This region comprises
Mongar, Lhuentse, Trashigang and Trashi Yangste. Sengor Valley
separates Central from Eastern Bhutan. After Thrumshing La, passes
crossed are Kori La (2400m), Yongphu La (2190m) and Narphung La (1698)
at much lower altitudes than Western and Central. The forests
dissipate and the altitude is lower. The warmer climate is suitable
for growing corn, rice, wheat, potatoes and surprisingly lemon grass.
Eastern Bhutan is known for its stunning hand-loomed textiles and the
weavers are all masters of the supplementary weft-weave technique.
Eastern Bhutan is the least travelled area of the country and is where
many of the kingdom's most ancient spiritual sights are found.
Mongar and Lhuentse Dzongkhag - Mongar and Lhuentse
The differences between
Eastern and Western Bhutan are far greater than the high pass that
separates them. Perhaps like the Scots and the English, there are
subtle but marked differences. History has played a significant role
with the kingdom only being unified with the east at the end of the
last century and prior to that many wars separated each side. The
eastern dialect is so different from the western dialect that the two
groups find it difficult to understand each other. The journey to the
East is one of the most beautiful in all the Himalayas. Rising out of
Ura, the highway climbs steeply to Thrumshing La (the second highest
pass, 3,800m-12,465ft.) along the West to East highway at Thrumshing
La (during the Winter the pass can be closed for several days after
heavy snowfalls) where the mountains of east Bhutan can be seen during
clear weather. The descent from Thrumshing La to Lingmithang is
astonishing for several reasons. The road drops from 3,800 meters to
650 meters in only a few hours passing from pine forest through
semi-tropical forest to orange groves. Carved out of the side of the
mountain, in parts the road's edge borders a sheer cliff which drops
thousands feet. Arriving at Mongar marks the beginning of your eastern
Bhutan experience. Many towns in eastern Bhutan are built on the sides
of the hills which contrasts to the west where they develop on the
valley floor. Mongar Dzong was built in 1953 (original Shongar Dzong
was distroyed by fire) on the orders of the Third King, Jigme Dorje
Wangchuck. The Royal Guesthouse, Zhonggar Lodge is located near the
dzong enjoying a pleasant view from the garden over Mongar Valley.
Some of the finest weaving villages in
Bhutan are found outside of Mongar in Lhuentse and Kuri Chhu. These
are the traditional 'kushitara' weavers who have been the weavers to
the Royal Family for generations.
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Trashi Yangste Dzongkhag - Trashi Yangste and Duksum
On the drive to Trashi Yangtse
you pass the small town of Duksum located on the Drangme Chhu and its
tributary. It is a few kilometers past Gom Kora A large boulder sits
in the garden of Gom Kora (Gomphu Kora) Temple and its is said that if
anyone can climb below the rock and emerge from its summit, he will be
forgiven of his sins. Duksum is nothing fancy but it is a small
weaver's town where you can find a fair amount of weavers producing
some very nice work. The landmark of the town is a original iron chain
suspension bridge built by Thangtong Gyalpo or Lama Hazampa (Lama
Iron-bridge) in the 1600's. Duksum is the main supply town for all the
high mountain villages that surround it.
Trashi Yangtse is a small town rich in Bhutanese arts and legend.
Chorten Kora is one of the only two huge stupas/chortens in Bhutan
done in the Nepalese 'eye' style. Each Spring Chorten Kora is the
sight of one of the most famous festivals in Bhutan. Although quite
remote the Chorten Kora Tshechu attracts people from all parts of the
A Brief History of Chorten Kora (18th century) : Lama Ngawang
Loday wished to construct a replica of the Bodnath stupa in Nepal in
memory of his late uncle Lama Jangchhub Gyeltshen and to subdue a
demon dwelling at the site where to chorten was to be constructed.
Guru Rinpoche and his brothers constructed the Bodnath stupa popularly
known as Jarung Khashor in their previous lives.
Lama Ngawang Loday and his friend Lama Zangpo from Tawang, Arunachal
Pradesh (India) set on a journey to Bodnath. Both returned with a
model of the chorten that was carved from a radish. They were
determined to construct similar chortens in Tawang and Trashiyangtse.
Lama Zangpo constructed at Pangchanang valley in Tawang, which is
known as Gorzam Chorten. Lama Ngawang Loday constructed his on the
floor of the Trashiyagtse valley. Twelve years in the construction it
is called Chorten Kora. Blessed by HH Je Yonten Thaye, the demon that
had harmed the people of the valley was subdued and banished.
Thereafter, it is said that the people of the valley continue to live
in peace and harmony. The Chorten Kora Festival celebrates this
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Trashigang Dzongkhag -
Trashigang Dzong and Radhi
Trashigang is the eastern-most point
on the highway. Eastern residents use Trashigang
to trade and the town itself is usually a hive of activity, especially
around the bus station where buses are frequently leaving for Thimphu
and Paro in the west and Samdrup Jongkhar and India, only a few hours
to the southeast. A short distance is Rungjang and Radhi are
considered two of Bhutan's most renowned weavering villages.
Specializing in natural dyed raw silk textiles. Trashigang is also a
melting pot of hill tribe people who come to the town to trade. In
particular, the unusual Merak and Sakteng people come to Trashigang to
trade yak's butter for the provisions that they need in the mountains.
Merak and Sakteng are located about 50 miles east of Trashigang close
to the border with India's Arunachal Pradesh.
Trashigang Dzong sits on a jagged piece of land jutting out from the
town and is the first landmark that can be seen from the road winding
up to Trashigang. The Dzong was built in 1659 and commands a
spectacular view over the valley for which it is the administrative
center. The Dzong is significant for the fact that it only has one
The university town of Kanlung is located 25 kilometers (16 miles)
south of Trashigang. This is the only University of Bhutan, Sherubtse
College, founded in 1978.
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Department of Tourism.
Royal Government of Bhutan.