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Elevation: 700m, 173ft

Location: Eastern part of the country

Area: 129 sq. km

Distance from Paro: 476.4 km (13 hr 16 min)

Population: 14,437

Lhuentse: A Sanctuary of Heavenly Delights

Lhuentse beckons to those who find that travel liberates the mind and fills the soul with divine happiness.

Nestled in the northeastern reaches of Bhutan, Lhuentse is revered as the ancestral seat of Bhutan’s royal family. It is a favored destination among local travelers seeking genuine spiritual and cultural immersion.

Lhuentse is 77 kilometers or a 3 hours drive from northward from Mongar. Lhuentse is a rather isolated place and an even smaller settlement. Those expecting to find a town after getting off the bus or their vehicle are startled to see just a strip of wooden shacks! The region was formerly known as kurtoe and served as the central base of the ruling monarchy of Bhutan.

The Lhuentse Dzong which is also known as Lhundrup Rinchentse Dzong lies at a high rocky edge with high slopes all around it. The Dzong is a 16th-century architecture that was renovated again in 1970. The Dzong observes a three-day Tsechu every December. The Tangmachu village, which is the rice bowl of the Lhuentse Dzongkhag, is located in the Eastern part of the Gewog.

Local practice agricultural-based professions such as farming, livestock rearing, and weaving. On the way from Lhuentse to Mongar lies an ancient wooden bridge. Lhuentse Dzongkhag has around 50 main religious and historical places including the picturesque Lhundrup Rinchentse Dzong.

Mask dances are held in many of them. While there are many old temples, an important attraction is Khini Lhakhang in Metsho Gewog, which is said to have been constructed at the same time as Kichu and Jampay Lhakhangs in the 7th century.

Lhuentse Dzong & Lekpagang gi Tshenden

Known affectionately as Lhuendruptse gi Dzongchen or Lhuendrup Rinchentse, Lhuentse Dzong stands as a significant historical landmark. Originally established in 1552 on the grounds once occupied by Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk, the existing fortress was constructed by Trongsa Penlop Minjur Tempa. It houses numerous holy relics, including the revered Tshepamay statue, formerly housed in Kidlung Lhakhang. Each year, the local administration and Dratshang hold the Tshempay Tshechu festival, offering blessings for longevity from this statue. Currently, it functions as the district’s administrative and religious center, perched on a hill with stunning views of the Kurichhu river, and is celebrated for the annual Lhuentse festival. The Dzong treasures a bronze Tshepamey statue, miraculously discovered by a local fisherman.

Directly opposite Lhuentse Dzong, the ancient Lekpagang gi Tshenden cypress trees emit smoke annually, heralding the Thrue Bab (Blessed Rainy Day). These trees, dating back to the 8th century, mark the oldest in Bhutan, with ties to the exile of Khikha Rathoed to Bumthang.

Singye Dzong

Singye Dzong, deeply associated with Guru Rinpoche, is a revered pilgrimage site attracting countless domestic tourists annually. Located a three-day trek from Khoma Gewog, within the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary near the Chinese border, it is proximate to Khomagang and Denchung villages. The site includes a meditation center housing 12 monks for three-year retreats and two primary monasteries, Gawa Dzong and Singye Dzong.

The path to Singye Dzong features wooden bridges, extensive footpaths, signage, and rest areas, accompanied by a swift river originating from one of the Dzong’s lakes. The terrain shifts dramatically as one nears Singye Dzong, with vast Rocky Mountains, grazing yaks, and vibrant flora and fauna, culminating in a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Singye Dzong is home to eight sacred rocky hill Dzongs and still bears visible marks and termas from Guru Rinpoche and Dakini Yeshey Tshogyel. Four major lakes—Yumtharma, Tshona, Tshokhar, and Terdha Latsho—are pilgrimage destinations believed to purify sins and assure a peaceful afterlife.

Rinchen Bumpa & Kuenzangling Lhakhang

Located in Kurtoed Gewog, Rinchen Bumpa is a major spiritual site accessible via a six-hour uphill journey from Kuenzangling Lhakhang. Prophesied by Ratna Lingpa and later consecrated by Longchenpa, this site is considered a milestone for spiritually connected beings. The most intriguing feature here is a rock slab that reveals sacred letters with the morning sunlight, observable for a brief period.

Kuenzangling Lhakhang, at the base of Rinchen Bumpa, holds sacred objects including statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and Zambala. It also features footprints of Kuenkhan Longchen Rabjam on the meditation rock.

Dungkar Naktshang & Jigme Namgyal Naktshang

Dungkar Naktshang, the storied residence of Dungkar Chojie and the birthplace of the Wangchuck dynasty, is situated near the architecturally remarkable Jigme Namgyal Naktshang. Born in 1825, Jigme Namgyal, progenitor of the first Bhutanese king, embarked on his fate from here towards Trongsa.

Lhuentse Dzongkhag continues to draw an increasing number of visitors each year, attracted by its spiritual significance, natural beauty, rich culture, and distinctive textiles. As a model for ecotourism, Lhuentse offers a unique blend of biodiversity and vibrant community life, presenting a wealth of high-value tourism experiences.

What most people like

Popular Attractions in Lhuentse

The story acknowledges that the name of the place “Dungkar” was derived from the physical shape of the land. The place has the exact shape

Women in other Gewog like Minjey, Menbi, and Tsenkher are too engaged in weaving Kishuthara. The essential basic material for the fiber

Perched on a hillock in Gangzur geog in Kurtoe, the Jangchubling Lhakhang was built in the 18th century by Pekar Jamtsho

The famed Singye Dzong, one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in Bhutan is three day uphill walk from Khoma Village

Affordable price

Popular Hotels & Accommodations in Lhuentse

This village is located about two hours walk from the Dzong. It is a pleasant journey taking you over gentle slopes amongst pine trees.

One of the few hotel options in remote dzongkhag is, the 6-room Phayul Resort near the town of Autsho (population less than 400) is a welcome place