Lhuntse (alt. 2323m/7621ft)
Located in north-eastern corner of the Kingdom, Kurtoe or Lhuntse as it is known today is the spiritual home of Bhutan’s Kings. The landscape here is spectacular with stark cliffs and gorges and dense coniferous forests. The region is notably famed for its weavers and exquisite textile ‘Kishuthara’, considered to be the best in the country. Many shamanic bon rituals add colour to the cultural diversity of the region. Kurtoeps are also adept singers and the valleys often resound with popular regional folk songs.
Places of Interest in and around Lhuntse
Sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Kuri Chhu river, this mighty fortress was built by Trongsa Penlop, Chogyal Minjur Tempa in 1654 upon the site of an older temple established by Nagi Wangchuk in 1552. Since then it has been renovated several times and now houses the administrative and religious centre of the district.
This world’s largest statue of Guru Padsambhava of 173 feet height stands tall on the Takila mountain slope, overlooking the valley of Tangmachu. Guru’s statue is surrounded by eight big and 108 small chortens and serves an important pilgrimage site as well as place for meditation and retreat.
Located about two hours walk from Lhuntse Dzong, Khoma village is famous for its exquisite and treasured Kishuthara (silk weaving). For Kurtoep women, the winter months are solely dedicated to textile weaving and they sit in a row of makeshift textile cottages, weaving intricate design and patterns.
Situated above 2 km from Lhuntse Dzong, Gangzur village is known for its earthen pottery and women folks here are skilled artisans of this traditional art. Gangzur is a small village consisting of about ten households where every household engaged in pottery making which is also the main source of income for the villagers. This village is picturesquely located and surrounded by lush green forests with spectacular mountain scenery.
This interesting monastery is located about 15 away from Lhuntse Dzong and easily accessible by road. It was founded by Pekar Gyamtso in the 18th century and used to be under the patronage of 16th Karmapa Ranjung Rigpe Dorji. The daughter of the first King, Ashi Wangmo lived here at this monastery as nun.