The Trans Bhutan Trail dates back at least to the 16th century when it connected fortresses called Dzongs and served as the pilgrimage route for Buddhists in the east travelling to the most sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet. Trail runners, or ‘Garps’, worked the Trail and were legendary, travelling with vital messages and mail between Dzongs at great speeds with little food or rest. The Trail came to play a major role in uniting the region’s many provinces, repelling foreign incursions, and fostering the birth of Bhutan as a nation in 1907.
By the 1960s the Trail had fallen into disuse with the construction of a national highway. Bridges, footpaths and stairways collapsed, gewogs (villages) and landholdings were separated, and this traditional pilgrimage route became neglected.
In 2018, with the wisdom and vision of His Majesty, The King, the restoration of the Trail was led by the Bhutan Canada Foundation with the support of the Tourism Council of Bhutan to restore the Trail to make it accessible again for locals, pilgrims, and travelers. During the COVID-19 crisis, with the assistance of the Royal Government of Bhutan more than 900 furloughed workers helped to restore the Trail to its former glory including the rebuilding of 18 bridges, hundreds of kilometres of footpaths and more than 10,000 steps. Today the 403 kilometre (250 mile) Trail, spanning the country from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east, can be walked, run, or biked, in part or in whole. It is certainly one of the great walks in the world.
For more information visit: www.transbhutantrail.com
Location: The trail starts from the West and run through Bhutan until the East of Bhutan.
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