Mongar Travel Guide

Mongar Travel Guide: Mongar district, previously known as Zhongar, is one of the six districts that make up eastern Bhutan. It borders Bumthang, Lhuentse, Pemagatshel and Trashigang districts, covering an area of about 1,954 sq. kilometers with elevations ranging from 400 to 4,000 meters above the sea level. The district numbers 500 households, 16 blocks, and a population of 37,069.The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs and gorges and dense conifer forests.The region is notably famous for its weavers and special textiles and fabrics, generally considered to be among the best in the country. While a large section of Mongar’s people are traditional Buddhists, Bon practices also feature prominently in the religious life of the region. For instance, Kharphud, a Bon ritual to appease local deities and spirits, is an annual feature for some of the region’s people. An interesting aspect of this practice is the use of sexually provocative language purportedly aimed at dispelling shame and false modesty for the duration of the ceremonies.Four ethnic groups inhabit the valleys of Mongar: Tshanglas who form the bulk of the population, Kurtoeps who have moved to the district through marriage or migration, the Chhalips who inhabit a small part of Mongar, and the Gongdueps. The dialects spoken by the people of Chali and Gongdue are very unlike those spoken anywhere else, and their languages are under threat of vanishing as their people learn and assimilate the national language Dzongkha as well as the other more widely spoken languages such as Tshang La Kha and Lhotsham Kha. Woodworking is an important skill in Mongar and the gewog of Kengkhar, in particular, is well known for the production of wooden items such as ara containers or Jandhom, wooden bowls and cups or Daapas, masks, and wood-based musical instruments such as Jalings and Dungs. Other high value crafts from the region include hand-carved silver musical instruments used in religious rituals such as Jalings and Dungs.Popular games in the district include archery, degor (similar to the sport of horseshoe throwing in the west), Keshey (Bhutanese wrestling) soksum throwing (sharpened wood spears) and Khuru (darts).

How to Get There?

Mongar is accessible by road and air. The nearest airport is in Paro, and from there, you can take a domestic flight to Bathpalathang Airport, which is located about 10 km away from Mongar. Alternatively, you can take a bus or hire a car to reach Mongar from Thimphu or other major cities in Bhutan.

Places to Visit in Mongar

  • Mongar Dzong: This impressive fortress is one of the newest and most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan. It was built in the 1930s and is perched on a hill overlooking the town.
  • Drametse Monastery: This is one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan and is famous for its masked dances and traditional music.
  • Zhongar Dzong: This is an ancient fortress that dates back to the 17th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding valley.
  • Aja Ney Nature Trail: This is a beautiful nature trail that takes you through forests, streams, and waterfalls, and offers amazing views of the Himalayas.

When to Visit?

The best time to visit Mongar is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild and dry, and the skies are clear. During these months, you can enjoy scenic beauty and participate in various cultural events and festivals.

Where to Stay in Mongar?

Mongar has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Some popular options include:

What to eat?

Bhutanese cuisine is unique and delicious, and Mongar has a range of local and international restaurants to cater to different tastes. Some must-try dishes include Ema Datshi (chili and cheese stew), Phaksha Paa (pork and chili stew), and Jasha Maroo (spicy chicken curry).

Mongar is a beautiful and peaceful town that is perfect for a relaxing getaway. With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, it is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

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