Samdrup Jongkhar: Economic Hub of Eastern Bhutan
Samdrup Jongkhar is the largest urban centre and the main economic hub of eastern Bhutan. It is also known as the gate way to Eastern Bhutan. It is situated in the south eastern part of the country, at elevations of 200m to 3,500m. It shares borders with the Indian state of Assam. During the time of British India, Samdrup Jongkhar was the main transit point for many British Political Officers entering Bhutan from Sikkim. The road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar was built in the 1960s. Tourists, who have extended tour program to visit the neighboring Indian state of Assam, chose Samdrup Jongkhar as their exit point from Bhutan.
Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong:
It is one of the new dzongs to have been built in the country. The Dzong is the administrative centre of the district. Unlike other dzongs, the dzong in Samdrup Jongkhar is built on a sprawling ground.
The dratshang houses the monk body. It is newly built and lies next to the Dzong. It has many new novices looked after by the religious functionaries.
Adorned with intricate frescos and statutes, the three storied Zangdopelri presents the artistic skills of the Bhutanese master craftsmen. It serves the spiritual needs of the local people.
Dewathang is a small town, along the Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang highway. It is 18 kilometers away from Samdrup Jongkhar and used to be the office of the administrator in the earlier times. It was also the site where the last battle with the British was fought in 1884. Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first King, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, led the Bhutanese troops to fight against the British invasion, although he ultimately signed the treaty of Sinchula with the British in 1865.
Mithun breeding farm:
Mithun is an aggressive cattle very much valued by the farmers in the eastern Bhutan. It is the cattle breed found only in few places of the Himalaya. The farm is at Orong, above the town of Dewathang, along the Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang highway. The farm breeds mithun and supplies to the farmers. It will be worthwhile to stop for a while and take photographs of these magnificent animals.
Although small in size, the Samdrup Jongkhar town is a bustling small town with shopkeepers and hawkers from the nearby border of Assam. It is one of the oldest in Eastern Bhutan and has seen gradual development over the years. It also houses the oldest cinema theatre in the country that is frequented by Assamese from across the border especially to watch the Bollywood movies.