Perched at an elevation of 1600mt in the eastern side of Bhutan is a quaint settlement called Mongar. It is the oldest educational hub of the Bhutanese region. Marking the beginning of eastern Bhutan, Mongar is regarded as the heart of eastern Bhutan. Earlier known as Zhongar, Mongar showcases an astounding vista of spectacular landscape with stiff cliffs, vertiginous ravines, and dense conifer forests. In Bhutanese language the words ‘Zhongar’ stands for ‘the white bowl’. Bordering the districts of Bumthang, Lhuentse, Pema Gatshel and Trashigang Mongar offers rich diversity of flora and fauna and a glimpse into Bhutan rich rustic culture to its visitors. The roads leading towards Mongar are considered to be one of the most scenic routes of Bhutan.
Perched at the hilltop, weaver’s of Mongar has made the quaint settlement renowned for producing some of the finest textile and fabrics in Bhutan. Bhutan has been well known for showcasing and preserving its tradition in form of archicture and visitor can see the glimpse of the rich culture influenced architecture sprawled across the street of Mongar. Apart from being enriched in terms of art and culture, the verdant valley which encloses Mongar is dotted with astounding trekking routes, trek towards the foothills of Gangkhar Puensum, the highest mountain being the most famous one. There are few pictorial sites in Mongar which has hyped the interest of visitors like Mongar Dzong. Built in 1930’s Mongar Dzong with its architectural feat, where not even single nails have been used during the construction, is the venue of Mongar festival. Built in the 16th century is Drametse Monastery where the “dance of drums” was originated from. The dance is listed under the UNESCO’s world Heritage list. The Aja Ney is another popular sacred site where pilgrims from other parts of the country frequent. The Ney is believed to be blessed by Guru Rinpoche where a sacred rock bearing the 100 renditions of the syllable ‘Aa’ is a major attraction. In some part of Mongar, people are still said to practice “bonism”, a bon ritual to appease the local deities.
Surrounded by terraced fields and alpine trees, the heart of eastern settlement, Mongar with its surreal beauty has become a must visit destination for the tourist who relish going on a long ride while getting an in-depth knowledge about some of the sacred destination.
The best seasons to visit Mongar are during spring March to May and Autumn Season September to November. The major Bhutanese religious festivals are held during these seasons and fine spring and autumn weather makes it an ideal time for trekking in the alpine region of Mongar.