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Nepal to Bhutan- Thimphu

over the Himalayas to Paro and Thimphu


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September 20th Bhutan

We left the hotel after breakfast with our travelling companion Salvador and the drive to the airport was a much busier affair than yesterday. Then, the gamut of checks: 1. passport and ticket- and that’s only to enter the building) 2. Baggage X-ray 3. Fill in exit visa paper 4. Queue to show exit paper plus proof of visa to Bhutan 5. Finally check in 6. Hand baggage check (and don’t forget to get it stamped and do use the gender only lanes) and 7. Hooray, you have now got to the departures hall.
Our DrukAir flight to Paro, Bhutan left on time and we had a great view over Kathmandu before heading over the mountains (right side out for best view) which were fairly free of cloud. The beautiful flight only lasted 50 minutes, before we were rapidly descending over the hills and valleys of Bhutan. As we flew along the valley to land we did great VERY close to the hill edges (see the tree photo!) Paro Airport has been described as "the most difficult commercial airport in the world". It has only one runway. Airplanes approach past 5,500m Himalayan mountain peaks, and the 1,980m runway length presents a double challenge, due to the extremely low density altitude at the site. As a result, only 7 airline pilots are certified to operate commercial airplanes here.
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Paro River Valley
Our guide Ram Singh collected us from the tiny airport and gave us a pale cream Khada (Khata) scarf welcome. A khata (Tibetan: ཁ་བཏགས་; Dzongkha: དར་, Nepali: खतक) is a traditional ceremonial scarf in tengrism (a Central Asian religion characterised by shamanism, animism, totemism, and ancestor worship by the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, and Huns) and Tibetan Buddhism (which has synthesized with the earlier tengric practises). It originated in Tibetan culture and is common in cultures and countries where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced or has strong influence. Khata symbolise purity and compassion and are worn or presented with incense at ceremonial occasions, including births, weddings, and the arrival/ departure of guests. It is usually made of silk. Tibetan khatas are usually white, symbolising the pure heart of the giver, though it is quite common to find yellow-gold khata as well. Tibetan, Nepali, and Bhutanese khatas feature the ashtamangala (8 auspicious signs in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism). Blue symbolises the sky. Khatas are also often tied to ovoos/obos (sacred stone piles), stupas, or special trees and rocks. We drove straight out of Paro en route to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, along a river valley.
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The 65km took about 11⁄2 hours as the roads are not busy at all. A couple of times we stopped to see an important building. Tamchog lhakhang (temple) is dedicated to 13th century lama Thangthong Gyalpo, the ‘bridge builder’. This temple is located across the river from Paro to Thimphu. To get to the temple one must cross an iron chain bridge, one of the few remaining of the many that Thangthong Gyalpo built. This is a private temple, but tourists are allowed to visit with permission. Crossing this very old bridge with its swaying movements can be quite an experience. The temple's location on the ridge and high rocky barren hills which serve as it's backdrop makes this a good location to take pictures. Chhuzom Bridge is a bright bridge over the river where it divides into two.

Overview of Bhutan’s History
Bhutan's early history is steeped in mythology and obscurity. Structures suggest the region was settled as early as 2000 BC. According to legend it was ruled by a Cooch-Behar king, Sangaldip, c7th century BC, but not much is known prior to the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism in the 9th c, when turmoil in Tibet forced many monks to flee to Bhutan. In the 12th c, the Drukpa Kagyupa school was established and remains the dominant form of Buddhism in Bhutan today. The country's political history is intimately tied to its religious history and relations among various monastic schools and monasteries. Bhutan is one of only a few countries to have been independent throughout their history, although it may have been under the Kamarupa Kingdom and Tibetan Empire 7th-9th c. From the time of historical records, Bhutan has successfully defended its sovereignty. The consolidation of Bhutan occurred in 1616 when Ngawanag Namgyal, a lama from western Tibet aka the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, defeated 3 Tibetan invasions, subjugated rival religious schools, codified the Tsa Yig, a comprehensive system of law, and established himself as ruler over a system of ecclesiastical and civil administrators. After his death, infighting and civil war eroded the power of the Zhabdrung for the next 200 years. In 1885 Ugyen Wangchuck consolidated power, and cultivated ties with the British. In 1907, Ugyen Wangchuck was elected hereditary ruler of Bhutan and installed as head of state, the Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King). In 1910, King Ugyen and the British signed the Treaty of Punakha which provided that British India would not interfere in the internal affairs of Bhutan if the country accepted advice in its external relations. When Ugyen Wangchuck died in 1926, his son Jigme Wangchuck became ruler, and when India gained independence in 1947, the Indian Government recognised Bhutan as an independent country. Succeeded in 1952 by his son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Bhutan emerged from its isolation and began a program of planned development. In 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended the throne. He introduced modern education, decentralisation of governance, the development of hydroelectricity, tourism and rural developments. Satisfied with Bhutan's transitioning democratisation, he abdicated in 2006 and his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, became King.
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The day was beautifully sunny and instead of booking into the hotel we drove up a hill just outside Thimphu to the famous Kuensel Phodrang/ Great Buddha Dordenma, a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 4th king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck http://www.buddhadordenma.org. It is located on a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley, in the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck 13th Desi Druk, overlooking the south approach to Thimphu. Construction began in 2006 and was mostly completed by 2015, with only the upper floor to finish. One of the largest Buddha stupas in the world, at 52m it was built mainly from donations by a very wealthy Bhutanese business person. The statue is made of bronze and gilded. Over 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue; 100,000 are 8” tall and 25,000 are 12” tall, all cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall. Inside is a 4 storey temple:
" ground level- 9 ft enthroned Buddha, 18 x 5 ft Arahats, 4 x 5 ft Kings, on walls 12 inch Buddhas, 34 + 33 Mandalas on ceiling, 72 golden dragon pillars
" 1st floor- 16 ft 4-faced Buddha surrounded by 8 x 16 ft Bodhisattvas, on walls 12 inch Buddhas, 28 Mandalas on ceiling, 30 golden dragon pillars
" 2nd storey 8 x 5ft seated Buddhas around central pillar, on walls 12 inch Buddhas, 34 Mandalas on ceiling, 22 golden dragon pillars
" 3rd storey 5 chambers with 8 in Buddha statues (between exterior Buddha’s knees)
" 4th storey 12 paintings of Buddha’s life
" The rest of the statue is filled with small Buddhas
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The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating to the 8th c AD by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.
The hill is quite high at 2760m and having been at a much lower altitude in Nepal we noticed it quite quickly. Luckily ibuprofen was sufficient to deal the altitude. As we drove back down we remarked on how many prayer flags were strung across the road, but more on that later.
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Amusingly at the bottom was another of Bhutan’s exhortatory signs, admonishing people to give up tobacco because it inevitably leads to hard drug addiction and death! Interestingly, the sale and production of tobacco is illegal in Bhutan, and smoking in any public area is banned. Their signs along roads are often amusing, such as ‘If you are married, divorce speed’, or ‘Be a Mr Late, not a late Mr’, with lots of rhyme “If drink whiskey, driving is risky”. Interesting, all the road signs and most of the shops are English. This is because Bhutan has over 54 languages, not always mutually understandable, so they decided to teach everyone English from 4 years up and have it as one of the two official languages (Dzhongka).
From here we drove into Thimphu town.

The city is home to approx 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centres. However, it still retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernisation. The culture of Bhutan is reflected in Thimphu in religion, customs, national dress, monastic practices, music, dance, literature and media. Tshechu is an important festival where mask dances, popularly known as Chams, are performed in the courtyards of the Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu. One of the more curious features of Thimphu is that it is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Instead, major intersections have policemen standing in elaborately decorated booths directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions. The capital Thimphu was home to Bhutan’s sole traffic light; for just 24 hours. It was quickly removed to be replaced by a now famous policeman who directs traffic with flamboyant, white-gloved hand movements from the middle of what is one of the city’s busiest streets. Not that you’d know it! Thimphu spreads along the west bank of the valley formed by the Raid#k River (Wang Chuu/Thimphu Chuu; chhuu/chuu=’water’). Thimphu is the 3rd highest capital in world at 2,248-2,648m. Before 1960, Thimphu was a group of hamlets scattered across the valley. In 1885, a battle was held at what is now Changlimithang sports ground. Victory opened the way for Ugyen Wangchuck, 1st King of Bhutan, to control the whole country. Under the Wangchu Dynasty, the country has enjoyed peace and progress. The 3rd king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, reformed the old pseudo-feudal system, abolished serfdom, redistributed land, reformed taxation, introduced executive, legislative and judiciary reform and in 1952 moved the capital from Punakha to Thimphu. The 4th king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, opened country for development and India provided financial and other forms of assistance. In 1961, Thimphu officially became the capital of Bhutan.
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Straight across the road, we went down a lane, then back to a wide entrance to Memorial Stupa, aka Thimphu Chorten, stupa (Dzongkha
chöten, cheten), built in 1974 to honour 3rd Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–72), is a prominent landmark with gold spires and bells. There was the main chorten, which our guide encouraged us to walk around 3 times clockwise (to follow the path of the sun; the practise comes from pre-Buddhist Bon religion), with its impressive white crown. On the left was a separate building housing some large prayer wheels. Apparently families would drop their grandparents off in the morning to spend the day spinning the wheels, and collected them at the end of the day. Thimphu Chorten is located on Doeboom Lam in the southern-central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian military hospital. Bells. It was consecrated by Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje. The stupa is unlike others as it does not enshrine human remains; only the Druk Gyalpo’s photo in a ceremonial dress adorns a hall in the ground floor. When he was alive, Jigme Dorji wanted to build "a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha". The Memorial Chorten of Thimphu was conceived by Thinley Norbu (1904–1987), according to the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The main patron was the Druk Gyalpo's mother, Phuntsho Choden. The Chorten is designed as a Tibetan style chorten, also called the Jangchup Chorten, patterned on the design of a classical stupa, with a pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. The distinctive feature here is the outward flaring of the rounded part to give the shape of a vase rather than a dome. The chorten depicts larger than life size images of wrathful deities with their female consorts in large numbers, and many in explicit Yab-Yum sexual poses. Yab-yum (Tibetan literally, "father-mother") is a common symbol in the Buddhist art of India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. It represents the primordial union of wisdom and compassion, depicted as a male deity in union with his female consort. The male figure represents compassion and skill, while the female partner represents insight. The chorten is a large white structure with a golden spire crowning it and a smaller golden spire above the front porch. It is approached through a small garden and a gate decorated with three slate carvings. On the exterior of the gate are representations of the three protective bodhisattvas; Avalokiteśvara (symbol of compassion), Mañjuśrī (symbol of knowledge) and Vajrapāñi (symbol of power).
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Bhutan History Part 1
Neolithic tools of the Indus Valley Civilisation in Bhutan indicate people living in the Himalayan region for at least 11,000 years. A state of Lhomon (lit southern darkness) or Monyul (dark land, a reference to the Monpa Tibeto-Burman people), possibly an early part of pre-Buddhist Tibet. Monyul is thought to have existed between AD 100- 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (southern Mon sandalwood country) and Lhomon Khashi (southern Mon country of four approaches), found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles, may have credence and have been used by some Bhutanese scholars when referring to their homeland. Variations of Sanskrit words Bhota-ant (end of Bhot) or Bhu-uttan (highlands) have been suggested as origins of the name Bhutan. The traditional name of the country since the 17th century has been Drukyul; country of the Drukpa (Dragon people), or Land of the Thunder Dragon, a reference to the country's dominant Buddhist sect. Some scholars believe that during the early historical period the inhabitants were mountain aborigines, the Monpa, who were neither the Tibetans nor Mongols that later overran northern Bhutan. The people of Monyul practiced a shamanistic religion. During the latter part of this period, historical legends relate that a mighty king of Monyul invaded a southern region known as Duars (Assam, West Bengal, Bihar).
Kãmarūpa (aka Pragjyotisha), was a power during the Classical period on the Indian subcontinent; c 350-1140 AD. Ruled by three dynasties from capitals in present-day Guwahati, North Guwahati and Tezpur, at its height Kamarupa covered the entire Brahmaputra Valley, Bengal, Bhutan and part of Bangladesh. Though the historical kingdom disappeared by the 12th century, replaced by smaller political entities, the notion of Kamarupa persisted and medieval chroniclers continued to call this region by this name. Pushyavarman (350–374) established the Varman Dynasty, but it was his son Samudravarman (374–398), who was accepted as an overlord by many local rulers. The Nagajari Khanikargaon 5th century rock inscription in Assam adduces the fact that the kingdom spread very quickly (to encompass Bangladesh and Bhutan). Kalyanavarman (422–446) and Mahendravarman (470–494) extended further east and north. Narayanavarma (494–518) and his son Bhutivarman (518–542) offered the ashwamedha (horse sacrifice). Thus, the small but powerful kingdom that Pushyavarman established grew over many generations of kings and expanded to include adjoining smaller kingdoms. Bhutivarman's grandson, Sthitavarman (566– 590), enjoyed victories over the Gauda of Karnasuvarna and performed two aswamedha ceremonies. His son, Susthitavarman (590–95) came under attack by Mahasenagupta of East Malwa. These back and forth invasions were a result of a system of alliances that pitted the Kamarupa kings (allied to the Maukharis) against the Gaur kings (allied with the East Malwa kings). Susthitavarman died in the Gaur invasion, and his two sons, Suprathisthitavarman and Bhaskarvarman fought against an elephant force and were captured and taken to Gaur. They were able to regain their kingdom due probably to a promise of allegiance. Suprathisthitavarman's reign (595–600) was very short, at the end of which he died without an heir. Supratisthitavarman was succeeded by his brother, Bhaskarvarman (600–650), the most illustrious of the Varman kings who succeeded in turning his kingdom and invading the very kingdom that had taken him captive. Bhaskarvarman had become strong enough to control the largest extent of his kingdom. After Bhaskaravarman's death without an heir, the kingdom passed into the hands of Salasthambha (655–670), a local governor from an aboriginal group called Mlechchha (or Mech), after a period of civil and political strife. The kingdom lost both land (including Bhutan) and power.

After enjoying the chorten, we drove 2 minutes to our hotel, the attractive Phuntsho Pelri (which means Place of Great Contentment) http://bhutanhotels.com.bt/phuntshopelri/phuntshopelri.htm Dondrup Lam, Thimphu. From the classic Bhutanese Architecture to the traditionally handcrafted furniture, the hotel rooms have a unique Bhutanese touch (although the giant cockroach was a bit of a nature too far). Our guide offered to take us on a walk through Thimphu, and we gladly accepted. We walked down to the main street, then down and down to Clock Tower Square (past a huge number of shoe shops!).
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Clock Tower Square has a tower with four clock faces is a famous landmark in Thimphu. There are many shops, hotels and restaurants surrounding the square, including the National Library, built in 1967 in the style of a Bhutanese traditional temple. It houses ancient Dzonghka and Tibetan texts and manuscripts. On the ground floor is the heaviest book in the world, a whopping 59 kg, the "Bhutan: a Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom”. Traditional historic manuscripts written in Tibetan style, on handmade paper bound between wooden flats and tied together are preserved here. The library houses an old printing press used for printing books and prayer flags. The library is circumambulated by devotees as it has holy books and images of people such as Zhabdrung, Namgyal, Pema Linga, Guru Rinpoche.
The clock tower square is located below Norzin Lam, and above the national football stadium in the heart of the capital. The Clock-tower has a typical Bhutanese architecture with rich Bhutanese carvings and paintings. There are traditional hand crafted gold dragons painting on all the four faces which symbolises the county as an independent dragon kingdom. The tower has beautiful paintings and carvings of flowers. The shops, restaurants and hotels in the clock tower square have a blend of fine traditional and modern architectural Bhutanese design with multi-coloured wood frontages, small arched windows, and sloping roofs. At the corner was the impressive National Post Office, in the north wing of the large building on Dremton Lam (Drentoen Lam). Bhutan's Philatelic Bureau sells Bhutan stamps and you can even be featured on a postage stamp in Bhutan, legally valid for sending letters! The buildings around the square are all small three storied structures. Water fountains and traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (prayer wheels) make the place an ideal location. The square serves as a platform for events and activities. And indeed there was an event! The main festival of Bhutan, Tsechu, was being celebrated that week, and a huge stage had been erected with various acts. We enjoyed it for some time before heading back to the hotel, WhatsApp-ing Mark on his birthday and then bed.

Buddhism Arrives in Bhutan
Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century. The Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo (627–49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and Kyichu (near Paro) in Paro Valley. Buddhism replaced but did not eliminate the Bon religious practices that had also been prevalent in Tibet until the late 6th century. Instead, Buddhism absorbed Bon and its believers. As the country developed in its many fertile valleys, Buddhism matured and became a unifying element. It was Buddhist literature and chronicles that began the recorded history of Bhutan. Buddhism was developed further in 746 under King Sindhu Rāja (Künjom/ Sendha Gyab/Chakhar Gyalpo), an exiled Indian king who established a government in Bumthang (central Bhutan) at Chakhar Gutho Palace. In 747, a Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava (known in Bhutan as Guru Rimpoche and sometimes referred to as the 2nd Buddha), came to Bhutan from India at the invitation of one of the numerous local kings (probably Sindhu Raja). After reportedly subduing 8 classes of demons and converting the king, Guru Rinpoche returned to Tibet. Howver he was thrown out of Tibet and on his return to Bhutan he oversaw the construction of new monasteries in the Paro Valley and set up his headquarters in Bumthang. According to tradition, he founded the Nyingmapa sect (aka "old sect" or Red Hat sect) of Mahayana Buddhism, which became for a time the dominant religion of Bhutan.
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Guru Rinpoche played a major historical and religious role as the national patron saint who revealed the tantras (manuals describing forms of devotion to natural energy) to Bhutan. Following the guru's sojourn, Indian influence played a temporary role until increasing Tibetan migrations brought new cultural and religious contributions. There was no central government during this period. Instead, small independent monarchies began to develop by the early 9th century, each ruled by a deb (king), some of whom claimed divine origins. The kingdom of Bumthang was the most prominent among these small entities. At the same time, Tibetan Buddhist monks (lam in Dzongkha, Bhutan's official national language) had firmly rooted their religion and culture in Bhutan, and members of joint Tibetan-Mongol military expeditions settled in fertile valleys. By the 11th century, all of Bhutan was occupied by Tibetan-Mongol military forces.

Flora of Bhutan
Trees-
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Pinus bhutanica (bhutan white pine) is a tree restricted to Bhutan and Tibet. Along with the related Pinus wallichiana it is a constituent of lower altitude blue pine forests. This pine reaches a height of 25 m. P. wallichiana is sometimes called 'Bhutan pine‘. Despite the two being closely related and growing together, no hybrids or intermediates have ever been reported. Abies densa (Bhutan fir), is a conifer species in the family Pinaceae found in Bhutan, China and Nepal. Also called the Himalayan alpine fir, A.densa is a dominant conifer in the upper coniferous belt of the central/ eastern Himalayas in altitudes 2800-3700 m. It reaches 30–40 (sometimes 60) m, with trunk diameters of 2.5m. Acer sterculiaceum (Franchet’s maple, Himalayan maple) is a species of maple in the soapberry family indigenous to Bhutan, India and Guizhou-Tibet. A.sterculiaceum grows at altitudes 1800–3100 m up to 20m tall with a dark grey bark. Ehretia dicksonii is a tree native to Asia with white or pale yellow flowers in open forests in Japan, China, Taiwan, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam. Malus rockii is a crabapple species in the family Rosaceae native to China and Bhutan. Picea likiangensis is a spruce found only in in Bhutan and China. Its population has been reduced by 30% in 75 years by logging and it is categorised as vulnerable. Tsuga dumosa (Himalayan hemlock), is a conifer native to the eastern Himalayas. Within its range the tree is used for construction and furniture. T.dumosa grows 20-25 m, to 40 m. Older trees tend to have multiple stems from one or two sinuous boles, especially in cultivation. The bark is pinkish to grey-brown and heavily ridged with broad, shallow, flaky fissures. The twigs are reddish brown or greyish yellow in their first year and are pubescent ie. covered in short hairs. Branches 2-3 years old are dark grey with leaf scars.
Flowering plants Meconopsis betonicifolia, aka Meconopsis baileyi and Himalayan blue poppy, was first documented in 1912. It is the national flower of Bhutan. The blue poppy, is one of the most exquisite and rare flowers in the country and found at elevations of around 3,000m to 4,000m above sea level. Blue poppy, with its scientific name Meconopsis spp, has 13 species and falls under the family of papaveraceae. Blue poppy also comes in pink, white and red colours and are found in the country.
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The white-coloured blue poppy (Meconopsis superba) is endemic and found in Haa, a quaint town in south western Bhutan. About eight species are found in blue, one species is red (Meconopsis napaulensis), and a few are white, yellow (Meconopsis paniculata) and purple. Blue poppy grows across the Himalaya and they survive in extreme conditions, such as freezing temperatures. And it’s amazing how this rare flower can grow in extreme conditions, and yet it is frail in nature. Blue poppy is said to flower once, after which it seeds and withers. It takes about two to three years for the seeds to grow into a plant.Blue Poppy is the national flower because it’s said that blue blood runs through it and it’s a rare flower. About 5,603 plant species have been identified in the country, including about 576 wild orchids and 46 rhododendron and over 300 medicinal plants.
Aerides odorata (pic 1) is an Orchid, widespread across Southeast Asia, from the lowland forests of China, Himalayas, Bhutan, India, Nepal, to Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest. It is threatened by habitat loss. Allium sikkimense (pic 2) is a plant species native to Sikkim, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal in meadows and on the edges of forests at elevations of 2400–5000 m. The species is cultivated as an ornamental because of its strikingly beautiful blue flowers. Andrewsianthus ferrugineus (pic 3) is a species of liverworts in the family Scapaniaceae found in Bhutan and Nepal. It grows on tree trunks in forests, but is threatened by deforestation. Vanda ampullacea (pic 4) is a species of orchid found in the Himalayas, Laos and Vietnam. Bambusa clavata is a species of Bambusa bamboo endemic to Bhutan. Buddleja paniculata (pic 5) is endemic to upland area India to Bhutan, growing along forest margins, in thickets, and on rocky slopes at elevations of 500 – 3000 m. Buddleja paniculata is a variable deciduous shrub up to 6 m high. The white or pale lilac flowers in some forms are pleasantly scented, others not.
Utricularia recta and Utricularia kumaonensis are small, annual carnivorous plants in the genus Utricularia native to Bhutan, China, Nepal. U. recta is a terrestrial plant in marshes/ bogs at altitudes 900-4,000m. U. kumanensis grows as a lithophyte, epiphyte, or terrestrial plant on mossy bogs or grasslands 2,250-4,200 m. Tricarpelema giganteum is a monocotyledonous plant in the dayflower family, native to Bhutan. Taxillus kaempferi is a parasitic plant in the genus Taxillus in China, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan. Its host is Pinus thunbergii. The flavonol avicularin can be produced from T. kaempferi. Other flavonoids constituents of the plant are hyperin, quercitrin, and taxillusin. Roscoea bhutanica is a perennial herbaceous plant native to the mountains of Bhutan and Tibet. Formerly regarded as part of Roscea tibetica, it was recognised as a separate species in 2000. Most members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), to which it belongs, are tropical, but R. bhutanica, like other species of Roscoea, grows in cold mountainous regions. Like all members of the genus Roscoea, it dies back each year to a short vertical rhizome. When growth restarts, "pseudostems" are produced: structures which resemble stems but are actually tightly wrapped bases (sheaths) of leaves. The unusual mountain distribution of Roscoea may have evolved recently as a response to the uplift taking place in the region in the last 50 million years due to the collision of the Indian and Asian tectonic plates. R. tibetica was formerly thought to be unique in occurring on both sides of the Brahmaputra River, but genetic analysis shows plants in Bhutan were distinct from those in China. The former were placed in a new species, R. bhutanica. R. bhutanica falls into the Himalayan clade and R. tibetica to the Chinese clade. Primula alpicola (moonlight primrose), is native to Bhutan/ southeast Tibet, where it grows in vast numbers along the Tsangpo valley alongside Primula florindae.
Lilium sherriffiae is a species of Lilium bamboo native to Bhutan and Nepal. Lilium sherriffiae is named after Mrs. Sherriff, the wife of a co-leader of the Ludlow-Sherriff expedition. She had accompanied them to Nepal and Bhutan, and had been injured due to a fall. Botanist William Stearn decided to name a newly discovered species after her. It is endemic to the mountainous regions of Nepal and Bhutan. Lilium sherriffiae is mountainous, recorded at altitudes 2,700 to 3,600 meters. Jasminum sambac is a species of jasmine native to a small region in the eastern Himalayas in Bhutan and neighbouring Bangladesh. It is cultivated and naturalised in across the world. It is widely cultivated for its attractive and sweetly fragrant flowers. Iris delavayi has grey-green leaves, long hollow stem, and 2 flowers in various blue shades. From dark violet, dark purple, purple-blue, dark blue to light purple. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions. Himalayacalamus hookerianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Poaceae found in Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Assam. Euphorbia cornigera (horned spurge), is a species of flowering plant in the family Euphorbiaceae, native to Bhutan. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial growing to 75 cm tall, with narrow green leaves with a pale green spine. Acid yellow flowerheads (cyathia) are borne in summer. The Latin epithet cornigera means “with horns”. All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested, and the sap may cause skin irritation. Cyathea andersonii is a species of tree fern native to India, Bhutan and southern China, in moist valleys and montane forest 300–1200 m.
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Semtokha dzong

Posted by PetersF 12:20 Archived in Bhutan Tagged buddha_point thimphu Comments (0)

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