Phuentsholing is a thickly populated area located in Southern Bhutan. It is the border town, which offers a very easy route from India to Bhutan. Many Indian and foreign tourists who travel here, prefer to visit Bhutan via Phuentsholing. This place joins Jaigaon and the cross-border trade of the place creating a massive population. It’s indeed a very interesting tourist spot where people from different countries and ethnic groups meet and tour. Here you can find a nice blending of wonderful scenes, conventions, present-day life, and different cultures. The place does not require a passport or visa for international tourists to make an exciting vacation.
WILDLIFE AT PHUENTSHOLING:
Phuentsholing is situated on the banks of Amo Chhu River or, as we call it, Torsa River, which is the most popular place of Phuentsholing. Tourists gather here to see the intimidating Marsh Muggers and Gharials. Here the breeding center also takes care of the reptiles, until they are able to fend for themselves in a natural reserve. The giant size of the reptiles always amuse the tourists, they are left spellbound every time. The number of crocodiles and alligators has increased a lot in these years. There are six adult gharials and all together they eat 12 kg of fish every alternate day. The rest fifteen muggers stay in the center and have 30 kg of beef every alternate day. Phuentsholing is no doubt a great choice to visit for a small holiday trip. This is absolutely an interesting place to visit, mainly for the kids.
THINGS TO DO:
There are so many places to visit for the tourists from several parts of the world, mainly tourists from India, Nepal and Bhutan crowd here to enjoy the scenic beauty and also for trade reasons. There are some attractive places, which can be visited in a single day. The Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang is located in the middle of the town, which can easily be covered by walking only.
You can also have a relaxing morning or evening walk on the banks of the Torsa River. It’s a great side for photography as well. There is a basketball court. There is an amazing place where two streams of Torsa meet, it’s another famous tourist spot.
The crocodile farm is just 20 minutes away from the main town. You have to cross the Bhutan gate if you come to Jaigaon by car. The Karbandi Gompa is the main attraction of the place, this is the most visited place of Phuentsholing, you can book a cab or taxi to reach there from the Bhutan gate. Torsa tea garden will fall on the way, which surely refreshes your mind with its amazing view. You will find so many coaster buses that take you to Thimpu, it takes all most six hours to reach Thimpu or Paro.
HOW TO REACH PHUENTSHOLING:
The closest airport is Bagdogra airport, 175 km away from the main town. One can book a cab or have a bus from the airport to reach Phuentsholing.
Hasimara is the closest railway station, 20 km from the main town. The New Alipurduar Railway station is another option that is almost 60 km away from Phuentsholing. Cabs and buses are available near the station to bring you Phuentsholing.
One can travel on NH-317A which passes through Hasimara and Jaigaon. There is a direct bus route from Kolkata to Siliguri, which is handled by Bhutan Government. The bus starts from Esplanade, Kolkata, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7.00 pm that costs BTN 350 and INR 350. Buses leave twice a day from the Siliguri bus stand on Hill Cart Road at 7.30 am and 1.30 pm.
Zangdok Palri Temple and park – no entry fee (open from 8 am to 6 pm)
The Crocodile Breeding Farm– 10 NU for Bhutanese, 20 NU for SAARC tourists, 50 NU for non-SAARC tourists (open from 9.30 am to 6 pm)
Torsa riverside– no entry fee
Karbandi Gompa– no entry fee (open from 7 am to 6 pm)
Bhutan gate: the main entrance and exit from and to India.
Phuentsholing market: you can get basic commodities like food items, both cooked and uncooked, even fresh vegetables, and fruits are also available.
Phuentsholing viewpoint: Karbandi Monastery is also the view point of Phuentsholing and it looks amazing during the daytime, a perfect place for photography.
Phuentsholing park: a nice place for a family trip, there is a basketball court as well. This is situated on the right side of Phuentsholing-Thimpu road.
Karbandi Monastery: This Monastery is located just 30 minutes from the main town. Apart from the huge statues, there is a beautiful garden inside, from where you can have the majestic beauty of the whole town. There is a say among the locals that an Indian couple prayed for a baby here, and it was granted. From then on, couples having infertility issues visit this place.
Zangdok Palri Temple: It is situated on the right side of the heart of Phuentsholing. It attracts tourists for its huge ball fountain, a small pond, prayer wheels, and the solitude of the area. You will find monks roaming here and there on your way, sometimes chanting their hymns loudly. The temple has many Buddhist drawings on the walls, containing enormous significance; the temple symbolizes the heaven, envisioned by Guru Rinpoche. Its name has derived from the copper-colored mountain, which is believed to be the abode of Guru Padmasambhava. There are eight statues of eight manifestations of their gurus, mythology says, these manifestations represent the ability of Padmasambhava to adapt to several needs. The upper floor of the temple gifts you the pictures of Bodhisatva and Sabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and many images of Amitabha Buddha.