Eastern Bhutan. The restaurants in the Mongar town offer a decent variety of Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. Mongar houses a beautiful clock tower and a large prayer wheel which serves as a place of gathering of friends. The main street in Mongar is lined with traditionally painted stone buildings and wooden facades and verandas.

Mongar Dzong

Mongar Dzong is located on a small gently sloping area just above the town, unlike the earlier dzongs, that are located in strategic positions. A visit to Mongar Dzong demonstrates how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.

Zhongar Dzong

Zhongar Dzong is located on a hilltop overlooking the village of Themnangbi and is visible as one descends to Lingmenthang from highway. The dzong was constructed in 17th century and is believed to have been built as a site where the master architect Zow Balop saw a white bowl. The sightseeing of the ruins provides you a sense of medieval Bhutanese administration.

Aja Ney

Aja Ney is the sacred site of the Mongar which attracts pilgrims from all over the Bhutan. It consist of a rock which bears 100 renditions of the sacred syllable “Aa”, is said to have been discovered by Guru Padmasambhava and is located at an altitude or more than 3,400 meters and falls under Ngatsang geog.

Yagang Lhakhang

Yagang Lhakhang was built in 16th century by Sangdag, the youngest son of Tertoen Pema Lingpa and is located in a small village next to the town. Yagang Lhakhang was built after the Kupijigtsam Lhakhang in Yangneer village in Trashigang. It is among the religious sites and plays important role in religious life of the people.

Dramitse Lhakhang

Dramitse Lhakhang is the popular religious sites which was built in the 16th century by Ani Cheten Zangmo, the daughter of the Terton Pema Lingpa. The Lhakhang created the popular dance called the Dramitse Ngacham or the “Dance of the Drums of Dramitse” and is the popular dance performed at all major festivals.

Lhuentse

Lhuentse is the ancient region that lies in the northeastern corner of Bhutan and is located 77 km from Mongar and is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan. Lhuentse is popular for its weavers and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. The district offers the spectacular landscapes with stark cliffs towering over river and dense coniferous forests. Most of Lhuentse district is part of the environmentally protected areas of Bhutan. The district contains parts of Wangchuk Centennial Park in the north, Thrumshingla National park in the south and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in the east.

Lhuentse Dzong

Lhuentse Dzong is situated at a hill overlooking the Kurichu River and is popularly known as Lhundub Rinchentse. The dzong was constructed in 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop, Chogyal Minjur Tempa upon the site of an older temple built by Nagi Wangchuk in 1552. The dzong today serves as the administrative and the religious centre of the district and houses many sacred artifacts that were installed by the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgay.

Kilung Lhakhang

The Kilung village is 20 minute drive from the Dzong and the Kilung Lhakhang is situated on a ridge overlooking the Kurichu River. The temple was built on the former site of the Kilung Gyalpo, a regional chieftain and houses the sacred chain mall that was once used to recapture a statue that miraculously flew away from the Lhuentse Dzong.

Jangchubling Dzong

Jangchubling Dzong was founded in the 18th century by Pekar Gyatso and is a monastery that is definitely worth paying a visit. The daughter of the 1st King, Ashi Wangmo lived in the monastery as a nun. Until recent the monastery was under the patronage of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji. Jangchubling Dzong is easily accessible from a feeder road.

Dungkar Nagtshang

Dungkar Naktshang is the ancient home of the Dungkar Chojie and the ancestral home of the Wangchuk Dynasty which stands amid a scenic backdrop of towering mountains overlooking the tiny Dungkar village below. It is 40 km from the Lhuentse following the dirt road which offers an exciting and magical journey into Bhutan’s past.