MONGAR

Snow Leopard, Eastern Bhutan

The route east from Trongsa travels through Thrumshingla Pass to Mongar, crossing the northwest section of Phrumsengla National Park, a mountainous, forested haven to magnificent Snow Leopards, Red Pandas and Tigers, together with rare Himalayan plants and birds.

Mongar Dzong is a modern affair, modelled after the traditional style, and sits over the town, an important trading link to the west of the country for the eastern peoples of Bhutan.

To the north of Mongar, following the banks of the Kuri Chhu River, Lhuntse is at the centre of the upland Kishuthara weaving of the Kurtoep people, widely regarded as producers of the finest textiles in Bhutan, most especially in the nearby village of Khoma.

Bhutanese weaving, Eastern Bhutan

Lhuntse Dzong, dating to 1654, and constructed upon the site of an even earlier temple, occupies a commanding position over the beautiful valley and is the ancestral home of the Wangchuk family, who have occupied Bhutan’s throne since 1907.

TRASHIGANG

Trashigang, Eastern Bhutan

To the east of Mongar, Trashigang and its imposing Dzong, dating from 1659, are the historic guardians of Eastern Bhutan, the main defence against the Tibetan invasions of the past.

To the east of the township, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is the most recently designated of Bhutan’s protected areas, and the focus of the week-long Merak Sateng Trek, to explore its Rhododendron clad jagged mountainous terrain, nomadic peoples and wildlife, which includes Snow Leopards, Himalayan Red Foxes, and Himalayan Black bears, who are reputed to share the region with the enigmatic Yeti.

To the north of Trashigang, Trashiyangste is the gateway to Bomdeling Wildlife sanctuary, nestled in the snowy peaks of the Tibetan borderlands, with Snow Leopards, Bengal Tigers and Red Pandas, among the most iconic of around a hundred animals which inhabit the park, most famed however, for its butterflies, numbering over 200 species. Another wintering flock of Black-necked Cranes can also be found here.

Red Panda, Eastern Bhutan

In Trashiyangste itself, Chorten Kora is the main historic sight, and the focus of the annual Dakpa Kora and Drukpa Festivals.

Far to the south of Trashigang, Sampdup Jonkhar sits at the border with India’s Assam State, and is a handy border crossing point for visitors wishing to leave Bhutan overland into India.

The town itself is a historic hub of trade between the nations, and also the site of Bhutan’s last battle with the British Empire.

 

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