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The District of Trashigang

Trashigang, “The Jewel of the East”, spans the easternmost corners of the kingdom, skirting up to the edge of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the country’s largest district, with an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000 m.

Bhutan’s largest river, Dangme Chhu, flows through this district. Trashigang town is set on a scenic hillside and was once a bustling trade centre for merchants looking to barter their goods in Tibet. Today, it is the junction of the East-West highway with road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian state of Assam. Trashigang town is also the principle market place for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng, whose unique way of dressing stands out from the ordinary Bhutanese Gho and Kira.

Trashigang is home to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, one of ten protected areas of Bhutan, was created in part to protect the migoi, a type of yeti, in whose existence most Bhutanese believe. The sanctuary covers the eastern third of the district (the gewogs of Merak and Sakteng), and is connected via biological corridor to Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary in Samdrup Jongkhar District to the south.

Trashigang contains one of the most reputed colleges in the country, the Sherubtse College. Sherubtse College was the first accredited college in Bhutan, founded in 1966 by a group of Jesuits under the leadership of William Mackey. As of 2003 it became part of the newly created Royal University of Bhutan system that comprises all public post-secondary schools in Bhutan. The college is located below the Yonphula domestic airport.

Packaged Tours To Trashigang

Things to do in Trashigang

Places of interests in and around Trashigang, Eastern Bhutan
Trashigang Dzong, eastern Bhutan built in 1659
Trashigang Dzong built in 1659.
Trashigang Dzong (The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill)

Trashigang Dzong or ‘The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill’ was built in 1659 to defend against Tibetan invasions. This imposing fortress is strategically situated high atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu River.
According to legend, it is said that upon seeing the Dzong, invading Tibetan armies remarked that the Dzong was “not on the ground. It is a Sky Dzong” before retreating. It has been the political stronghold of Eastern Bhutan for over 300 years.

Mount Meru is the site of the palace of the Druk Chhoglay Namgyal, which translates to “Victory of Bhutanese over enemies in all directions”. It is accessible only from the north, via a narrow road, paved by blasting through the cliff-side. Due to its location , Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan. The present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola in 1936.

Mask Dancers during one of the annual Tshechu festivals.
Mask Dancers during one of the annual Tshechu festivals.
Trashigang Tshechu (Annual Festival)

The three day annual Trashigang Tshechu is held in Trashigang Dzong during the 7th to 11th days of the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar (December).

The Tshechu is attended by the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic people that reside in the valleys of Merak and Sakteng, the Khengpa community and people from as far as Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel and Trashi Yangtse.

The Village of Radhi

Radhi village is famous for two things, its rice fields and the skill of its weavers. It is often known as the ‘Rice Bowl of the East’ because of its verdant rice fields that supply most of the grain to eastern parts of the country.

The village has around 200 households, all of which the people make living from fine raw silk or bura textiles during the off-agricultural seasons. All textiles produced in Radhi are made using the traditional back-strap loom and traditional dyes. As a result, Radhi village produces some of the most authentic high quality raw silk textiles to be found anywhere in Bhutan.

The village of Sakteng, in Eastern Bhutan.
The village of Sakteng at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,185 ft) in Eastern Bhutan.
The Village of Merak and Sakteng

The community of Merak and its neighbouring village of Sakteng which is a day’s walk away from Merak are popularly known as Brokpas and they live a semi-nomadic lifestyle herding yaks and sheeps. So their primary economy is based on livestock. With development taking place, the lives of Brokpas have improved and their lifestyles evolving. One prominent changes brought by modernisation to their lifestyle is the way they conduct their trading. In the olden days, they travelled from village to village even across the border to Arunachal Pradesh carrying dairy products like meat, cheese, butter, wool, leather etc. and barter it for essential food grains, oil, sugar, salt, chilies etc.

With road infrastructure right up to their villages and easy access to market at Rangjung and Trashigang, the barter system is almost nonexistent. They sell their dairy and animal products for cash. However, their tradition and culture, mainly involving affairs within the village, passed down from generation to generation still play an important part in the social life of the Brokpa communities of Merak and Sakteng.

Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery in Trashigang, eastern Bhutan.
Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery in Trashigang, eastern Bhutan.
Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery

Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery is located in Eastern Bhutan under Trashigang district at Rangjung. The monastery was founded by His Eminence Dungsey Garab Dorji Rinpoche in the year 1989 with few monks and nuns. The objective of monastery is to provide a conducive haven for the study of Buddha dharma as expounded in the Dudjom New Treasure Lineage and carry out dharma activities for the benefit of the Buddhist community in and abroad the country. It has a flourishing community with branches monasteries and retreat centers.