Wangdi Travel Guide
Known as Sha or east to the Bhutanese, Wangdi is an district is an important gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan. It shares borders with the district of Trongsa and Bumthang in the east, Thimphu Punakha in the west, Gasa in the north and Dagana Sarpang and Tsirang in the south. This 4308sq Km region, the second largest after Gasa,is divided into 15 blocks which are multi Lingual and multi ethnic.
Wangduephodrang district is rich in monasteries and Buddhist shrines. Dolung Goemba, in Khotokha, was built by the 2nd Je Khenpo Sonam Yozer towards the end of the 17th century after he found a peculiar rock with a hole through it. The chief abbot took the rock to be an auspicious relic and built the monastery to commemorate the sacred object. Other relics in the monastery include the mask of the Raksha, or “the
Top Things to do in Wangdi
It has many popular attractions in Wangdi. Wangdi being the largest District in Bhutan places like Gangtye, Wangdi Dzong and Low altitude trekking are the most popular things to do in Wangdi.
More than 40 species of mammals inhabit the lush forests of Wangduephodrang including rare species like tiger, red panda and leopard. Wangduephodrang can also be a birder’s paradise with 391 species of birds frequenting the region, including rare and protected birds like the black-necked crane, the white-bellied heron and the spotted eagle.
Wangdi Weather and Climate
It stretches from 800m to about 5800m above sea level with a wide range of climates. The southern extremes of the region are subtropical while the northern part has cool summers and cold winters with the far north mostly under snow. Wangdi receives an average annual rainfall of 1000mm.
Places not to miss in Wangdi
Gangtey Monastery: The famed Gangtey monastery, also known as Gangtey Sanga Choeling Goemba, is located on a hill at approximately 2,800 meters above sea level. The location offers a stunning view of the Phobjikha valley, home to endangered black-necked cranes. The monastery was founded by Je Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1613. The current emanation of Terton Pema Lingpa, the Gangtey Trulku, is the Chief Abbot of the sanctuary.
Nyezer Lhakhang: Located on a ridge high above the Dangchu river, the Nyizergang Lhakhang was built by Terton Wugpa Lingpa in the 13th century. It was initially called Gedunchholing, and the main relic of the monastery is an object representing the Za (planetary deity) and a necklace with a bead of Za (rare knots of wood).
Rinchenling Shedra: The Rinchenling Shedra is a monastic school in Khotokha. It was built on a site originally occupied by a temple built by Longchen Rabjam in the 14th century as one of the monasteries of the Lingchen Gyed (the eight vast plains)
Boe Langdra: An important site of pilgrimage in the region is Boe Langdra, associated with the subjugation of a local deity by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century AD. The Nye, or sacred site, remained unknown until Terton Dorji Lingpa discovered it. The 14th Je Khenpo Tenzin Namgyel (1775-81) restored the ruins to its religious significance.
Kubum Lhakhang, in Phobjikha valley, is a Bon temple built by Zhabdrung Tshenden Dulwa in the 13th century. The name is derived from the 100,000 images of the Bon founder Tonpa Shenrab painted in gold on the walls of the Lhakhang. Radra Nekhang is the abode of a well-known local deity, the Radra. The deity is reputed to supernaturally aid people who solicit his help, be it in battle, business, or the more mundane aspects of acquiring wealth and fame. Chungney Goemba, in Phangyul, founded in 1655 by Thinley Pelbar, a disciple of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, is another sacred monastery in the district.
Dargay Goemba in Chungsegang was built on the spot where Drukpa Kuenley (the Divine Madman) met Ashi Genzo, a famed beauty of the region. It began as a Drubdey or meditation center used by Ngawang Drakpa, the son of Lam Ngawang Chogyal.
Wangduephodrang presents a rich ethnic and linguistic mosaic.
Most speak Ngalongpakha, the “language of the earliest risen”, but in a localized patois form. Other languages of the region include Monkha, Lakha, and Mangdekha.
A wide range of festivals is performed across the district. The most popular are the tshechu besides Nyilog (winter solstice), Lhabon, Bangko, and the recently introduced crane festival.
Wangdue is also known for archery games where local teams solicit the help of astrologers and local deities for victory. In Kashi and Nyisho, the unique tradition of playing archery wearing Patang (sword) continues to this day. The district is also acclaimed for its Lozey, an ornamental form of speech, which has been idealised in the “Ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi” and “Gaylong Sumdar Tashi”
The region is rich in natural resources with a diverse range of flora and fauna. About 65% of its area is covered by forest, a large part of which falls under the 1,300 km square Black Mountain National Park.
The economically significant Basochu Phase I and II hydropower projects generate 64 MW of power, while Punatsangchu Projects, I and II, under construction will boost the regional economy further. The region is one of the biggest producers of slate.
How to reach Wangdi?
Wangdi is 79Km from Thimphu and 140Km from Paro International airport. You can reach Wangdi by taxi or by hiring a car once you reach the airport. If you are coming via Phuntsholing through India then it takes about 6 hours and it is approximately 220Km.