The Centennial Park
The Centennial Park which is located within the heart of the capital city was brought into existence to mark 100th Year of Monarchy of Bhutan and also to pay a tribute to His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck the first monarch of the country. The park was also built to mark the coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, the fifth King of the Kingdom of Bhutan in 2008. The park remains open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM everyday to all walks of life. The place is filled with picnickers during the weekends and other breeze walkers on the other days of the week. The park is also known as the Children Park or Buddha Park as there stands a walking Buddha.
Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Dordenma)
The recently built statue of Buddha Dordenma which is recorded as the
tallest with 51.5 m tall is the most preferred destinations of the tourists
across the world and for the fellow citizens as well. The statue is made of
bronze and is gold gilded. The massive statue is built following the
prophecy dating back to 8th Century A.D. The giant houses 125,000 smaller
Buddha statues other beautifully completed paintings.
The place is visited by thousands of people every day. The point where the statue sits overlooks the north and south valleys of Thimphu.
The hill on which the statue sits is known as Kuensel Phodrang- a Nature Park.
One of the most sacred religious structures in Bhutan is the Memorial
Chorten which was conceived by Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpochhey. Under the
patronage of Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck the chorten was
erected in 1974 in the memory of her son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the Third
King of Bhutan who passed away in 1972. It is considered to be the most
visible religious structure in the country as it was built and consecrated
by the extraordinary Buddhist Masters of all times.
Furthermore, when the visionary leader, the third King was alive he wanted to build a stupa like it stands now to represent the mind of the Buddha but he was unable to erect it as he had to embrace the early death.
The New Craft Bazaar
The Craft Bazaar is a newly developed outlet for selling authentic artifacts made by the Bhutanese artists through application of the thirteen kills of traditional fine arts and crafts. The products range from a small piece of a hand woven handkerchief to a large tent with intricate Bhutanese traditional designs. The materials used can be wood, bamboo, traditional paper, silver, gold and other metals. The bazaar is located to the north of the capital city.
Druk Wangyal Lhakhang at Dochula Pass
The Dochula Pass is located at an elevation of 3,100 metres between Thimphu and Punakha. It is a 45 minute drive from Thimphu. On the hillock of the pass, there are 108 stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens which were built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck in the honour of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan. Facing the hillock, there stands Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (monastery) depicting the benevolence of the fourth Druk Gyalpo towards his people.
The temple located within the vicinity of Changangkha is one of the oldest in Thimphu which was built in the 12th century. It stands on a hill top overlooking the town. The location for the temple was chosen by one of the Buddhist Masters called Phajo Drugom Zhipo. The monastery houses Chenrizig (Avolokitesawara), an 11-headed and thousand-armed manifestation as the central statue. The main guardian deity is named Dom-Tshang and he is the guardian deity of all who are born in central Thimphu. Every newborn has to be taken to the temple for blessing and paying homage. The sacredness of the temple can be judged by seeing the crowd during religious occasions- it is the most visited temple in Thimphu.
Motithang Takin Preserve (Zoo)
Motithang Takin Preserve which initially was a mini-zoo is located in Motithang. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan since November 25, 2005. It was declared as the national animal because it is said to be created by divine master Lama Drukpa Kunley in the 15th Century. These creatures are unique in appearance and they are rare to found.
Botanical Garden, Serbithang
The Botanical Garden of which the foundation was laid by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck in 1999 is a part of the National Biodiversity Centre and which aims at growing plants of variety. The core objective the garden to showcase various beautiful flora available in the country and to encourage the conservation of biodiversity. The other enticing aspect of the garden is the rock garden which is said to be a unique blend of eastern and western horticulture styles. There are numerous medicinal herbs planted in the garden which add value to the beauty of the garden.
Tashichhodzong- the capital fortress
Tashichhodzong, the capital fortress is one of the oldest structures Thimphu and it is the seats of the king and as well as the monk body. It also houses several ministries and other government offices. Within the fortress, there are numerous temples and altars which are open to general public on several occasions. The fortress was rebuilt in 1968 after it suffered major damages caused by fire. It is adorned with unique and true Bhutanese architectural design.
The Lhakhang which was built by the great bridge builder Yogi Thangthong Gyalpo in the early 15th Century is located on a hillock facing Paro-Thimphu highway. It is on the other side of Pa Chhu River and it is being connected by an iron-chain-bridge. It is believed that the Yogi used his knees as anvils to make chains. The history recalls that he built many bridges in Bhutan and Tibet some of which are still existent. The Tachok Lhakhang was built at the current site after he had a vision of the spiritual horse Balaha an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.
Taktshang Monastery (the tiger’s nest)
Taktshang Monastery, so called the Tiger’s Nest is one of the miraculous structures. It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. The history narrates that Guru Rinpochey flew to the site riding on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue demons causing harm to the people residing within the vicinity of the cave. The cave was further sanctified by the visitations of the great saints or masters who had also spent time mediating in the cave.
The monastery is built perched on the face of a rugged mountain at an altitude of 3120 meters. It is about 10 KM far from the Paro main town and it takes about 2-3 hours to reach there at the monastery from the base of the mountain.
One of the sacred Buddhist temples is Kyichu Lhakhang which is located to the north of the Paro Town. The history dates back the existence of the temple to the 7th century A.D. It is also said that the temple was built by Songtsen Gempo, the first Buddhist King of Tibet in order to subdue the evil spirits and demons in the region. Later, the temple was restored by Ashi Kesang, the Grand Queen Mother of Bhutan in 1968.
A three storeyed stupa called Dumgtse Lhakhang located near Paro town was
built in 1421 by the great Yogi Thangtong Gyalpo to subdue the ogress
causing harm to the people in the vicinity. The structure is said to be
built on the top of the head of the ogress. Over the time, the temple lost
its physique and it was restored in 1841 by the 25th Je-Khenpo (the Head
Abbot of Bhutan) His Holiness Sherab Gyeltshen with the support from donors
from the locality.
Learning the history of the temple, it is said that on the day when the restoration work began, the founder is believed to have circumambulated the site in the form of five vultures. The history also says that the reason for chaining the golden pinnacle of the temple on the four sides is that pinnacle attempted to fly to Tibet during the time of consecration.
Dumtse Lhakhang is one of its kind and stands totally unique in terms of structural design and paintings. The paintings signify the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy and significant figures of the Drukpa Kagyudpa Schools endeavoring to promulgate the teaching of Lord Buddha.