Elevation 2,316 m
About four hours’ drive from Wangduephodrang is the central district of Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and from where the first two kings ruled the kingdom.
Long before you reach it, you see the resplendent Trongsa Dzong in the valley centre. Its labyrinth of temples, corridors, offices and living quarters for the monks add up to a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture preserved through professional restoration in 2004.
Trongsa, literally "New Town" in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown. The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by. Its foundation was laid by Pema Lingpa and flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, commanding the east-west road.
The Trongsa Museum (Ta Dzong), sits high above the valley at a strategic vantage point over Trongsa Dzong. The "Tower of Trongsa" tells the stories of the dzong and the valley that it has watched over for centuries. His Majesty the King inaugurates the Ta Dzong as a museum dedicated to the Wangchuck dynasty, land marking yet another significant event as the nation celebrates 100 years of the monarchy. It has been restored into a classy museum that represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity.
There are 224 items on display, include a sacred image of Sung Joenma Dorji Chang (self spoken Vajradhara), a bronze statue of Pema Lingpa, made by himself and a number of centuries old treasures like dance and ritual costumes and objects, ancient prayer books, paintings and scrolls and textiles.
Trongsa is a convenient place to halt for the night if you are travelling to the east or the south of Bhutan. The Trongsa Tshechu (festival) usually falls between late November and mid-December.
Elevation 2,600m - 4,000 m
Bumthang is often described as the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. There are numerous monasteries and spiritual sites in this charming valley where history and mythology help to bring alive much of Bhutan’s culture and traditions. Bumthang is a picturesque valley of beautiful houses, and fields of buckwheat, barley and apples.
A strong sense of spirituality pervades the atmosphere and, at auspicious times of the year, the valley resounds with the chants of the spiritual community as temples all over offer prayers for the well being of all sentient beings.
Some of the well-known temples include Kurjey Lhakhang (associated with Guru Rinpoche, who brought Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet), Jambey Lhakhang (dating from the 8th century) and the historic Jakar Dzong.
Source: Tourism Council of Bhutan