The small kingdom of Bhutan is a gem that is nestled in the highlands of the Himalayas, and with its strong Buddhist culture and emphasis on the happiness of its citizens, it is a fascinating place to visit. It is worth noting that tourism in Bhutan is strictly regulated, and the chance to explore the country without the use of a local guide is likely to be frowned upon. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan, and is certainly one of the smallest capital cities in Asia, but there is still plenty to enjoy in the city.
Visit Dechencholing Palace
The DechencholingPalace is the official home of the King of Bhutan and a number of his close relatives, but he prefers to live in the smaller and more homely Royal Cottage. The palace itself is understated in its size, but is beautifully decorated throughout, showing off the artistic aspects of Bhutanese culture, and also includes many items made at the Buddhist school which is a part of the palace complex.
The three-story building is certainly modest compared to the ornate settings of other international palaces, but it is still offering a welcome to international diplomats, particularly from India. The greatest feature of the palace is the charming garden, which is very well looked after.
Enjoy The Tsechu Festival
The Tsechu Festival is an event that is generally held every October in settlements throughout Bhutan, and is a colorful and fun Buddhist festival. The centerpiece of the festival is a lively and entertaining dance in which the dancers are in costumes and masks, and these dances tell stories with a moral message based on the life of Buddhist teacher Padmasambhava. These festivals are also periods where people tend to congregate together, and the traditional Bhutanese markets are to be found where the traders sell their wares and meet up with old friends.
Immerse Yourself In The Culture Of Bhutan
One of the really attractive features of a visit to Thimphu is that although the city is slowly becoming developed with the introduction of western luxuries, there are still many traditional industries to be found in the city. The small number of tourist companies to be found in the city will be more than happy to accommodate trips to traditional sites and industries. They can also help to arrange a visit to the National Library of Bhutan which is located in the city, and is home to many rare and ornate Buddhist scrolls and writings.
See The Bhutanese National Animal At The Motithang Takin Preserve
The Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife reserve that is designed to promote and support the existence of the Takin, which was recognized as the national animal in 2005. The legend of the Takin dates back to the fifteenth century, when the Tibetan saint Drukpa Kunley was asked by his audience to create a miracle. He is said to have eaten a goat and a cow, before combining the head of a goat with the body of the cow to create the Takin.
The preserve itself doesn’t allow direct contact with the Takin for visitors, but there are viewing areas from which pictures can be taken, and there is also a small centre with more information about this interesting species.
Visit The Dzongs, Monasteries And Stupas Of Thimphu
As a very religious country, it is not surprising that many of the grandest and most important buildings in Thimphu are actually related to Buddhism. The Taschichhoe Dzong and the Simtokha Dzong are two of the most impressive buildings to be seen in Thimphu, with these fortress-monasteries both dating from the seventeenth century. One of the most attractive sites in Thimphu lies a short distance to the north of the city, where the Tango Monastery is beautifully set in the wooded hills, and displays many of the typical Bhutanese ornate architectural features.