Royal Heritage Trail
The Royal Heritage Trek is yet another tourism product developed to commemorate the past 100 years of the Monarchy’s royal heritage and historic travel route between the Bumthang and Trongsa Dzongkhags. Except for a few herders and the locals around, the trail has not been used for so many years as Bhutan moved into the modern era and so many roads were built throughout the country. It has now been rediscovered as a potential trekking route offering an invigorating adventure with every section of the trail contributing its own attractions.
The trail boasts of a blend of valued history, traditional mores and royal anecdotes which date back to as early as the 1950s. The trek traces the historical route King Jigme Wangchuck, the 2nd King of Bhutan, used when moving from his summer residence, Wangdicholing Palace in Bumthang, to his winter residence, Kuenga Rabten Palace in Trongsa. It was the first King who shifted the government seat from the old winter capitals in Punakha and Thimphu to Wangdicholing palace in Bumthang. In 1928, after the death of the first King, his successor built a new palace in Kuenga Rabten. With its warmer, more temperate climate the valley provided a welcome relief from the harsh winters of Bumthang. The Royal Family and its entourage moved in a majestic procession with hundreds of followers and riding horses trekking over the mountains. The journey took just three days then.
The second King died at his palace of Kuenga Rabten in 1952, after which his son King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk took over. The third King shifted the centre of government back to the old summer capital in Thimphu. The Royal Heritage Trail presents the visitors a look at the history of monarchy with an opportunity to explore it first hand after the royal family treaded the same route more than 50 years ago.
In addition to the rich and the unambiguous historical experience it offers, the trail has an abundance of flora and fauna. Over 40 species of birds have been identified including the Yellow and Black Billed Magpies and the Spotted Nut Cracker. Along the trail, you’ll also enjoy the splendor of violet primula and other beautiful wild flowers.
The trail is a 4-day moderate hiking, which starts from Wangdicholing, Bumthang and ends in Kuenga Rabten, Trongsa or vice versa.