Almost all Bhutan tour packages include visits to some of the places of interest in Thimphu as it is capital of the kingdom. The city is located about 7700 feet above sea level and experiences a subtropical highland climate. Summers in the region are cool and pleasant, whereas winters are cold with regular occurrences of snowfall. Thimphu is about 50 km from the only international airport of the kingdom in Paro. Among the many attractions to visit with cheap holiday packages, Tango Monastery and National Memorial Chorten are two of the most popular ones.
A visit to Tango Monastery may be included in many cheap holiday packages as it is only 14 km from the city. Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa built the monastery in the Dzong architectural style in 1688. The complex contains the main temple, five minor shrines and a number of caves, where monks, including Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, have meditated since the 12th century. As tourists enter the ground floor of the main building, they see idols of Lord Buddha, his eight disciples and Maitreya. A copper and gold sculpture of Avalokitesvara is kept on the second storey that also has temples of Padmasambhava and Vaisravana. Idols of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Amitayus and a painting of Padmasambhava can be seen on the third floor.
National Memorial Chorten
Bhutan tour packages may also take travellers for a visit to the National Memorial Chorten or stupa – one of the biggest landmarks of Thimphu. Ashi Phuntsho Choden initiated its construction in 1974 in the memory of her son, the third king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Avalokitesvara, Manjusri and Vajrapani – three Bodhisattvas – are depicted on the main gate of the stupa complex. Above the platform in front of each gate of the chorten are cloth paintings called thangkas. Different representations of the commemorated king can be seen in the four shrines on the ground storey of the stupa. Its first and second floors can be accessed by climbing a flight of stairs that winds around a high wooden artwork. Paintings of different Nyingma deities can be seen on the top floor of the chorten.
A visit to these two sites with Bhutan tour packages will give travellers an insight into the different sects of Buddhism, prominent in the kingdom.