A multipurpose trail around Thimphu valley

Guests trying out the biking at the newly inaugurated trail at Taba
Guests trying out the biking at the newly inaugurated trail at Taba

November 8, Thimphu: The Hon’ble Lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay, the Prime Minister of Bhutan accompanied by the Hon’ble Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji inaugurated the multipurpose trail around Thimphu valley.

A 60-km biking trail circumambulating Thimphu city has been built as a symbolic and befitting gift to His Majesty The Fourth King on his 60th Birth Anniversary, a globally renowned conservation leader and an avid bicyclist himself. The trail includes existing feeder roads and highways around Thimphu city.

According to the press release from the Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED), the multipurpose trail will help check haphazard urban expansion, act as a fire line and provide access for combating fire during forest fire incidences in addition to providing direct outdoor recreational benefits to city dwellers. “This will create opportunities to spend time immersed in natural environments so that positive feelings for the natural world are developed,” states press release. Further, “It is only then that people will be willing to adopt lifestyle practices that minimise their impact on the earth’s natural systems.”

Inspecting the plough manufactured by AMC
Inspecting the plough manufactured by AMC

While constructing the trail, NRED ensured some grade reversals into the alignment, meaning the trail will head gradually downhill and where appropriate it should have some small rises i.e. head slightly uphill again for a short distance. This has the effect of slowing riders down and will be points where water will definitely run off the trail surface. NRED has also ensured some nice gentle curves around rocks and trees to make the ride adventurous and appropriate designs around the corners to ensure that wheels do not slide out including the safety of the riders through safety designs and signages.

The first phase of trail was constructed from Kuenselphodrang to Debtshi with 1.5 m width and 3.5km length phase I and II with a total cost of Nu.1.8m. The trail construction continued with second phase from Kuenselphodrang to Changangkha (5.250 kms ) which was completed in October 2015 with the help of volunteers from different organisations. Similarly, the third phase from Nakulum top (Simtokha area) to Taba (12.628 kms) was constructed by volunteers from the Royal Bhutan Police and Royal Bhutan Army and other volunteers.

NRED said that around 3190 nos. of volunteers from government agencies, corporations, non-governmental organisations, business community, armed forces and individuals have immensely contributed to the trail construction. They said that they are immensely grateful for the contributions, without whose help it would not have been possible to construct the multipurpose trail.

The trail construction was funded by the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation, NAPA project (fire)/UNDP, Bhutan Development Bank Ltd, National Land Commission and 60th BCC.

Launching the pictorial book on the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition
Launching the pictorial book on the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition

Coinciding with the trail inauguration, the Hon’ble Lyonchhoen launched dedicative publications such as pictorial book on the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition and Celebrating the Glorious Reign of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The second publication showcases around 29 significant activities by RNR sector initiated in dedication to the special occasion of His Majesty Drukgyal Zhipa’s 60th Birth Anniversary. Both publications were initiated to pay a homage and honour the leadership and contributions of His Majesty The 4th Druk Gyalpo in the Agriculture sector.

The Hon’ble Lyonchhoen also launched an In-country manufactured plough which was designed and manufactured by Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC), Paro. As per press release of AMC, the Bhutanese made plough is an improvement of Japanese plough with all of its parts fabricated within the country.

A three months test and evaluation was carried out, before its launch. The plough cost Nu. 26,500. However, AMC will carry out series of tests and modifications to make it cheaper and easier for fabrication.

Reported by Ugyen Tshering with photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICS



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