Rhododendron bloom draws crowds to Merak Gewog

Merak Gewog in Trashigang, usually known for its rich cultural heritage, is capturing the attention of an increasing number of people for its incredible nature, this time. With the breathtaking bloom of rhododendrons, an increasing number of visitors including tourists are seen visiting the gewog. There are also plans to organise a festival next year.

On the way to Merak Gewog, one can see about four to five species of rhododendrons.

During the flowering season, which begins in early March and continues through August in high-altitude areas, Merak becomes a paradise of vibrant colours, drawing in nature enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Although the gewog did not maintain the exact number of visitors, more than 50 people from nearby districts visited the area during the weekends including a few international tourists.

“I was told by my friends that Merak looks attractive during the flowering season.  And since summer is not a good time to visit due to rainfall, we came here for camping and to relax,” said Dawa Dema, a visitor.

“I think people should visit such a beautiful place. It is located at a high altitude with a clean environment. Moreover, I feel happy and proud to be here during the flowering season,” said Choki Dorji, another visitor.

The residents are also witnessing the benefits of the increasing number of visitors.

“Earlier, there used to be a few tourists visiting the area but not many Bhutanese visit. This year, I can see a lot of Bhutanese coming here. One reason could be due to the blacktopped road. We are benefited as visitors hire our dress to take pictures,” said Tshering Yangdon, a resident of Merak Gewog.

To further boost tourism in Trashigang, the Trashigang District Administration has plans to conduct a festival at Shetimi in Merak Gewog early next year.

The district administration has conducted consultation meetings, twice with the relevant stakeholders and gewog leaders.

According to Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary officials, Bhutan has 46 species of rhododendron, of which 41 are found in Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sonam Darjay, Trashigang

Edited by Tshering Zam

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