Last Month on May 21, the Bhutanese people received a gift in the form of a beautiful garden from Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Kesang Choeden Wangchuck on her 85th birth anniversary.
Spread across 8.35 acres in the heart of the scenic Thimphu valley, the Ludrong Memorial Garden sits between the 15th century Tashichhodzong and the modern day Parliament house. The Wangchu flowing along the garden peacefully separates the two monumental structures that stand testimony to Bhutan’s transformation from a monarchy to a constitutional democracy.
The opening of the Ludrong Memorial Garden saw the fulfillment of a longstanding wish of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother. She had long desired to convert the property into a garden as a gift to those who appreciate the environment and its natural beauty.
His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, inaugurated the Garden. Also present during the opening was His Majesty the King along with Her Majesty the Queen and Their Majesties the Queen Mothers.
His Majesty the King planted a Cypress tree, while His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother planted a Chinar (Platanus orientalis) sapling tree each to commemorate the occasion. The Chinar saplings were brought from Kashmir, India and first planted in Bhutan many decades ago by Rani Mayum Choeying Wangmo Dorji – Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother’s mother.
The works for the garden began in 2012 and was completed in November last year. With its ponds, varied species of plants and the spiritual chants resounding from Tashichhodzong, the garden is truly a nature lover’s delight.
Currently, the garden boasts of 560 varieties of trees, 362 species of scrub, 385 species of bush, 1,724 flower species and 75 fruit bearing trees. In addition to the plants, the ponds are filled with brown trout; snow trout and carp fish species that were brought from Kashmir along with the saplings.
Renowned Japanese landscape artist Mikko Ishikawa, who recently visited the garden, described it as the heart of Thimphu valley. The garden, surrounded by five historical sites – the Lingkana or Royal Garden Palace, Tashichhodzong, Parliament house, the historical Cantilever Bridge and the Supreme Court is home to more than 15 common bird species as well as 30 seasonal birds including the ibis bill and black-tailed crake.
With two prayer wheels inside, the garden provides recreational benefits and doubles as an environmental education hotspot for young and old minds alike. But, most importantly, it provides locals and tourists an incredibly peaceful setting to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the fast paced Thimphu life. Not to mention, that the garden had added another feather to the capital’s attractive sites.