Bhutan is an exotic country in the Himalayas, with an extremely well preserved natural heritage and rich, well-maintained local culture.
Nearly every place in Bhutan is beautiful. Here are found countless tall waterfalls, unique ecosystems, and species – most of these are little known. Exciting discoveries are waiting for us! The same can be said about prehistory – here are located thousands of megaliths and nearly all of them are not visited by scientists.
Today the best-known wonders of Bhutan are dzongs – unique buildings which serve as fortresses, Buddhist monasteries, and keepers of local culture and traditions. Most dzongs are well maintained and active up to this day.
Map with the described wonders of Bhutan
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Top 25 wonders of Bhutan
Possibly – the most impressive waterfall in Bhutan.
Three stone stelae (most likely – natural formations) in the opposite side of the valley from Daga Dzong. The largest stone pillar – Do Namgi Kaw – is some 20 m tall, it has a footprint on the crown. According to legends, when Dzong was constructed, the stone pillar started to speak (in a telepathic way) asking to build the dzong lower than the summit of the stone pillar. Two other stone pillars are Do Kelpai Genthey and Tha Namkhai Dzong with a cave in it.
Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
Gorgeous primeval forest in Himalaya, mostly – temperate forest and subalpine ecosystems. One of the reasons for the creation of this sanctuary is protection of migoi – man-like cryptid, whose existence has not been proved but local people are convinced that it exists.
The tallest known cypress (Cupressus himalaica or Cupressus corneyana – scientists still argue about the taxonomy). 94.6 m tall, diameter 4.27 m.
Cypress of Kurjey
A legendary cypress, planted upside down in the 8th century AD.
An enormous stone that is placed over several smaller stones. Nearby are stones with cupmarks. This dolmen is just one example of countless megaliths in Bhutan.
Architecture and history wonders
This monastery is in a dramatic setting on the side of a cliff, 700 meters above the bottom of the valley. It was built in 1692. Near the monastery is a 60 m high waterfall – Taktsang waterfall.
The second oldest, second largest historical fortress and Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. This magnificent building was constructed in 1637 – 1638.
Sacred lake where speaking is forbidden.
This historical monastery was founded in the 13th century. Current buildings constructed in the 17th century. Next to the monastery are located the sacred caves where holy saints have meditated since the 12th century.
Kyichu Lhakhang (Kyerchu Temple)
The oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century AD, reconstructed in the 15th – 16th century.
The oldest historical fortress in Bhutan, built in 1629. This small building is a former Buddhist monastery, now – language learning institute.
One of the largest historical fortresses in Bhutan with a circumference of more than 1,500 meters. Construction started in the middle of the 16th century.
Large and important monastery – fortress. Established in 1543, built after 1654. Important keeper of local traditions and customs.
An old Buddhist monastery, built in 1499. In this monastery acted Lama Kunley – the “Mad Saint” who taught Buddhism with humor, outrageous behavior, bizarre sexual overtones. People who visit this monastery are blessed with a wooden symbol of the phallus.
Wangdue Phodrang fortress
An enormous fortress, built on a mountaintop in 1638. Burned down in summer 2012, but relics have been preserved.
Nyingmapa Buddhist monastery with grand view on Phobjika Valley. Founded in 1613 and gradually increased. Monastery acts as a keeper and developer of local traditions and culture.
One of the oldest monasteries in Thimphu valley, built in the 15th century. Temple has a collection of old scripts.
This Buddhist temple was built in the 16th century. It contains a rich collection of religious treasures, armor, and weapons.
One of the largest historical fortresses in Bhutan, constructed in the 17th century and enlarged in later centuries. Located in a beautiful location – on a wild, rocky area above Mangde Chuu valley.
Large Buddhist monastery and fortress. The current building was constructed in 1644 – 1646.
Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong
Mountaintop fortress – monastery that is located among dramatic mountain scenery at the height of 4,150 m. Constructed in 1668, one of the most important border fortresses of Bhutan.
Large, ornate fortress – Buddhist monastery in Thimphu. Constructed in the 17th century and rebuilt in later times, the last time in 1902.
What does Bhutan understand about happiness that the rest of the world does not? Award-winning journalist and author Madeline Drexler recently traveled to this Himalayan nation to discover how the audacious policy known as Gross National Happiness plays out in a fast-changing society where Buddhism is deeply rooted–but where the temptations and collateral damage of materialism are rising.
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