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Wangdi Phodrang / Gangtey

Gangtey Gompa is a place with a very small population in the state / region of Wangdi Phodrang in Bhutan. Wangdi Phodrang is situated at an altitude of 1350 meter / 4430 feet. It is bordered by Dagana and Tsirang Dzongkhags to the south, Trongsa dzongkhag to the east, Thimphu and Punakha dzongkhag to the west and Gasa dzongkhag and a small section of border with Tibet to the north. Wangdiphodrang is quite important and a centrally located district. The district includes fifteen Gewogs namely Athang, Bjena, Daga, Dangchu,Gangte, Gase Tsho-gongma , Gase Tsho-wogma, Kazhi, Nahi, Nyisho, Phangyuel, Phobji, Ruepisa, Sephu and Thedtsho. It is spread over an area of nearly 4038 square kilometers with an elevation ranging from 800 meters / 2625 feet to 5800 meters / 19030 feet. Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s and also the biggest in Bhutan. It is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery.

The town Wangdi Phodrang is beautiful and scenic; it shares its name with the Dzong. This Dzong was built in 1638 and dominates the district. Three paved roads in Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag are the main roads for communications. The Lateral Road enters from the west at Dochu La Pass and continues east to Trongsa. One spur road heads north from Wangdue Phodrang to the Dzong at Punakha and bit further which becomes the foot path to Gasa. A second spur leaves the Lateral Road near the Pele La pass halfway between Wangdue and Trongsa. It travels south to Gangteng Gompa and the Phobjika valley. Phobjika Valley is home to the rare Black necked Cranes during winter season. The best months are April and early May when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.

Situated at an altitude of 3000 meters / 9840 feet is worth visiting place of tourist interest is Gangtey Gompha / Phobjikha.  East of Wangdiphodrang, Gangtey Gompa provides one of the most beautiful attractions of the region. Dates back to the 17th century the temple was built by the second Gangteng Truilku Tenzin Legpi Dhoendrup. A few kilometers past the Gangtey Gompha is the village of Phobjikha, a place of tourist interest. It is also the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the north.Gangtey valley is a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space and extremely rare experience. There is a tale regarding the valley – It goes as two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Black water) and Gay Chhu (White water).  As per story the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, the valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.

Gangtey / Gogona Trek - This trek is to the beautiful Phobjikha valley situated at an elevation of nearly 3000 meters, one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan, which lies in the mountains east of Wangduephodrang. This trek visits the villages of Gogona and Khotokha. It is one of the finest low level treks and the times for this trek are March to May, and September to November. Paro / Phuentsholling - Thimpu – Gangtey - Gangtey Gompa - Gogona - Gogona - Khotokha - Khotokha – Chazam / Wangduephodrang – Thimphu – Paro  / Phuentsholling is one of the trek of Wangdi Phodrang / Gangtey. The Jigme Dorji National Park extends into the northern part while a major portion of the dzongkhag falls under Black Mountain National Park.

 

Phuentsholling, Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Gangtey Gompa, Phobjikha, Trongsa, Bumthang, Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, etc are some of the other places of interest in Bhutan. Bhutan packages have generally Paro and Thimpu a must and the other places as per the choices of guest. Two night stay at Phuentsholling while entering and leaving is necessary for permit and while leaving as rest day.

Places of Interest

 

Communication / Connectivity 

Airways – Nearest Airport is Paro. Bagdogra airport (IXB) is 192 Kilometer from Phuentsholling. Bhutan’s national air carrier, Druk Air, operates several flights per week from Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, etc to Paro. One of the spectacular flights flies passengers through the stretch between Kathmandu and Bhutan. The flight passes along the Himalayan Range and all the peaks seems so close to eyes, it’s a flight to cherish. Recent addition is the flight from Paro to Bangkok via Bagdogra airport.

Roadways – From Thimpu it is adrive for about 5 hours to Gangtey.  The route crosses Dochu - La pass situated at an altitude of 3088 meters and drive by Wangduephodrang Dzong to Gangtey.  Phuentsholling is six / seven hour's drive from Bagdogra / New Jalpaiguri and eight to nine hour’s drive from Gangtok or Darjeeling. The Royal Bhutanese Government runs a bus service to Phuentsholing from Kolkata. These buses depart from Kolkata Esplanade bus station and reaches Phuentsholing via Siliguri. Phuentsholling is the only entry / exit point via road. The other is only entry point is in Assam.

Railways – There are no railway in Bhutan. Government of India is planning to set up a railway network as per a recent understanding between the two countries. New Jalpaiguri is the major Railway Station (NJP) is the nearest major railway terminal. Yet one can travel close up to the Bhutan border by Indian Railway to Hashimara. Nearest major railway station is Alipurduar but Birpara is close by a few kilometers in the Northern Frontier Railway.

Tags: Wangdi Phodrang sightseeing, Gangtey sightseeing,Wangdi Phodrang and Gangtey Tour,Wangdi Phodrang and Gangtey Package tour

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