Samdrup Jongkhar

SamdrupJongkharThe small border town of Samdrup Jongkhar is the gateway to Eastern Bhutan. It borders the Indian state of Assam and has been a major commercial hub for the entire eastern region for years. The town propped up in the 1960s when Bhutan started to modernize and started the construction of the eastern highway from this small town towards the northeastern district of Trashigang. Since then, this border town has been instrumental to the economy of the entire eastern Bhutan region.

The oldest town in eastern Bhutan also boasts of having the first movie theater in the country, which remained the main entertainment for residents who grew up watching Indian films at a time when the big screen ruled supreme. Other major attractions in town include Dzong (fortress), which houses the district headquarters and the office of the district governor. Behind the Dzong is a newly constructed district monastic body, called the Dratshang. At the heart of the town is a three-storey temple – Zangdopelri – which is a popular tourist attraction. The temple has beautiful intricate frescoes and shrines.

The district of SamdrupJongkhar expands from the proper town northwards and covers the scanty town of Dewathang, which has the only golf course (a nine hole course). A short ride northwards takes you to Orong, which has a Mithun Breeding Farm. The Mithun is a fine breed of bison in Bhutan and the animal is bred here and supplied to all over the eastern parts of the country.

There are many areas in SamdrupJongkhar district, which would attract nature lovers, in particularly birdwatchers. Places like Dewathang, Gomdar and Bhangtar boasts of being home to some rare bird species. Its sub-tropical weather and virgin forests make it a haven for birds like the Black-necked Stork, dark rumped swift, chested-tailed starling, crested serpent eagle and lot more.

Samdrup Jongkhar at a glance:

  • Geographical area: 1,877.94 sq. km
  • Population: 38,708 (projected as of 2012)
  • Households: 4,271
  • Villages: 189
  • Altitude: 200-3,600 meters
  • Forest cover: 86.15%
  • Climate: Hot and humid summer and dry winter
  • Urban centers: Dewathang, Bhangtar and SamdrupJongkhar