Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) is located in the Northwestern part of Bhutan. Measuring approximately 4,316 km2 (or 431,600 ha), the second-largest natural preserve in the country and one of the richest in terms of cultural and biological diversity among the protected areas. It is one of the oldest national parks in the country. It was established in 1974 as a wildlife sanctuary in memory of the late Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. It was then covering the entire Northern strip of the country. Later in 1993, after the major revision of the protected area system in the country, it was upgraded to a national park and the boundary of the park was greatly reduced and was confined to the only northwestern part of Bhutan.
JDNP is one of Bhutan’s conservation jewels. It is home to many globally endangered species of flora and fauna, such as Tiger, Snow leopard, Asiatic wild dog Himalayan musk deer, etc. A distinct culture of Layap, a semi-nomadic community is also preserved in the park. It is a conservation heritage of culture and nature in harmony.
Highlight of the Park
One of the unique characteristics of the park is that you can find the national animal (takin), the national flower (blue poppy), the national bird (raven), and the national tree (cypress) in the park. This variety of natural features is a highlight for many.
Mountains you come across from Jigme Dorji National Park
Mount Jomolharai is affectionately known as the “Bride of Kangchenjunga.” It reaches a summit of 24,035 feet (7,326 m) and represents the park’s highest point. It is also a sacred mountain to the Tibetan Buddhists, ascribing it as one of the Five Tsheringma Sisters’ homes.
Mount Jitchu Drake
Mount Jitchu Drake is another sacred mountain for Tibetan Buddhists. It features two separate peaks, with the highest summit reaching a height of 21,857 feet (6,662 m). Along with Mount Jomolhari, it is considered home to the local gods.
Lingshi Dzong and Gasa Dzong
Lingshi Dzong and Gasa Dzong are both historical fortresses located within the boundaries of the park. Lingshi Dzong is a Drukpa Kagyu monastery located at (4,150 m) that currently houses around 30 monks.
Gasa Dzong is also known as Gasa Tashi Tongmon Dzong. It serves as the administrative center for the Gasa Dzongkhag district. It was originally built to thwart invasions from the north.