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Tourist Places To Visit In Phuntsholing
Though Phuntsholing is called the trade and commercial hub of Bhutan, the town does have its exclusive locales that would interest tourists. You have the option of visiting Phuntsholing for sightseeing or you can take the window of opportunity by visiting these interesting spots while waiting for Bhutan’s entry and travel permits at the Immigrations Office in Phuntsholing. You can hike to some of these places or hire a cab and visit them all. Apart from the Monasteries, Phuntsholing has tidy, aesthetic parks that speak volumes about the charm that Bhutan is. Read on for more interesting tourist places to visit in Phuntsholing.
If you are travelling to Bhutan by road, you can’t miss this place. An aesthetic entry into the Himalayan Kingdom! The Bhutan Gate is the entry and exit point into Bhutan. The Indian side of the gate faces the Jaigaon portion of West Bengal in India, while the Bhutan side faces Phuntsholing. The architecture on the walls of the gate is etched in exquisite Bhutanese paintings of Dragons. The gates are manned by Shashastra Seema Bal paramilitary forces and the Bhutan Police. The Traffic in and out of the gate is maintained methodically and honking of vehicles is barred.
About a km away from the Bhutan Gate lies the Karbandi Monastery, built in 1967 on the instructions of the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choedron. The Monastery, also known as Rinchending Goemba, sits on an elevation about 400 m above the level of the Bhutan Gate. In the main hall of the Monastery are the stately statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Padmasambhava. According to legends, an Indian couple visited the monastery praying for offspring and their wish did come true. The Monastery sees a regular flow of couples who wish to conceive.
Outside the Karbandi Monastery is a beautiful garden with 8 different types of Tibetan Chortens. The garden provides an awe inspiring view of the Bengal Plains and valleys around Phuntsholing. The temple is open to visitors from 7am-6pm.
This is a small temple that was built in the 1990s by Dahso Aku Tongmi, a musician who composed the National Anthem of Bhutan. Built to symbolise the Heaven envisioned by Guru Rinpoche, the ground floor of the Lhakhang has the teaching of The Buddha as paintings and murals on the walls. The next floor has the statues of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshwara and Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. On the topmost floor is the huge statue of Amitabha, also known as the Buddha of Infinite Light.
The Lhakhang is open from 7 am - 6 pm.
The Park sits right in the heart of the town of Phuntsholing with the Zangtopelri Lhakhang close by. The Park is just a few hundred meters from the Border and you easily hike up to it. The Park looks very spic and span, incredibly peaceful and serene. You find a few people walking along, as the park seems to be the social hub of Phuntsholing. There are benches where you can sit and relax, listening to the monks chanting their prayers as they spin the huge prayer wheels and watch the luxuriant gush of the park’s large ball fountain. The Park seems to personify the peace and tranquillity that you can look forward to on your voyage into Bhutan.
The park is open from 8 am - 6 pm.
Palden Tashi Chholing Shedra
This is a Buddhist monastic school in the west of Phuntsholing. ‘Shedra,’ which is a Tibetan word for place of teaching, offers monastic and philosophic education to about 60 nuns and monks who are in their teens and twenties. Sitting with the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan foothills, the school which was sanctified in 2014 has some exceptional murals in the Tsuglhakhang or central assembly hall. The murals and the serene ambience that the Shedra sits in, are worth a visit.
Amu Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre
About 10 minutes away from the Phuntsholing town centre is the Amu Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre, also known as Norgay Crocodile Breeding Farm. The Zoo is maintained by the WWF Bhutan and Nature Conservation Division for breeding Gharials and Mugger Crocodiles, which are considered critically endangered species. The Gharials are hatched, sheltered and then released into Bhutan’s protected rivers. You might find Gharials in their enclosures along with hatchlings and watch them being fed. Children might enjoy a trip to the Amu Chhu Crocodile Breeding Centre.
Visiting hours are from 9.30 am - 6 pm.
If you drive along the Phuntsholing Hospital road for about 20 minutes, you will find a hillock called Peeple Dhangra. If you climb up the hillock which is almost at the same elevation as the Karbandi Monastery, you will get a panoramic view of the countryside around, the mountain peaks, the Bengal plains of India and the curving flow of the cross country Torsa River that originates from Tibet, enters Bhutan from the West, flows through the North where it’s called Amu Chuu and enters the South, flowing through Phuntsholing before it surges into West Bengal in India.
Phuntsholing Park is an absolutely beautiful place to be in. There is a food stall where you can get a variety of Bhutanese and Indian bites, there are tall and stately eucalyptus and sal trees that add bloom to the place and if at all you need a break, there are round gazebos where you can rest.
There is a basketball court often frequented by the Bhutanese and also Indian players from across the border. There is outdoor gym equipment which would keep fitness freaks fit and fine, for all that trekking and hiking trips across the length and breadth of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The Park is the oldest in Phuntsholing, all the more worthy of a visit to sit under the shady tall trees and imbibe the fresh mountain air. It is a little away from the RICBL buildings, on the Phuntsholing to Thimphu road.