In and Around Thimphu

2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 2 of 5| Page Down | Page Up
Tashichodzong - The Fortress of the Auspicious Religion
Dzongs are traditionally the source of religion, government, law and order, security, learning, festivity and the social life of the people.  
They are at the very core of the Bhutanese way of life


This has been the seat of government since 1952 and houses the offices of the King, the secretariat and office of home affairs and finance.  Security at The Dzong is maintained by the Army but apart from the airport style X-ay at the entrance it is low key. 

This white building is the Utse, the main temple of a Dzong and the bridge between the Dzongs secular government functions and the religious monastic ones.  This one is particularly beautiful inside

It was only possible to visit after 5.00pm when the King had left his office for the day.   However he was running late and as we entered a door opened beside me and out strode HRH accompanied by only one person.  How unlike any tin pot Burmese general who will only step outside with a small army in attendance.  He was there and gone before I had time to raise my camera, for which Bhim was extremely grateful. 

Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is an imposing figure.  The saffron kabre worn only by the King and Chief Abbot was confirmation of his identity had any been needed


The Institute of Traditional Medicine

Was set up to supply traditional medicines and medical service.   It is also a training center for doctors where there is an emphasis on research into the medicinal properties of plants and herbs

The courses to become drungtsho (traditional doctors) entails six to eight years of study after high school. 
We were able to visit an exhibition room and were given a guided tour





The young men on the left are not Dr's but tour guides waiting for their patrons.   As always they are immaculately turned out

The National Library
Founded by the Queen in 1967 houses the largest Buddhist library in the world as well as historical manuscripts in Dzongkha and Classical Tibetan
Bhutan: a Visual Odyssey Across The Last Himalayan Kingdom

The largest published book in the world is on display as you walk into the  Library.  A page is turned every month, if you can't stand the suspense you can have a copy printed to order for $15,000.  It will measure 5'X7' when open, take 24 hours to print and weigh 133 lbs.
The proceeds are used in part to fund education in Bhutan

My thanks to Priyank Thatte for the use of his photos of the library interior.


Dochula Pass and Wangyal Khangzang Chortens, dedicated to H. M. the King

There are 108 recently constructed chortens, an auspicious number for Buddhists, it is the number of beads on a rosary and a favoured number of prostrations per day.  In  the heavy mist the chortens and prayer flags provide a serene atmosphere.  From this vantage point it is possible to see seven mountain peaks including Mount Gangkar Punsum at 7497m the highest in Bhutan .  But not today!

The Young Recruit

Bhim tells us the construction and road widening is in advance of the coronation of Bhutans 5th King, 28-year-old King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.  This will take place next year (08) when they have decided on an auspicious date

Police were in training for the coronation crowds expected to descend on Thimphu.  Hopefully the road will be wider and smoother, waltzing rather than jiving 





Over the Pass the clouds lifted and we traveled through a lush green fertile valley to the 'market garden' of Bhutan.  It was a rough wet drive but the scenery was sublime

2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 2 of 5| Page Down | Page Up