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Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar (Altitude: 160m/525ft.)

The gate way to Eastern Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkhar is situated in the south eastern part and shares borders with the Indian state of Assam. It is by far the largest urban centre in eastern Bhutan. It lies at elevations ranging from 200m to 3,500m. In the earlier past, many British Political Officers stationed in Sikkim took the rote from Samdrup Jongkhar to enter into Bhutan. Historically it was administered by the Gyadrung stationed at Dewangiri. Today the road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar, completed in the 1960s, enables the eastern half of the country to access and benefit from trade with the south as well as across the Indian border as in the past where it was the main trading centre for the Bhutanese. Samdrup Jongkhar is a convenient exit town for tourists who have arranged to visit the neighboring Indian state of Assam.

Dewathang

The small town situated 18 kilometers from Samdrup Jongkhar along the highway used to have the office of the Gyadrung, the administrator in the earlier times. It was also the site where, in 1884, the last battle with the British was fought. Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first King, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, who led the Bhutanese troops put up a strong resistance against the British though he ultimately signed the treaty of Sinchula with the British in 1865.

The Town

The town in Samdrup Jongkhar is one of the oldest in Eastern Bhutan and has seen gradual development over the years. It is a bustling small town with shopkeepers and hawkers from the nearby border of Assam. It also houses the oldest cinema theatre in the country that is frequented by Assamese from across the border especially to view the Hindi films

Trashi Yangtse

Trashi Yangtse (Altitude: 1,830m/6003ft.)

Trashiyangtse is a rapidly growing  town and the administrative and religious center for the people of Trashiyangtse. It was carved out from Trashigang district in 1992 as a separate district. The district pushes up to into the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and elevations range from 1000m to 5000 m. Situated in a small river valley, it is a lovely spot from which to take walks in the surrounding countryside.  Trashiyangtse is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful mementos of a visit to this remote region.

Dongdi Dzong

One of the oldest Dzongs to have been built in the region, Dongdi Dzong is located on a small spur flanked by Kholong chu and Dongdi chu. A traditional cantilever bridge over Kholongchu links with the Dzong. It was established sometime in the 8th century by Gongkar Gyalpo, son of Lhasey Tsangma, a Tibetan Prince who sought refuge in Bhutan after his exile from his native country. In the 14th century it was reconstructed by Terton Pema Lingpa and named as Trashiyangtse. The current structure was renovated in the early 1990’s. Today it houses the monk body and a sacred relic is a statue of Avaloketeshvara that was offered as a relic or nangten by the deity of the river.

Chorten Kora

This dazzling white stupa is situated on the riverbank below the town. Constructed in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday, it is built in the same style as Bodnath Stupa in Nepal, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points.  It was consecrated by the 13th Chief Abbot Sherub Wangchuk. During the second month of the lunar calendar there is an interesting celebration here, known as ‘Kora’ during which it is frequented not just by the locals from eastern Bhutan but also by the people from Arunachal Pradesh.

Institue of Zorig Chusum

A visit to the traditional institute of Arts and Crafts above the town will provide you with an insight into the different arts and craft works practiced in Bhutan. The institute started a few years back and with support from the Government, trains many school drop outs in the arts and crafts.

Gom Kora

24 km. from Trashigang, the temple of Gom Kora is set on a small alluvial plateau overlooking the Dangmechu river.  Surrounded by rice fields and clumps of banana trees, it looks like an oasis in an arid landscape.  It is one of the famous places where Guru Rinpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon which dwelt in a huge black rock. An annual tshechu held for three days in spring draws a lot of attraction with pilgrims coming as far as from Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Lhuentse

Lhuentse

(Altitude: 1460m/4789ft.)

Lhuentse is the eastern most districts of Bhutan. It is located at 77 km from Mongar. The ancestral house of Bhutan’s Monarch is still there in Lhuentse. The landscape is spectacular, with stark cliffs towering above river gorges and dense coniferous forests.  The region is famous for its weavers, and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. Kishuthara is one textile that the Kurtoe women are deft in weaving.

Lhuentse Dzong

Lhuentse Dzong, built in year 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa on the site of small temple built by Nagi Wangchuk in 1552 is majestically overlooking the Lhuentse town. Today, the Dzong serves as the administration centre for the Lhuentse District. The main relic of the Dzong is Tsepamey Statue. Only once in a year, the statue is exhibited for blessing to people.

Dungkar Nagtsang

40 Kms by feeder road, to the east of the Lhuentse town is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Monarch. This is the home of Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Dungkar Nagtshang, the ancient home of the Dungkhar Choje or the ancestral domicile of the Wangchuk Dynasty stands tall amid the scenic backdrop of the towering mountains overlooking. The dungkhar village is one of the beautiful high valley villages in Bhutan.

Gangzur Village

Gangzur Village lies below the road towards Dungkhar from Lhuentse. Gangzur is well known for their artistic skill in the production of earthen pot. Some family still depend their lives on the income from selling the earthen pot. Gangzur is example of clustered village in Bhutan. You can also enjoy the view of Kurichu down below.

Khoma Village

One has to cross the bridge over the Kurichu 7 kilometers down the Lhuntse Town. Then, feeder road takes one along the Khoma Chu to the beautiful village of Khoma. Khoma is located on the way to one of the famous pilgrimage site – Singye Dzong. One can see the cremation ground just below the road. This cremation ground is one of the most blessed cremation ground in Bhutan. 10 Kilometer through the farm road will lead you into the Khoma Valley. Khoma has a clustered housed surrounded by beautiful peaks and mountains. Khoma village is well known for their artistic skill in weaving the highly intricate and patterned textile – Kishuthara.

Zepadur

Sangay Lodru is located at an hour walk from the Khoma Village. It is the hike through steep uphill. As one ascends through the pine, enjoying the breeze, one can enjoy the very beautiful view of Khoma Village. It looks so nice that one feel at home. Sangay Lodru has one temple. It is the beginning to the pilgrimage to the Singye Dzong. There is the cave, where the Guru Rinpoche meditated for six month.

Singye Dzong

The famed Singye Dzong, one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in Bhutan is a three days uphill walk from Lhuentse Dzong. It is located at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Tantric Master once meditated here. Singye Dzong is the main sacred place where Guru Rinpoche meditated. A journey to Singye Dzong will be a rewarding experience.

Takila

Takila is located at 15 Kilometers from the highway. Passing the Tangmochu Village, popular in rice cultivation, sighting various designs of house, take you to the top of hill – Takila. Takila is one of the significant places in Bhutan because; the largest statue of Guru Nangsi Zillion is standing on the hill overlooking the Tangmochu Valley. The Statue was constructed by the Druk Odiyana Founder late Khenchen Karpo. One can see the superb view of Tangmochu Valley below and also the view of Tangmochu School.

Rowabe Monastery

Approximately, around 14 kilometer drive through farm road will take you even to higher hill top. On the hill top is a monastery. The feeder road will take you through the Nabi Village, crossing the small stream and then Zhungkhra and then finally, the Rawabe Monastery. Today, the monastery is under the care of Lam Longyang with his followers, so called lay monks

Hike to Yomenla

From just below Tangmachu School, the drive takes you towards the Manjabee Village. Manjabee Village is located on the opposite hill of Tangmachu dividing by the Bagangchu Stream. The drive through the feeder road will take you through the pine forest. 10 Kilometers from the Manjabee, will take you to the Yomin village, from where, the lower part of Kurtoe is visible. Then, hike up to the Yoemin La, which is plain meadow but perfect place to look down upon the beautiful villages of Lhuentse.

Tarkachen Bird Watching

Budur is located at the 7 Km from Tangmochu Bridge and It is the place where you journey to Tarkachen will start. Tarkachen is a dense forest, and it is the famous place for the herders of the villages. As you pass through the Tarkachen Road, you will see a Kupinyelsa Village located above the road. Driving further into the road will take you to the Tarkachen. Tarkachen is home to different kind of flora and fauna. The forest is rich with birds and wild animals. You will also enjoy the very dense forest.

Peyphu Goenpa

Peyphu Goenpa is almost 19 Kilometer drive from the Gorgan Bridge. From Gorgan, you will drive down to the Kurichu Zampa. Then road will lead you along the Ungar Chu until Ungar Village. Ungar Village is one of the least developed village in Lhuentse Dzongkhag. You will get to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of Ungar Village. Then continue driving to the Zhongmae Village. Zhongmae Village is located at the base of Peyphu Goenpa. Then take walk to Peyphu Goenpa from Zhongmae village. Peyphu Goenpa is the monastery of the Khenchen Karpo, who built Guru at Takila.

Kilung Lhakhang

The tiny village of Kilung is a twenty minute drive from the Dzong on the route towards Kurtoe Dungkhar. This village is inhabited by the Tshanglas who migrated and settled here during the late 1880’s. In the village you will come across the Kilung Lhakhang situated on a ridge overlooking the Kurichu River. It was built on the former site of the Kilung Gyalpo, a regional chieftain. This temple houses the sacred chain mall that was once used to recapture a statue that miraculously flew away from the Lhuentse Dzong.

Jangchubling monastery

This is another monastery that is definitely worth paying a visit. It was founded in the 18th century by Pekar Gyatso and until recently was under the patronage of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji. The daughter of 1st King, Ashi Wangmo lived here at the monastery as a nun. The monastery is easily accessible from a feeder road.

Trashigang

Trashigang (Altitude: 1,100m/3,610ft.)

Trashigang spans the easternmost corners of the kingdom, skirting up to the edge of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and is the country’s largest district.  The district has an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000m and Bhutan’s largest river, the Dangmechu, flows through the district. Trashigang town, on the hillside was once the center for a brisk trade with Tibet.
Today it is the junction of the east-west highway, with road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and then into the Indian state of Assam.  Trashigang town is also the principle market place for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng, whose way of dress is unique in Bhutan.

Trashigang Dzong

Built in 1659, atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu river, Trashigang dzong or the fortress of the auspicious hill has been the political stronghold of eastern Bhutan for over 300 years. The Landscape on which the Dzong stands is not only picturesque but arouses curiosity. The hillock like Mount Meru is the site of the palace of the Druk Chhoglay Namgyal (victory of Bhutanese Over enemies in all directions). It is accessible only from the north, through a slender road, paved by blasting the cliff. Due to its location Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan. The present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola, in 1936.

Sherubtse College

Sherubtse College or the Peak of Learning. Founded in the late 1960’s as a Higher Secondary School, Sherubtse College was until recently the only Institute of Higher Learning in the Country. It was run by the Jesuits from Canada and Late Father William Mackey was its first Principal. The College has been instrumental in providing the much needed human resource for the country as much of the Graduates were employed by various Ministries, Corporations and Organziations.

Rangjung Lhakhang

Further east from Trashigang, driving north will take you to another commercial hub in Trashigang, the Rangjung town. This once sleepy town is today a major commercial center where people from five gewogs congregate and carry out brisk businesses. Besides the town one can visit the Rangjung temple located on a small hillock overlooking the town. The temple built in the architectural style of the Tibetans has a monastic school supported by HH Garab Rinpoche.

Radhi Village

Above the Rangjung town is the famous Radhi village known as the Rice Bowl of the East. A drive through the terraced rice fields is an unusual experience and one can visit the traditional farm houses and peep into women folks strapped to the traditional looms. Radhi women are experts in weaving and are known for the silk textiles that has found their way into many handicraft shops in the capital town of Thimphu.

Mongar

 

 

 

 

Mongar Altitude (1,600m/5,250ft.)

Mongar is located between the Bumthang and Tashigang. Mongar district is the largest district in Bhutan. The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas crossing 4000m high Thrumsingla, Ura Valley and the one of the dangerous cliff – Namling. The journey will also bring you the beautiful and long waterfall. Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Dzongkha of Bhutan.

 

Mongar Dzong

Mongar Dzong was built in recent year (1930s) but without compromising the traditional method and style of building Dzongs in Bhutan. Bhutanese build such a big structure so called Dzong without using single nail. The art and craft work of the Dzong are done exactly in the same way as what the ancient Dzong has. The Dzong lies on the sloppy hills above Mongar town.

 

 Zhongar Dzong

As you descend down from the Namling, you will see a large structure of ruin, standing on the opposite hill from the road; this is the ruins of Zhongar Dzong. Zhongar Dzong was built in 17th century. According to the legend, the Dzong was built on the spot where the chief architecture of Dzong Dzo Balip found a white bowl. The Dzong, in ancient year was the administrative centre for eastern districts.

 

Drametse Lhakhang

The Drametse Lhakhang was built in 16th century and is located in the village of Drametse. The Temple was built by the Ani Choten Zangmo, the daughter of renowned Terton pema Lingpa. One of the mask dances Drametse ngacham was originated from the Drametse Lhakhang and it is popular all across the Bhutan. It is esteemed as UNISCO world Heritage site.

 

 Jarung Khashor Choeten

The Jarung Khashor Choeten in Lingmethang next to the bridge over the Kurichu River is another monument in the district that is worth paying a visit. The Choeten is modelled after the Jarung Khashor Choeten in Nepal. One can enjoy the view of lake formed by the damn of Hydro Power Plant.

 

Yadhi Village

Yadhi Village is located along the highway between Mongar and Tashigang. As you ascend from the Mongar, one will reach to Korila. Then one descends down through the villages to the Yadhi Village. Yadhi village is one of the finest examples of eastern villages. One can enjoy the great view of villages, which lies in the pine over the sloppy valley.

 

Kalapang Village

Kalapang Village lies above the Gyelposhing Town. Though, the village is connected by the feeder road, one can hike through the pine forest, enjoying the view of dam and wate reservoir below, and enjoying the view of Gyelposhing Town. Kalapang Village is consederd as one of the least developed village in Mongar Dzongkhag. You can enjoy, interact and watch their life style. One can also enjoy the biking and slef driving to the Kalapang Village. It is one day hike.

 

 

 

 

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