Chukha is a hot and wet region located in the dense subtropical forests in Southwestern Bhutan. The region is home to many important plant and animal species.
There are two main ethnic groups present in Chukha, the Ngalops and the Lhotshampas. The Lhotshampas are Southern Bhutanese with Nepalese origins and this creates a wealth of cultural diversity in the region with various non-Buddhist festivals and practices being carried out.
Chukha region is religiously significant as it has been blessed by many renowned Buddhist masters including the venerable Lama Drakpa Jamtsho in the 17th century. He established the JabarGoemba Monastery at a site surrounded by five mountains with an auspicious resemblance to the five religious hats worn by lamas. The main relic of this monastery is a holy Phurba or ritual dagger that is said to have flown to the monastery from Tibet. Legend holds that the dagger continues to defy gravity to this day
Another important religious site in the region is the TshamdrakGoemba. This monastery dates back to the 17th century and was founded by Lam NgawangDrakpa. It contains important relics such as the 100 Ceremonial Drums and a large stone slab that is attributed to ApChundu, the guardian deity of Haa. The most distinctive feature of Chukha is the Chukha and Tala Hydropower projects. The two projects tap the fast-running waters of the Wang Chhu and PaaChhu to produce more than 1,500 megawatts of power. These two dams are absolutely crucial to the country as they are still the largest providers of revenue for the Kingdom.
PLACES OF ATTRACTIONS
Phuentsholing is a border town in southern Bhutan, and is the administrative seat (dzongkhagthromde) of Chukha District.
The town occupies parts of both PhuentsholingGewog and SamphelingGewog. Phuentsholing lies opposite the Indian town of Jaigon and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy. For example, the town serves as headquarters for the Bank of Bhutan. In 2005, Phuentsholing had a population of 20,537 and has been growing since.
2. KHARBANDI GOMPA (RINCHENDING)
KharbandiGompa (Rinchending), built in 1967 by the Royal Grandmother, the monastery contains paintings on the life of Buddha and statues of ShubdrungNawangNamgyal and Guru Rinpochey. The view from the monastery garden towards the Phuentsholing and surrounding Indian plains are superb.
3. CHUKHA HYDRO PLANT
The Chhukha Hydropower project is Bhutan’s oldest mega power project. Out of the country’s several major river basins, the Wangchhu, which uses the discharges of Thimphu, Paro and Haa valleys, was chosen as the project site as it offered the best scope for constructing the first power project due to the existence of road links and other infrastructures.
After conducting detailed studies, an Agreement for the implementation of the Project was signed between the two governments of Bhutan and India on March 23, 1974. The project was fully funded by GoI with 60 percent grant and 40 percent loan at the interest rate of 5 percent payable over a period of 15 years after commissioning. The ChhukhaHydel Project Authority (CHPA), which was formed in 1975, was entrusted with the responsibility of constructing and commissioning of the project.
Since no project of such a magnitude was constructed earlier, the period from 1974 to 1978 was mainly spent on infrastructure development, like access to roads, schools, hospitals and residential colonies. The main civil and electro-mechanical works of the project started in 1979. The project’s first 84 MW hydro-turbine Unit was commissioned on September 7, 1986 and by August 22, 1988 all the other three Units were commissioned.
On completion, it was inaugurated by the then President of India His Excellency R. Venkataraman, in the presence of His Majesty King JigmeSingyeWangchuck on October 21, 1988. The project completion cost estimates at Nu. 2,465 million and generates over 1,800 MU annually. Most of the generated energy is exported to India.
The erstwhile Chhukha Hydro Power Corporation Limited (CHPCL) was formed on July 1, 1991 under the 1989 Company’s Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan to operate and maintain the hydroelectric power plant and the transmission system and to export surplus power to India after meeting domestic requirement.
With the formation of the Druk Green, CHPCL became an operational unit under Druk Green and was renamed as Chhukha Hydropower Plant.
4. GEDU COLLEGE OF BUSSINESS STUDIES
Gedu College of Business Studies is an autonomous government college under the Royal University of Bhutan, offering full-time contemporary business and management education in Bhutan. It is located in the town of Gaedu.
In 2012, the college started offering a master’s degree program in business studies. The College is accredited “A” by Bhutan Accreditation Council (BAC) in 2017.