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Bhutan +975-7765-5137 | Thailand +66-8-9494-2064

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Gasa

The District of Gasa

Gasa, the northernmost district of the country adjoins the districts of Punakha, Thimphu and Wangdue Phodrang and with Tibet to its north. This starkly beautiful region with elevations ranging from 1500 to 4,500 m experiences extremely long and cold winters and short but beautiful summers.

It has the smallest population with just about 3000 inhabitants. This region is inhabited by the Layaps; nomadic herders with a unique culture. Their main source of revenue comes from trading products made from their yaks, such as yak hair textiles, cheese, butter and yak meat. They also harvest and sell Cordyceps, (a fungus of extremely high value that is frequently used in oriental medicine). The majority of the known herds of wild Takin also occur in Gasa.

Gasa has become a tourist destination because of its pristine forests and the exceptionally scenic location of its Dzong. A narrow road from Punakha, which is mostly unpaved, reaches up to the Dzong and is now being extended up to Laya. Gasa Dzong was built by Zhabdrung in 1646 to commemorate the victories over the Tibetans and it later defended the country against several invasions in the 17th and 18th century.

Gasa is famously known for its inhabitants, the Layaps, and for the Snowman Trek – one of the most challenging treks in the Himalayas. The newly established festival called the Royal Highlander Festival is becoming more popular each year. Attending this festival allows you to see the real feature of this remote Dzongkhag and should not be missed by travellers. Gasa is also famous for its healing hot springs, located around 2hrs walk at the bottom of the ridge. The hot spring is popular amongst Bhutanese all over the country during the winter.

Packaged Tours To Gasa

Things to do in Gasa

Places of interests in and around Gasa, Bhutan
Gasa Tashi Thongmen Dzong
Gasa Tashi Thongmen Dzong, Bhutan
The 17th century Gasa Tashi Thongmen Dzong at an elevation of 2,850 meters (9,350 ft).

Located at an elevation of 2,850 meters (9,350 ft), Tashi Thongmen Dzong served as the defending barrack in the 17th century. It was named after the region’s protecting deity Tashi Thongmon. The fortress is unique with a circular shape and three watch towers that are placed at strategic points. The beauty of the dzong is heightened during clear days with a view of Mt. Gangboom. Time your trip there during the annual autumn festival.A popular occupation back in the day was blacksmithing, and locals say that a talented iron worker, who went by the name Terkhungpa, resided in this town. The area is named “Garsa”, or Land of the Black Smiths.

The Utse or the central tower is built above the point where Terkhungpa the blacksmith meditated. A temple is situated next to the cave, and has several artifacts, including images of Buddha from the three era’s; the past, present, and future.

There is the Chag Dzoed Lhakhang which was used as a residence for Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It has an altar, and the skeleton of the sheep that traveled with Zhabdrung from Tibet in 1616. Below the cave is the Zimchung Sarp, which is used for the District Court, and to the right of the cave is the Dzongkhag administration.

The Utse is three storeys: the first floor is the Lama Lhakhang. The three Ta Dzongs (watch towers) were destroyed by fire and renovated twice. It was said that the garrison would keep watch from those towers.