Samdrup Jongkhar is the oldest town in Bhutan, as well as the largest urban center in eastern Bhutan. It shares its borders with Assam and at one point of time, was the main trading center of the Bhutanese. Among the several tourist attractions, two of the famous ones are Mithun Breeding Farm & Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong. The latter is one of the latest dzongs to have been built in the country. Other tourist attractions are Samdrup Jongkhar Dratshang, Zangdo Pelri, the local town and Dewathang. The cinema in the local town is the oldest in all of Bhutan.
Bhutan, a place where happiness has made it its permanent abode. It is also a country where many places have existed since olden times. Samdrup Jongkhar is one such place. Besides being a top tourist attraction in Bhutan, it is also famous for being one of the oldest towns in Bhutan. Visit it on any particular day, and you will see it bustling with shopkeepers, hawkers and customers eager to lay their hands on something exciting.
It shares its borders with the state of Assam in India and is popularly known as the gateway to eastern Bhutan. Most of the towns in this country are known for their differences in elevation, and this busy little town is no exception. It enjoys an elevation difference of 200m to 3500m. Back in time, British political officers stationed in Sikkim would use the route from Samdrup Jongkhar to enter Bhutan. Another interesting historical fact is that at one point in time, this place functioned as a main trading center for the Bhutanese. Even today, tourists find it convenient to spend some time here before moving on to Assam, the neighbouring state.
So much for a brief introduction to Samdrup Jongkhar, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhutan. As part of your Bhutan sightseeing tour, you will find many things to do here as it is dotted with several tourist spots. One of the most famous of these is the Mithun Breeding Farm and Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong. The breed of cattle known as Mithun is believed to be one of the best in the country. Other famous places which should be a part of your places to see are Jongkhar Dratshang, Zangdo Pelri, local town and Dewathang.
The Randey Dratshang stands in all its glory and elegance right besides the Dzong. It was constructed in the year 2004, and charms you with both its interiors and exteriors. Every part of it is adorned with fine art, from the main entrance to the prayer hall and the houses which lie behind that. There is an inexplicable calmness that the monastery exudes. Strangely, even when the weather outside is a bit hot, in the inside, it is calm, pleasant and tranquil.
Another popular place to visit on your Bhutan tour is Dewathang. It is a quiet place, in the sense that everything seems to be immersed in a deep meditation. The topography of the place also deserves a mention in itself. It is as beautiful a place as any you may have ever come across. It has also played a significant part in history. It was at this same place where, Jigme Namgyal led the Bhuatnese soldiers in a final and decisive battle against the British in 1884. However, even though the battle was bravely fought, the Bhutanese had to sign the Treaty of Sinchula in 1865.
Certainly, the one place that you cannot afford to miss during your trip to Bhutan is the Mithun breeding farm. Located at Orong in the east, this farm is home to the finest breed of bison in Bhutan. These are magnificent animals to look at, and are highly coveted by the cattle owners for their robust characteristics and easy manageability in the hilly terrain. You can explore the farm, click some photographs and admire the rural landscape. The Mithun bisons raised here are supplied to the six eastern districts in Bhutan.
Another major tourist attraction in Samdrup Jongkhar is Zangdopelri Lhakhang, a temple consisting of three stories located right in the heart of town. The temple is adorned with intricately designed frescoes and incredible statues, both of which come together to lend the temple its magnificence. It is also known as the “Paradise of Guru Rinpoche”, and occupies a major place in the daily lives of the people in this region.
The best part about a country like Bhutan is that it receives pleasant weather throughout the year. That makes for enjoyable sightseeing the year round. Samdrup Jongkhar is no exception when it comes to enjoying good weather. During the summer season, it gets hot but not uncomfortable.
Situated in southern Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkhar shares its border with India, and thus can be accessed from there as well via road. The destination is also well-connected with other parts of Bhutan with regular bus services from places like Thimphu, Trashigang, and Gelephu.