Bhutan National Library The National Library of Bhutan was first established in 1967 under the patronage of HM Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden. The objective was to preserve and promote the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. Originally the library was located in central tower of Tashichodzong but is now shifted near the Folk Heritage Museum.
The library complex has a four-storeyed white stone 'Main Building' designed in a traditional Bhutanese temple style. On its left is a three-storeyed Administration building, while on the right is a two storeyed building,the National Archives, equipped with security and fire alarm system along with temperature and humidity control.
On the ground floor of the main building, you can find books on Buddhism. The books are written in Choekey (the classical written language of Bhutan), Dzongkha (A lingua franca) as well as Sanskrit. It also houses three different editions of the ancient Buddhist Canon. You can pick any book from the shelves to read in the library. In the right corner of this library is a showcase enclosing a copy of the world's largest published book "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom", with breathtaking photographs of Bhutan taken by Michael Hawley and his team. The book is about 5 by 7 feet and weighs over 60 kgs.
On the same floor, there is an altar on which eight stupas are made. The small stupas represent Mind of Buddha. There are some amazing mural paintings of the Kagyu Masters.
On the upper floors, books on traditional arts and sciences, medicine, astrology, poems, Buddhist philosophies etc are kept.
Inside National Archives, manuscripts (some written in gold ink) and ancient woodblocks, rare photographs and important records are kept under security. The place is not open for regular visitors.
Bhutan Folk Heritage
Bhutan Folk Heritage Museum
A three storied, 19th century traditional house was converted into a museum in the year 2001. You can visit the place between 10:00 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays, 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and 11:30 am to 3:30 pm on Sundays. It is closed on Government holidays. The entry ticket costs Nu 30 / Rs 30.
The place is surrounded by the native trees, a traditional water mill, traditional hot stone bath setup, 150 year old mill stones, animal shelter etc. The house is made from wood (no nails are used) and you can get a glimpse of old rural lifestyle of Bhutanese people. The open kitchen corner with huge brass and copper vessels, the ancient butter churners, pots, pans, and a shaft like to dry the meat and vegetables, a balcony, a prayer corner, traditional mattresses, clothes, hand made boots, drums and other musical instruments used for praying as well as for entertainment, dry seeds of medicinal plants, bows and arrows, and many other typical as well as unusual household objects.
If you are a group of 5 people or more, you can opt for the open air buffet lunch/ dinner and enjoy the traditional Bhutanese meal (veg and nonveg) in the premises.
Thimphu Institute for Zorig Chusum The National Institute of Zorig Chusum was set up in 1971 to provide vocational training to young people, in the 13 traditional arts and craft (Zo= to make, rig= science, Chusum= 13). Students come here to learn arts and crafts like calligraphy, painting, sculpture, stone carving, weaving, embroidery, cane crafting, paper making and masonry etc . You can walk around when the classes are in progress, but with caution so as to not disturb the students engrossed in learning skills.
Bhutan Handicraft Shopping Center
We took a lunch break and while some headed back towards Folk heritage museum to relish traditional Bhutanese meal, we moved ahead and went to Hotel Shantideva to have our fill. A good place to enjoy Indian meal, we had Malai kofte with roti and egg biryani.
Lunch at Hotel Shantideva for tasty Indian Veg Food.
After lunch, it was time for some more sight seeing!
Textile Museum, Thimphu You get to see the evolution of textile industry across centuries in Bhutan. There are also classification of garments based on location of Bhutan. There are also Royal Ghos and Kiras with Royal Jewelry kept here for demonstration. Meanwhile we handed xerox copies of our passports to our guide, who then got the route permits for all of us, for our Punakha tour.
Bhutan General Post Office, Thimphu: You can get your personal photo (from camera, USB or mobile phone) printed on the postal stamps, here, only for Nu 200 / Rs. 200 and use these stamps for the postcards or letters to send it to your friend or extended family.
That was our last spot to visit in Thimpu. After returning to Hotel Galingkha, we had the dinner ( Dal, rice, mixed veg subzi, chicken curry, roti) and packed our bags. We were supposed to check out from Thimpu hotel, next morning and start our journey for Punakha.
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