The capital city of Thimphu lies in the broad fertile valley of the Wang Chu River. Once a rustic village, Thimphu today has a population of over 80 000 people and is the biggest city of Bhutan.
As the capital of Bhutan, most of the important political institutions in the country are based in Thimphu, including the throne of the King, embassies and the National Assembly.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THIMPHU:
A striking example of the preservation of ancient skill in Bhutan is Tashichho Dzong ("Fortress of the Glorious Religion") which stands in the valley along side the Wang Chu River bank. This imposing white fortress houses the religious and administrative activities of the country. Lamas live in the Dzong in the summer time whereas administrators of the country come to work every day of the week. The main secretariat building houses the throne room of his majesty the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly is located in a new building on the opposite side of the river.
Dechen Phodrang Monastery
Dechen Phodrang is a Buddhist monastery that was originally the site of Thimphu's original Tashichho Dzong. In 1971, it was converted into a monastic school with 450 student monks enrolled for eight-year courses.
The Memorial Chorten, also known as the "Thimphu Chorten", is a chorten dominating the skyline of Thimphu. It was built in 1974 to honour the Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972).
National Post Office
The National Post Office is where the famous Bhutan's Philatelic Bureau sells stamps. In view of their colourful presentation and limited issue, stamp collectors all over the world know that Bhutan is the first country to diversify and export quality stamps.
Established in 1967 Bhutan's National Library houses many ancient Dzonghka and Tibetan texts. It is said to contain arguably the best collection of religious and historical literature in the Himalayas. On the ground floor of this building, there is a book reported to be the heaviest in the world, weighing 59 kilograms, known as "Bhutan: a Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom".
Institute for Zorig Chusum
Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan such as drawing, painting, wood carving, embroidery or sculptures. On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. High spirited competitions are a part of all festive occasions. A team of archers shoot at targets from a distance of 150 meters. Each team has a crowd of supporters who encourage their own side and try to put off their opposition.
Motithang Takin Preserve
The Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife reserve area for takin, the National Animal of Bhutan.
Seven kilometers before Thimphu, on a breezy hill top rises Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan's most ancient fortress. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1627, it was the country's first official centre of social and religious education.