Bhutan is a famous Buddhist kingdom situated in eastern edge of Himalayas, known for its monasteries, culture and landscapes. Not only has the captivating landscape Bhutan displayed a rich history.
The stone tools, weapons, and leftovers of large stone structures gives evidence that Bhutan was inhabited since 2000 BC, however there are no existing records from that time, but the historians believe that their exitance dates back to 500 BC.
Bhutan’s history attracts lot of travellers, who are in a quest to explore art, culture and rich history of different destinations and if you are one of them, the best way to know their rich history is via ancient museums.
National Museum of Bhutan
The famous museum with a royal collection ofhistorical artefacts from royal family, opened for public in 1968, located above the sacred Rinpung Dzong of Paro Valley in Ta Dzong. The ancient Ta-Dzong building is 340 years old. It was a watch tower of Paro Dzong which waslater converted into National Museum. The museum contains 3000 works of Bhutanese art, and masterpieces displaying more than 1500 years of cultural heritage.
For comfortable view, museum is divided into different galleries displaying art, culture, flora and fauna of Bhutan. Arms and Armor, displaying various amenities used in15th century war between Bhutanese and Tibetans as well as 19th century Duars war. Decorative Arts consists old accessories belonging to 17th Century. 18th and 19th century’s gallery presenting unique articles from the century.
Thangka Arts, displaying the best selected thangkas between 17th to 20th century. Many more categories are there such as Jewellery, Bhutanese Textiles, Natural History, Epigraphic & Numismatic Items etc. Along with these collections,museum offers incredible panoramic vista of the adjacent hills and Paro valley, which is an added reasonfor visiting the museum
Folk Heritage Museum
Opened on 28 July 2001 founded by Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck situated in Thimphu, Bhutan. It’s a 19th century traditional rammed mud and timber house which is almost 150 years old. A must site for history lovers because it beautifully depicts the Bhutanese Folk and howBhutanese lived. Museum has a rich collection of items used by Bhutanese a century ago such as horse stable, oil grinder made by stones, crop store, dresses of king and queen, weapons etc. This museum is serving the purpose of keeping rich heritage intact by holding different events for education, culture demonstrations as well as documentaries.
Bhutan Textile Museum
The Textile Museum is a perfect site specially for people interested in textiles and designs along with art and culture. Bhutan Textile Museum known as National Textile Museum is a textile museum situated in Thimphu. Museum is well planned, attractively designed and divided into six major areas, displaying role of textiles in religion, the Royal Collection, achievements in textile arts, textiles from homegrown fibres, twist and weft pattern weaves.
The royal collection contains priceless artefacts of Bhutanese antique textile, such as crowns of Bhutan’s kings, Namzas (dresses) and accessories worn by Royal Family, as well as unique collections donated by Queen Mother.
Skills of spinning, preparing a loom, colouring fibres, and manipulating two sets of yarns are displayed in ground floor of the museum. Decorative items, textile arts and crafts are displayed in gallery of the first floor along with the traditional regional garments which is used for special religious occasions only.
Simply Bhutan Museum
It’s a living museum, an initiative by Bhutan Youth development fund to increase the knowledge of their culture and traditional engagement among young Bhutanese. The interior is filled with restored ancient household objects to highlight the traditional way of life.
Situated near Thimphu, housed in a traditional building it aims to preserve & promote ancient tradition and culture. The museum offers great opportunity to learn about Bhutanese traditions, try their game, Archery and dart locally known as Khuru.
Also, you can dress up in traditional dress Kiras and ghos followed by lovely clicks in open courtyard along with lots of props and a range of backgrounds to choose from.This museum is different from all the other museums in world because unlike others, you are allowed to touch the artefacts and take theirphotographs.
Bhutan Postal Museum
Attached to the post office, Bhutan Postal Museum was established in 2015 to celebrate 60th Birth Anniversary of Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The five galleries trace the development of Bhutanese postal system, from earliest mail runners to Bhutan’s eccentric and highly collectable modern stamps. A delight for hard-core philatelists and an amazing experience for history lover.
You will love 3D, steel, gold, embossed stamps, collection of photos and mail delivery equipment needed for rural mountainous conditions. It’s worth a visit, there’s a souvenir shop where you can buy some stamps and other items to keep them as a memento of your trip.
Ogyen Choling Palace Museum
Ogyen Choling Museum is built to preserve the culture for current and future generations, to make them understand Bhutan’s religious, cultural and architectural heritage. Also, an initiative to save artefacts found in mansion.
The museum was set-up with the hope of sharing this heritage with as many people as possible while preserving the structure as a religious and social centre. It is a testimony to the past life, a glimpse of life in lord’s mansion before 1950.
Spare some extra timeand prefer a guided tour because it has a good collection and lots of history is stored which can only be unlocked if you have a local guide with you.
Institute of Traditional Medicine Services
Situated at the top of hill above Traditional Arts Centre and National Library in capital city Thimpu. It displays traditional medicines produced in laboratories from minerals, animal parts, precious metals, gems and plants.
It serves as a preserver of Bhutanese traditional culture, which was established under the direction of king in 1967, who directed Health Department of Bhutan to establish a traditional medicine system for the welfare of Bhutanese people.