A representative of Bhutan’s praise-worthy amalgam of the modern and the tradition while maintaining its intense reverence for the latter, Thimphu is a delight to visit, and revisit. The city has its share of surprises hidden for everyone, no matter if it’s your nth visit to the city. Give it a chance, through the eyes of an enthusiastic and curious traveller, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Memorial Chorten
If you want to dive deeper into Buddhist philosophy and want to know more about the father of modern Bhutan, i.e. Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorchi Wanchuk, then you should visit (or revisit) the Memorial Chorten. Built in 1974, this is a hotspot among tourists because of the insight it provides into the King’s life and Buddhism.
2. Tashiccho Dzong
The venue for the nation’s largest festival tsechu is next on the list. Did you know that the dzong is not the original one as it had given into flames almost five times till date. It is now the seat of secretariat, offices of the king, and other officials and ministers to the throne. Renovated in 1962 by then King Jigme Dorji Wanchuk, the Tashichho Dzong is also the throne room. It offers a peak into Bhutan’s glorious past.
3. The Folk Heritage Museum
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A three-story timber building that resembles a Bhutanese farmhouse, the Folk Heritage Museum lets you in on traditional rural Bhutanese lifestyle and its material culture through marvellous exhibitions, demonstrations, and educational programmes. What better way than this to reconnect with your roots, right? There is also a Bhutanese restaurant here offering local delicacies.
4. National Library of Bhutan
Bibliophiles, this is where you should head if you are looking for leafing through pages to discover your nation’s past and its culture, history, heritage, and legacy. This was built in 1967 with the sole objective of preserving the ancient texts. Blocks used in printing, hand-made papers, hand-written books wrapped in wood or silk — treasures such as these can be found in this library built in typical Bhutanese architecture.
5. Motithang Takin Preserve
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The takin, the national animal of Bhutan, can be found here. This preserve used to be a zoo even until a few years back when the king decided against it. As the zoo was taken down, the wild animals were left free, as keeping animals in bounds is against Bhutanese culture and their idea of environment and religion. How did the Takin stay back? Well, the Takin population in the zoo had been tamed and hence, they were found roaming Thimphu in search of food. It was then that they were put back in a much safer place as a reserve.