Travel to Mongar and do the following sightseeing
The road approaching Mongar is one of the most spectacular journeys in the country. It passes over sheer cliffs and through beautiful fir forests and green pastures. You will have the opportunity to visit the Rhododendron garden. There are countless varieties of rhododendrons here and on clear days you can even catch a glimpse of Gangkhar Puensum (7541 m), a strong candidate for the world’s highest unclimbed mountain.
Mongar district covers an area of 1,954 sq. km with elevations ranging from 400m to 4,000m and has a population of about 38,000. The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs and deep gorges set amidst dense conifer forests. The region is known forits weavers and textiles, and fabrics produced here are considered some of the best in the country. Mongar is the fastest-developing dzongkhag in eastern Bhutan. A regional hospital has been constructed and the region is bustling with many economic activities. Mongar is noted for its lemon grass, a plant that can be used to produce an essential oil. It also has a hydropower plant on the Kuri Chhu river. The western part of Mongar district contains part of the Thrumshingla National Park, and northeastern part of Mongar district contains part of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (the gewog of Sharmung). In the past, this region was known as the bastion of the Zhongarps as it produced some of the finest administrators in the country whose descendants still continue to play an active part in the political scene of Bhutan.
Sightseeing in Mongar (1 day)
Stop by Lingmithang: Enroute to Mongar, we will visit Lingmithang where you will get to explore a world-class hazelnut production industry in Bhutan. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests recognized the potential of hazelnuts in the 1990s and developed hazelnut trial orchards for nearly two decades, demonstrating that Bhutan has suitable conditions for hazelnut production in Lingmethang, hence the Royal Government of Bhutan has signed to become Partnership with Mountain Hazelnuts. This partnership is based on a 30-year Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Government of Bhutan and Mountain Hazelnuts, structured with the aim of creating sustainable income for farmers, positive environmental effects, foreign currency earnings for the Government, and a profitable, sustainable private company.
Explore Mongar town
Like many other settlements in Eastern Bhutan, Mongar town is situated atop a hill rather than within a valley. This town is considered the main trade and travel hub of Eastern Bhutan and most travellers and merchants active in the east pass through here often spending the night at one of the local hotels.
The main street is lined with traditionally painted stone buildings with wooden facades and verandas. Near the clock tower, there is a large prayer wheel around which people often gather to meet old friends and chat. The local restaurants offer a decent variety of Bhutanese and Indian cuisine.
Visit Lotus Pond International Restaurant: For a change of scene seek out this cheerful local restaurant with an ambitious menu including Bhutanese, Chinese, Indian, Tibetan and continental dishes. We recommend the chicken chilli and momos. You can also pick up a bottle of the owners’ home-made fragrant lemongrass oil here.
Visit Mongar Dzong
Although more recently built (1930), it was constructed the same way as all earlier dzongs, without plans or nails. However, unlike the earlier dzongs, that are located in strategic positions, Mongar Dzong is located on a small gently sloping area just above the town. A visit to Mongar Dzong demonstrates how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
Visit Aja Ney
Another sacred site in the Mongar district is the renowned Aja Ney. Pilgrims from all other parts of Bhutan converge here to receive blessings and wash away their sins. A rock that bears 100 renditions of the sacred syllable “Aa,” is said to have been discovered by Guru Padmasambhava. It is located at an altitude of more than 3,500 meters and falls under Ngatsang geog. It is approximately a two-day trek from Serzhong village.
Visit Yagang Lhakhang
Yagang Lhakhang is located in a small village next to the town is another sacred monument of the Dzongkhag.
It was built in the 16th century by Sangdag, the youngest son of Tertoen Pema Lingpa. It was built after the Kupijigtsam Lhakhang in Yangneer village in Trashigang was completed. Today, the Lhakhang plays an important role in the religious life of the people. As you enter the main hall, notice how the original entrance on the far wall was blocked up after the arrival of the road (in the interests of security), leaving a mixture of old and new murals.
Visit Dramitse Lhakhang
One of the most notable religious sites is the Dramitse Lhakhang. It was built in the 16th century by Ani Cheten Zangmo, the daughter of the renowned Terton (religious treasure seeker) Pema Lingpa.
The Dramitse Ngacham or the “Dance of the Drums of Dramitse,” was created in this Lhakhang in the 16th century. Today, it is a popular dance performed at all major festivals. It is also on the esteemed UNESCO World Heritage list.
Travel back to Gyelpozhing: In the evening we will drive back to Gyelpozhing where the Kurichhu Hydropower plant is located. The hydropower is a run-of-river scheme, with a dam of height 55 m (from its deepest foundation), a crest length of 285 m and a surface powerhouse located at the toe of the dam. The Project has an installed capacity of 60 MW consisting of four units of 15 MW each and a mean annual energy generation capacity of 400 million units (MU), which can cover electricity to whole eastern Dzongkhags. The Kurichhu Hydropower Plant was formally inaugurated by HRH Trongsa Poenlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Present Fifth King of Bhutan and H.E Shri Sudhir Vyas, Ambassador of India to Bhutan, on April 26, 2006.
Depending on the time, we’ll take a stroll through Gyelpozhing town’s main street. You’ll get to see the true nature and lifestyle of Bhutanese people at this market as because of huge employees of Hydropower and other organisations, business people and farmers from nearby villages swarms in this market for trade and evening gathering.