Thimphu is the capital and largest city of Bhutan. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and the name of the surrounding valley is dzongkhag, the Thimphu District. The city became the capital of Bhutan in 1961. As of 2010 census it had a population of 1,04,200.
The city is spread out longitudinally in a north-south direction on the west bank of the valley formed by the Wang Chuu, also known as the Thimphu Chuu River. Thimphu is located at 27°28′00″N 89°38′30″E Coordinates: 27°28′00″N 89°38′30″E and is spread over an altitudinal range between 2,248 metres (7,375 ft) and 2,648 metres (8,688 ft). Unusually for a capital city, Thimphu is not served by an airport, but relies on the airport at Paro, connected by road some 54 kilometres (34 mi) away.
Thimphu, as the political and economic centre of Bhutan, has a dominant agricultural and livestock base, which contributes to 45% of the country's GNP. Tourism, though a contributor to the economy, is strictly regulated, maintaining a balance between the traditional and development and modernization. Thimphu contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King, located to the north of the city. As a metropolis and capital city, Thimphu is coordinated by the "Thimphu Structure Plan", an Urban Development Plan which evolved in 1998 with the objective of protecting the fragile ecology of the valley. This development is ongoing with financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimphu in respect of literature, religion, customs, and national dress code, the monastic practices of the monasteries, music, dance, literature and in the media. Tsechu festival is an important festival when mask dances, popularly known as Cham dances, are performed in the courtyards of the Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu. It is a four day festival held every year during autumn (September/October), on dates corresponding to the Bhutanese calendar.
Top Places to Visit in Thimphu
This is also Known as "The Fortress of the Glorious Religion", Tashichho Dzong is the most impressive building situated on the banks of the Wangchu (Thimphu River).
Tashichho Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1962, Tashichho Dzongby the Late King, His Majesty, King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck. The Tashichho Dzong was built in the late 1700’s and also serves as the home of the Central Monastic Body.
In 1869 the Dzong caught fire during and was afterwards extensively repaired. The late king Jigme Dorje Wangchuck had the Dzong rebuilt from 1962 to 1969 and made the building into the new capital. The Memorial Chorten
This is also known as the Thimphu Chorten, is a chorten in Thimphu, Bhutan, located on Doeboom Lam in the southern-central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian military hospital. The chorten, built in 1974 to honour the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972), is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. In 2008, it underwent extensive renovation. It is popularly known as "the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan". It was consecrated by His Holiness, the Late Dudjom Rimpoche.
Semtokha Dzong is a small Dzong, located about 3 miles Simtokha Dzongsouth of the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu. Built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan, the Dzong is the first of its kind built in Bhutan. An important historical monument and former Buddhist monastery, today it houses one of the premier Dzongkha language learning institutes. It recently underwent renovation.
Bhutan National Library is located close to the institute of Zorig Chusum and contains Bhutan’s history in the form of religious and historical literature. The National Library was established in 1967 to preserve many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts.
The Folk Heritage Museum
Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The museum is one of the kinds that portray the lifestyle of a gentle family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days.
The Institute Of Traditional Medicine
The complex has the traditional medicine production unit, the treatment hospital and the school. CENTENARY FARMERS MARKET Every Saturday & Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the bank of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
There is a wonderful view of Thimphu valley from this point
The National Stadium occupies the field where in 1885; a battle took place that helped the supremacy of Ugyen Wangchuk, Bhutan's King.
School Of Arts And Crafts
The School of Arts and Crafts, commonly known as painting school, offers an eight year course which provides instruction in many of Bhutan's traditional arts to boys throughout the country.
This institute is also known as The Institute of Zorig Chusum. It has 13 traditional arts and crafts.
This private chapel built in the 1990s by Dasho Aku Tongmi, a musician who composed Bhutan's National Anthem.
Motithang Takin Preserve (Takin Zoo)
Located in the Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan is a wildlife reserve area for Takin,Motithang Takin Preserve the National Animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free. The reason for declaring Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) as a National Animal of Bhutan on 25 November 2005 is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley.
How to reach?
By Air : Paro International Airport (PBH/VQPR) is the only entry point to Bhutan by air. It is located in the south west of the country and served only by the country's flag carrier Druk Air.
By Road : There are frequent services of bus from Siliguri to Phuentsholing/Jaigaon. It is roughly a four hour journey. Then you can avail private buses and shared taxis from Phuentsholing to Thimphu.