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Promoting white water sports: Canoeing, rafting and kayaking

Of the hundreds of tourists that visit Bhutan every year a handful come to kayak and raft in the Bhutanese rivers. Unofficial records indicate that between 20-50 tourists come for the river adventure which is packaged together with trekking and sight seeing in spring and in autumn seasons when the rivers are stable. A relatively new adventure sport in Bhutan which the department of tourism has been promoting and exploring since 1997, Bhutanese river systems provide a huge potential for canoeing, rafting and kayaking according to tourism officials.

A survey of Bhutanese rivers done with the help of professionals from other countries found that each valley has a river and some sections are ratable and most can be kayaked. Sections of the Pochu and Mochu rivers in Punakha, the Dangchu in Wangdue the Mangdechu in Trongsa the Chamkarchu, Durchu and the Tangchu in Bumthang and Tangmachu in Lhuentse can be rafted and kayaked.

One private tour company, Lotus Adventure run by Sonam Tobgay has been instrumental in promoting and pioneering white water sport in Bhutan. But numbers have remained small from the lack of advertising funds and the highly specialised nature of the sport according to Sonam Tobgay. "World class equipment is expensive and the safety is paramount."

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Taktshang Monastery
Guru Pema Jungney statue installed in Taktshang

A gilded statue of Guru Pema Jungney became the first nangten (religious treasure) to be installed in the recently completed Guru Tshengyed Lhakhang of the Taktsang monastery. The statue, three - foot tall and weighning about 100 kilogrammes, was offered to the Taktshang monastery by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck.

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Taktshang

The statue was installed and consecrated on February 27, 2002 coinciding with the auspicious 15th day of the second month of the Bhutanese calendar.

So far the outer structure of six lhakhangs - Dubkhang, Guru Sungjoen Lhakhang, Guru Tshengyed Lhakhang, Dorji Drolo Lhakhang, Tsepamed Lhakhang and Nebi lhakhang (dedicated to the local deity Taktshang Singye Samdrup) - had been completed and three sertogs (gilded tops) had been installed. Meanwhile, the fabrication work of the seventh lhakhang, the Chorten Lhakhang, is underway.

The masonry work and the installation of the fabricated woodwork for the lhakhang is expected to begin in March. The Kuenrey (common hall), a common kitchen and toilets will be constructed within the next few months.About 140 people, excluding skilled craftsmen picked from 18 dzongkhags, are engaged in the reconstruction of the monastery which was destroyed by fire in 1998. The reconstruction of Taktshang monastery began in April, 2000.

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Thrumshingla National Park
Rhododendron garden opened
Thrumshingla National Park A rhododendron garden has opened at the Thrumshingla National Park. The park commemorate the International Year of Mountains 2002.

The Thrumshingla National Park is situated between Jakar und Mongar.

According to the ministry of agriculture the garden, to be formally known as "In Situ Rhododendron Garden", will "showcase" Bhutan's rhododendron diversity in their natural habitat. The development of the garden, 22 hectares in area and containing 22 different species of rhododendron, is part of a series of activities being undertaken by the royal government to commemorate the international year of mountains. Out of 46 known species of rhododendrons in Bhutan four- R. kesangiae, R. pogonophyllum, R. bhutanense and R. flinckii - are endemic to the kingdom. Among its numerous ethno-botanical value, rhododendrons are used to make incense, traditional medicines (to treat dysentery, rheumatism, diarrhoea and sciatica), for carving (traditional wooden containers), as natural insecticide and to make agricultural implements.

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Phuentsholing: Mani dungkhor and chorten
Phuentsholing Phuentsholing Mani

A Mani dungkhor built in memory of Gongzim Raja Sonam Tobgay Dorji and a chorten built in memory of the Late Prime Minister of Bhutan Dasho Jigme Palden Dorji.

The holy site was consecrated by the former Yanbi Lopon in Phuentsholing. The Mani dungkhor and chorten was built by Dasho Lhendup Dorji.

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