Mongar is an eastern district located in Bhutan. Towns and villages in Eastern Bhutan are characteristically different from those in Western Bhutan. In Eastern Bhutan the towns, including those located in Mongar, are built directly into the hillside. Buildings, houses, Dzongs and temples can be found along the edge of 4000m cliffs. In Western Bhutan many villages and cities, like Paro, are located in valleys below the hills.
The area surrounding Mongar is stunning with sheer cliff faces bordered by thick forests of coniferous trees. The elevation in this region can range anywhere from 400m to 4000m. The Eastern region has not been developed or modernized as much as Western Bhutan. Bhutan’s infrastructure has grown slowly since the 1970’s and proper roads do not connect all of the Eastern towns and villages. Therefore, much of the culture and many of the societies in Eastern Bhutan maintain their native culture and traditions without western influence. The region of Mongar is especially famous for its weaving, textiles and fabrics. The best Bhutanese fabrics can be found throughout many villages in this region.
There are many ancient ruins, sacred religious sites, and religious monuments throughout the district of Mongar. One in particular site of interest is the Zhongar Dzong. Originally constructed in the 17th century the Zhongar Dzong stands as a testimony to the skill of the lama builders. This structure remains strong and was built traditionally without nails and without proper architectural plans. This Dzong allows visitors to experience life frozen in time. The monks in the area provide a wealth of history that can be recounted orally by those who heard it from their grandparents. A visit to these ruins can be a memorable experience and will give you a sense of the medieval Bhutanese administration.
This region in Bhutan is suggested for those who enjoy history, and are accustomed to farmhouse, tented, and guesthouse stays. Guests must travel to Eastern Bhutan by vehicle and roads are not well developed. The journey can take days to finally reach an Eastern destination. The government in Bhutan strictly monitors the amount of visitors that are able to venture to Eastern Bhutan, permits and government attendants are necessary.