Thimphu, Bhutan

Thimphu is a cozy and small town located along the Thimphu-Chui River (altitude 2350m above sea level), is the capital of Bhutan, located in a wooded valley surrounded by mountains sprouted with pine trees, with monasteries and temples based on the tops of rocks. This is the only capital without traffic lights and one of the few where ultra-modern glass and concrete buildings are completely absent. All of Thimphu’s architecture is built on the centuries-old traditions of local architects: brightly decorated facades and spiers soaring into the sky, giving the city a charming medieval flavor. There is an unprecedented law in force here, according to which even newly built buildings must be created using the forms and motifs of traditional Bhutanese architecture, as well as adhere to certain standards in design and building parameters.
Attractions in Thimphu: Trashi -Chho-Dzong Monastery, considered the pride of the whole country and a source of spiritual knowledge. Now, both the royal residence and the palace of the Supreme Lama are located on the territory of the monastery, it is not easy to get here, at the allotted time on weekdays. Royal School of Art; The National Library, which has ancient manuscripts in Tibetan. The largest National Institute of Traditional Medicine in the Himalayas, the Motitan Taking Reserve (a small zoo), a textile museum, a city market.

Memorial Chorten in Thimphu – Buddhist monastery, built in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Unlike other chortens, it does not contain the remains of the king, but contains a photograph of the departed king in ceremonial dress in the hall on the first floor. The construction of this chorten corresponds to the will of the king, who wanted to build a spatial representation of the mind of the Buddha. Chorten is visited by pilgrims, as it is believed that the Third King of Bhutan had special holiness and magical powers.

Buddha Dordenma is a beautiful giant statue of Shakyamuni Buddha erected in Bhutan in 2010. Its name is translated as “Diamond Lightning Strike”. Inside the statue is a temple with 25,000 30 cm and 100,000 20 cm Buddha statues. All of them, like the main statue, were made of bronze and generously covered with gold.
Dechencholing Palace, the king’s official residence, is north of Thimphu. Not far from Thimphu you can visit Pangri Zampa(Pangri Zampa) an astrological school founded in the 16th century, and at the beginning of the valley, if you pass through the countryside through an ancient bridge, you can reach the temple of Cheri Goempa, where the first monastic community in the kingdom was founded. The monastery is also known for the fact that the film “Little Buddha” was filmed here. On the main street of Thimphu, you can buy jewelry with Himalayan gems, and products made from Bhutanese textiles and handicrafts.

Jungshi Paper Mill, located near Thimphu, produces a special type of paper de sho according to old Bhutanese traditions. Paper de sho is made by hand from the bark of two tree species. Initially, it was used in monasteries for making religious engravings and writing sacred books. Today, the Yungshi Paper Mill uses the ancient methods to produce items such as watermarked paper, lampshades, stationery and greeting cards. Visitors to the factory can watch the process of paper making and even make their own paper sheet as an original souvenir.

Bhutan is one of the ten best nature reserves in the world; 72.5% of the country’s territory is occupied by virgin forests. The natural vegetation in Thimphu is represented by deciduous deciduous and coniferous evergreen trees. Mimosas, bamboo, bananas, palm trees entwined with vines grow within the city. Not far from the capital, along the southern border of the country, is the Manas Reserve.

The population of
Thimphu reaches 50 thousand people. The most numerous ethnic group are the Bhots (about half of the inhabitants of the capital). Thimphu is also home to Nepalese and people from other Southeast Asian countries.

The history of the development of Thimphu.
The first information about the capital of Bhutan began to appear in the 17th century. The city was formed on the site of small settlements that arose around Tibetan monasteries and fortresses – dzongs. As historians suggest, dzongs began to be built in the 16th century. As the city grew and developed, new monasteries and temples were built in it, which contributed to the transformation of Thimphu into one of the centers of the Buddhist religion. For a long period, the people of Thimphu have referred to Tibetan lamas as their spiritual guides. Lamas led a solitary life in monasteries and chapels. The spiritual mentors of Buddhists of the Lamaist direction to this day make up a significant part of the population of the capital of Bhutan (Lamaism began to spread in the country already in the 9th century under the influence of King Singhu).

The inhabitants of Thimphu did not always maintain peaceful relations with the population of neighboring states: the kings of Bhutan often waged aggressive wars against other Tibetan regions. Since the 19th century Thimphu was under the protectorate of Great Britain, since the British colonialists, having gained a foothold in India, extended their influence to the territory of Bhutan.

Until 1949, the capital of Bhutan was the city of Punakha, which, like Thimphu, was founded near an ancient fortress. For a long period, Thimphu was the summer residence of the Bhutanese king, and Punakha was the winter residence.

In 1949, after the independence of India, the government of this country concluded a number of agreements with the Bhutanese king, according to which the right to regulate Bhutan’s foreign policy relations with other states was granted to India. The capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan in 1949 was officially moved from Punakha to Thimphu.

In 1954, a parliament was established in the new capital of Bhutan, 2/3 of whose members were elected in indirect elections, and U3 was appointed directly by the king, as well as mentors of the monasteries.
The education sector in Thimphu is very poorly developed; in addition to public schools (primary and secondary), the city also has special theological schools created at Buddhist monasteries. There are no higher educational institutions in the capital, there is only a pedagogical school, which trains teachers for primary and secondary schools. In addition to the state language, English is compulsory in schools.

Thimphu, Bhutan