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Thimphu History, Bhutan

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and is a less known place. The city was secluded from the world for a long time and hence not much is really known about its historical background. According to a few archaeological evidences the first human settlement in the area was around 2000 BC. However, the written chronicles date back to 2nd century AD only. The main religion followed over here is Buddhism and it was introduced in the 8th century by the Indian Buddhist monk Padmasambhav.

On his visit to Thimphu, Padmasambhav laid the foundation of many Buddhist monasteries. In the 15th or 16th century AD, the Buddhist scholar Padmalingpa arrived in Thimphu. He established Buddhism as a convention over here. Moreover the rise of the Drukpa sect piloted the formation of the theocracy of Druk-yul by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1616.  

The monarchs:  

Shabdrung holds a prominent position in the history of Thimphu. He was the force behind unifying the entire country and for constructing the most beautiful temple - fortresses also known as dzongs. He pioneered the dual system of spiritual and temporal leaders that was brought down by Sir Ugyen Wangchuck in the early 20th century. Shabdrung - the monk ruler was a Tibetian native and he ruled the country for 35 years. His successors ruled the country till 1907. The unique dual system of governance was called Chhoesid and its main feature was sharing of power and authority by the Dev raja (head of secular affairs) and the Dharma Raja or the spiritual head also known as Je Khempo. However, with the advent of time, the Dharma raja pulled back from the main ruling and withdrew to religious affairs only.   Shabdrung

Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was the first hereditary king of the modern country. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, father of the present king, brought about the golden times of Bhutan, when he steered the nation’s development towards modernity.

  Jigme Dorji Wangchuck

The present monarchy is led by the king Jingme Singye Wangchuck. He became the 4th monarch and his reign saw the entry of foreign media in the country.   

Popular historical constructions

The history of Thimphu is marked with several popular architectural constructions. The Tashichho Dzong was built in 1661. It was rebuilt in 1961-62 and now houses the main government offices, the National Assembly, the throne room for king and the summer headquarters of the Central Monastic Body. Another dzong, the Simtokha Dzong was built in 1627. This is the oldest dzong in Thimphu and is a gateway to the Thimphu valley.  

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