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Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan’s landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, holding its first general election. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002. The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.

Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing is the point of entry for travelers arriving by bus from Kolkata and Siliguri and the town functions primarily as a place where Bhutanese and Indians do business. The architecture is modern, and there is no dzong, famous monastery or in fact anything of particular interest to tourists. However, like all of Bhutan, it does offer a clean, pleasant and safe environment in which to go about your business. NB: Until 2005, it was possible for overseas visitors to enter the town without a Bhutanese visa. Except for Indian nationals, this is no longer possible. Indians are denied entry beyond the checkpost in the absence of a permit.

Thimphu

Thimphu, the morden capital of Bhutan lies at an elevation of 2300 meters in a valley transversed by the Wang - Chu (Thimphu river). The Tashichho Dzong the main secretariat building houses the Throne room of the King and the Summer residence of the central Monk body. The city of Thimphu is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. Nevertheless, for Bhutan it is a fitting and lively place. Unlike many modern cities, Thimphu has kept a strong national character in its architectural style.

Paro

Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. In addition, the Paro Valley is wide and verdant and is recognized a one of the most beautiful in all Bhutan. Prefer to stay in Paro if you are someone who is fond of nature and would like to spend quite and peaceful time. However, apart from the main street (which is constructed of traditional wooden structures), the bazaar area is a nondescript hodgepodge of concrete buildings that is totally bereft of charm and character. Along with Jakar and Punakha, Paro forms the 'golden triangle' of popular tourist destinations in Bhutan./p>

Bumthang

Bumthang District (Dzongkha: ???????????????; Wylie: Bum-thang rzong-khag) is one of the 20 dzongkhag (districts) comprising Bhutan. It is the most historic dzongkhag if the number of ancient temples and sacred sites is counted. Bumthang consists of the four mountain valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor ("Bumthang"), although occasionally the entire district is referred to as Bumthang valley. Bumthang directly translates as "beautiful field" – thang means field or flat place, and bum is said be an abbreviation of either bumpa (a vessel for holy water, thus describing the shape and nature of the valley), or simply bum ("girl," indicating this is the valley of beautiful girls). The name is said to have arisen after construction of Jambay Lhakhang.

Punakha

Blessed with a temperate climate and drained by Pho - chu (Male) and Mo - chu (Female) rivers the fertile valley of Punakha produces rich crops. Until 1955, Punakha served as the Capital of Bhutan and even today, it is the winter seat of the Je khenpo (chief Abbot) and the central Monk body. The Dzong was built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel. At present it serves as the winter residence for the central Monk body and administration center for the valley.

Haa

Haa District (Dzongkha: ???; Wylie: Haa; alternative spellings include "Ha") is one of the 20 dzongkhag or districts comprising Bhutan. Per the 2005 census, the population of Haa dzongkhag was 11,648, making it the second least populated dzongkhag in Bhutan after Gasa.[1] The dominant language of the district is Dzongkha, the national language. Haa's major feature is the Haa Valley, a steep north-south valley with a narrow floor. The name Haa (pronounced "hah"), as well as the more ancient name Has (Dzongkha: ???; Wylie: Has; pronounced "hay"),[2] connotes esoteric hiddenness. An alternative name for the district is "Hidden-Land Rice Valley."

Taktsang Monastery

It is literally known as "source of the lake " in Bhutia language. Just about 40 kms. away from Gangtok, the capital of the state, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required by Indians to visit this place. Foreign nationals are not permitted to visit this lake without special permission. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people.