National Library in Thimphu

The National Library of Bhutan (NLB) (Dzongkha: Druk Gyelyong Pedzö འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དཔེ་མཛོད།), Thimphu, Bhutan was established in 1967 for the purpose of “preservation and promotion of the rich cultural and religious heritage” of Bhutan. It is located in the Kawajangtsa area of Thimphu, above the Royal Thimphu Golf Course, near the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (Traditional Arts and Crafts).

History of National Library in Thimphu

The National Library of Bhutan was first established in 1967 under the patronage of HM Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden (1911–2003), with a small collection of precious texts. The library was initially housed within the central tower (utse) of Tashichodzong. Later, due to its growing collection, it had to move to a building in the Changgangkha area of Thimphu.

To provide a permanent home for the sacred religious books and manuscripts in the growing collection, construction of the present four-storeyed eight-cornered traditional building, which looks like the central tower temple of a Bhutanese Dzong, in the Kawajangtsa area of Thimphu was initiated. The construction cost of this building was borne entirely by the Royal Government of Bhutan without any foreign aid.

This building, which houses the collection of traditional texts, was inaugurated and consecrated as a temple by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche on November 23, 1984, in order to provide a sacred space for the religious books which form the bulk of the collection. The library moved into its permanent home at the end of 1984 under the auspices of the then Special Commission for Cultural Affairs.

Visitor Information

Tourists can visit the library during office hours from (AM to 5 PM on weekdays. The library remains closed during weekends. Tourists need to pay Nu.100 for entrance into the library.

Highlight of Collection

  • Longchenpa’s Seven Treasuries – (Longchen Dzo Dun) – The complete set of printing blocks for the edition of the Seven Treasuries originally commissioned by Dodrup Chen Rinpoche in Gangtok (c. 1968) are now held at the National Library of Bhutan and re-printed from time to time on Bhutanese paper.
  • Collected Works of Padma Karpo (Kunkhyen Ka-bum) – A complete set of xylographic printing blocks of the complete works of Kunkhyen Padma Karpo are held at the National Library of Bhutan and re-printed from time to time.

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