Thimphu, Bhutan

Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs.


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Tashichoodzong

In 1641 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal took over that Dzong from the Lhapa Kagyu, reconsecrated, and renamed it Tashichö-dzong. It was then established as the main seat of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu and the summer residence of the monastic body or sangha headed by Shabdrung Rinpoche.

Most of this original dzong was destroyed by fire in 1772 and a new dzong was built at the present site by the sixteenth Desi, Sonam Lhudrup, and it was then consecrated by the thirteenth Je Khenpo, Je Yonten Taye, who named the new Dzong Sonamchö-dzong. Following the death of the Desi it was renamed Tashichö-dzong after the old Dzong.

Memorial Chorten Thimphu

This stupa was built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Bhuddhist philosophy.

The chorten is a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments.

Buddha Dordenma

Great Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains of Bhutan celebrating the 60th anniversary of fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Great Buddha Dordenma itself, will be made of bronze and gilded in gold. The Great Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Apart from commemorating the centennial of the Bhutanese monarchy, it fulfills two prophecies. In the twentieth century, the renowned yogi Sonam Zangpo prophesied that a large statue of either Padmasambhava, Buddha or of a phurba would be built in the region to bestow blessings, peace and happiness on the whole world.

Simtokha Dzong

Five miles from Thimphu stands the 17th century Simtokha Dzong standing on a lofty ridge. Built in 1627, the oldest Dzong in the country, it now houses the School for Buddhist studies.

The name Simtokha literally means “Atop a Demon” and the legend associated with the dzong’s construction tells us that it was built in order to subdue an evil spirit that was harassing travelers in the region.

The dzong houses countless statues and paintings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figures including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of Compassion and many more, all carved and painted in exquisite detail.

National Library

The National Library of Bhutan was first established in 1967 under the patronage of HM Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden (1911–2003), with a small collection of precious texts. The library was initially housed within the central tower (utse) of Tashichodzong. Later, due to its growing collection, it had to move to a building in the Changgangkha area of Thimphu.

To provide a permanent home for the sacred religious books and manuscripts in the growing collection, construction of the present four-storeyed eight-cornered traditional building, which looks like the central tower temple of a Bhutanese Dzong, in the Kawajangtsa area of Thimphu was initiated. The cost of the construction of this building was borne entirely by the Royal Government of Bhutan without any foreign aid.

Bhutan Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum, Evolution of Communications Systems in Bhutan, was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. The story is told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced over the years.

The museum is located on the ground floor of Thimphu GPO building, Chang Lam III, Thimphu.

Folk Heritage Museum

Located in the capital city of Thimphu, this museum was established in 2001 and provides visitors and tourists with fascinating insights into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life. The Folk Heritage Museum is set inside a three storied, 19th century traditional house.

The museum gives you a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, in addition to artifacts from rural households; it also displays an impressive collection of typical household objects, tools and equipment. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs as well as hosting educational programs for children.

Royal Textile Academy

Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. With the aim to preserve and promote this living art, the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan was instituted in May 2005 under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck as a non-government, non-profit organization.

The RTA was registered as a Civil Society Organization in line with the Civil Society Organization’s Act of Bhutan 2007 on June 13, 2011.

The Mission of the RTA is dedicated to educate, promote and preserve Bhutanese Textiles. It aims to create International Awareness and encourage international collaboration to promote mutually beneficial exhibits and educational programs.

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