Thimphu

Bhutan Thimphu District or Dzongkhag Thimphu is a district of Bhutan. It is also the capital of Bhutan and the largest city in the whole kingdom.
Thimphu Dzongkhag is located in the western part of the country. It shares boundaries with Gasa, Punakha &Wangduephodrang Dzongkhags in the east, Chukha & Dagana in the south, Paro Dzongkhag in the west. In the north, it borders the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. Thimphu is among the more developed Dzongkhags in the country. It has a relatively good road network, especially in the lower Gewogs. The Gewogs in the northern part of the Dzongkhag, which have rugged and mountainous terrain with extreme cold climate, are connected only by mule track making access and delivery of development services difficult and expensive.

National Council from Capital Thimphu

The construction of the Supreme Court complex in Thimphu

Thimphu and Paro experiences major wild fire

Most of the lower Gewogs in the Dzongkhags have easy access to the national referral hospital, national research centers, central ministries, and agriculture related corporations and the financial institutions. Further, extension services are available in all Gewogs and so are facilities for primary education and health care. 95% of the households are supplied with electricity including solar light for Lingzhi Dungkhag. Thimphu has an area of about 2,067 sq.kms with elevation ranging between 1,300 to over 7,300 meters above the sea level. The Dzongkhag has one Dungkhag and 10 Gewogs. Baap, Chang, Dagala, Genyekha, Kawang, Mewang and Toepisa Gewogs fall directly under the Dzongkhag Administration while the three Gewogs of Lingzhi, Naro and Soe fall under the Lingzhi Dungkhag Administration. Thimphu Dzongkhag has a total of 1559 household. The forest cover area is about 1059.3 sq. kms. (105930 Hectares) The Gewogs at the lower valley in the Dzongkhag are already relatively developed compared to other regions in the country with wide telecommunication and road coverage and good access to local markets. Rice, which is the staple food, is grown extensively by a majority of the people in Gewogs like Baap, Chang, Toepisa, Kawang, Mewang and Genyekha. People also cultivate wheat as a winter crop. The dry land owned by the people is used for orchard plantation and vegetable cultivation for commercial purposes. The other more remote Gewogs in the alpine region, namely Dagala, Soe, Naro and Lingzhi, depend on Yak rearing as the main economic activity. People of Lingzhi Dungkhag also collect and sale wild medicinal and aromatic plants, which is an importation source of income. Thimphu, the capital town, is also located in the Dzongkhag. By the 10th plan, Chang (except for a few villages) and a portion of Kawang Gewogs will come under the jurisdiction of the Thimphu Municipality. Thimphu town occupies most of the areas of Chang Gewog and in future, further expansion of the town area will be within these two Gewogs.

What to see in Thimphu:

National Memorial Chorten: The building of this Chorten was originally the idea of Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhuta”), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s untimely death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974. The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Tashichhodzong: The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and while the monk body is resident in its winter quarters at Punakha Dzong.

Semtokha Dzong: This Dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km. down the valley from Thimphu. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this Dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.

National Library:
The National Library was established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundred years old. This collection, known as the Choekey Collection, mainly comprises Buddhist literature written in Choekey, the religious script of Northern Buddhism, but also includes works written in Tibetan and in Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language. There is also a small Foreign Books Collection, stock of which mainly comprises works written in English, with subject interest on Buddhist studies, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and neighboring countries.

Institute for Zorig Chusum:
Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.

National Institute of Traditional Medicine:
In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants abundant in the kingdom are prepared and dispensed here. The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and view it from the outside.

Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums:
These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

Handicrafts shops: A wide assortment of colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and many smaller crafts shops around the town.

Weekend Market: Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held down by the river. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.

Day Hikes:

Tango Gonpa
This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century. The present building was erected in the 15th century by the “Divine Madman”, Lama Drukpa Kuenley. In 1616 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the monastery. The picturesque three-storied tower and several surrounding buildings were built in the 18th century by the eighth temporal ruler of Bhutan, Druk Rabgye. The hike up the trail to Tango Gonpa takes about an hour.

Cheri Gonpa
This monastery was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1620. A silver Chorten inside the monastery holds the ashes of the Shabdrung’s father. This trek trail starts by crossing a lovely bridge that spans the Thimphu river, then climbs steeply to the monastery. The journey takes about an hour.

Phajoding Monastery
The complex is situated high on the hills overlooking Thimphu valley. It was founded by Phajo Drugom Shigpo who introduced the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism in Bhutan in the 13th century. Phajoding was in former times one of the richest monasteries in the country. It is a wonderful hike of about 4 hours from Thimphu to the monastery.

Development Potentials.

Physical: - Gewogs located in remote places specially in the temperate and Alpine areas in Lingzhi Dungkhag have potential for Livestock/Diary development, cultivation and sustainable harvest of medicinal and aromatic plants. It also has scope for tourism development. Rest of the Gewogs in lower valleys with warmer climatic conditions have good potential for Agriculture, horticulture other cash crop like potato, vegetables and livestock/diary development. Dzongkhag has fairly good natural forest cover for establishment of wood based industries.

Infrastructure: – The Dzongkhag has relatively stable and extensive road network and telecommunication facilities in lower areas whereas the remote Gewogs in the Alpine regions are connected by regularly maintained mule tracks thus providing access to the people for marketing their produce and transportation of essential consumer goods. There is strong policy support for Agriculture, Horticulture, and Livestock/Diary development, development of Private sector and establishment of employment generation enterprises. Dzongkhag has easy access to National research centers, Central Departments, Ministries, Corporations and financial institutions etc. Further Gewog extension services are available in all Gewogs and so are primary education and health care. Also about 95% of the households in the Dzongkhag are supplied with electricity (Solar light in Lingzhi, Soe and Naro Gewogs).

Human: – There is low influx of in migration supported by National policy that ensures local population is not threatened by outside forces. Increasing number of qualified personnel are joining Dzongkhag Administration. Thus capability building and strengthening the local human resource is greatly enhanced. Local communities have started shouldering greater responsibilities for development programme. Decentralization process has further encouraged people’s participation in decision making, planning and implementing of development programme in the villages/Gewogs.

Economic: - The Dzongkhag is accessible to the local markets, markets in bordering areas (including India and Bangladesh). There is scope for tourism development because of existence of rich cultural heritage, historical sites and rich Bio-diversity. The Dzongkhag has great potential to increase cash crop production, which should be exploited for economic upliftment of rural farmers. The production of livestock, diary products, vegetables, potato, apples, mushroom can greatly enhance the cash incomes of the rural people. There also exists opportunity for the development of Agro & wood based industries, hollow blocks, marble and stone chip industries.

Objectives and Targets
i) To promote decentralization, good governance & people’s participation.
ii) To promote balanced development amongst the Gewogs.
iii) To promote efficient management and coordination services.
iv) To protect and preserve rich cultural heritage.
v) To conserve environment and natural resources.

Strategies
i) Strengthening Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogchung (DYT), Gewog Yargey Tshogchung (GYTs) by providing basic support services like Gup’s office, telephone, furnitures and other office equipments.
ii) Providing efficient management and coordination services within the Dzongkhag, Gewogs and with Central Agencies for effective implementation.
iii) Provide better and prompt services to the people through provision of adequate facilities and manpower.
iv) Developing human resources capacity at the Dzongkhag and Gewogs by providing incountry trainings to the staff as well as DYT & GYT members.
v) Preservation of cultural heritage sites through timely maintenance and renovation of Dzongs, Monastries, Lakhangs and Goenpas of Cultural and Religious Importance.
vi) Undertake measures to raise the level of public sensitivity and commitment to the preservation and promotion of Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage.
vii) Conservation of environment and natural resources base through awareness building and sustainable utilization mechanism.

Thimphu Tashicho Dzong

Thimphu Dzong


 

 

 

 

Dochula Pass
108 Stupas at Dochula Pass between Thimphu and Punakha

Night shot of Thimphu Nightshot of Thimphu

 

Thimphu Festival Thimphu Festival