Phuntsholing

Phuentsholing
ཕུན་ཚོགས་གླིང་
Phuentsholing
Town
Phuntsholing, Bhutan
Phuntsholing, Bhutan
Phuentsholing is located in Bhutan
Phuentsholing
Phuentsholing
Location in Bhutan
Coordinates: 26°51′0″N 89°23′0″E / 26.85000°N 89.38333°E / 26.85000; 89.38333
Country Bhutan
DzongkhagChukha District
GewogPhuentsholing, Sampheling
Area
 • Total15.6 km2 (6.0 sq mi)
Elevation
293 m (961 ft)
Population
 (2017)
 • Total27,658
Time zoneUTC+6 (BTT)
Websitepcc.bt

Phuntsholing, also spelled as Phuentsholing (Dzongkha: ཕུན་ཚོགས་གླིང་), is a border town in southern Bhutan and is the administrative seat of Chukha District.[1][2] The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog.[3]

Phuentsholing adjoins the Indian town of Jaigaon, and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy. The town had the headquarters of the Bank of Bhutan previously but shifted to Thimphu. In 2017, Phuentsholing had a population of 27,658.[4]

History

On 5 April 1964, reformist Prime Minister Jigme Dorji was assassinated in Phuntsholing by monarchist cadres as the king lay ill in Switzerland. The Dorji family was subsequently put under close watch.[5] It was 1958 when the first one-storeyed cottage was constructed to house a shop. The late Prime Minister, Jigme Dorji informed Phuentsholing residents that concrete houses could be constructed. Tashi group of companies constructed the first concrete house, followed by Tibetans and Indians. Some of the structures that exist to this day are the buildings housing Bhutan Enterprise, Jatan Prasad Lal Chand Prasad shop and a beauty parlour near Zantdopelri lhakhang. After the announcement, 18 shops were built around Zangdopelri area. The Zangdopelri area was a bus terminal, and on Saturday a market would be assembled. Apart from the cottages, there were several huts and Phuentsholing was beginning to grow.[6]

Geography

Climate

Phuntsholing has a sultry tropical monsoon climate, strongly influenced by the South Asian monsoon. It has an average annual precipitation of 3,953 millimetres (155.6 in). Summers are long, muggy and very rainy, while winters are short, very mild and dry. This climate is described by the Köppen climate classification as Am. On 27 August 1997, Phuntsholing recorded the highest temperature ever in Bhutan, at 40 °C (104 °F).[7]

Climate data for Phuntsholing (1996-2017)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.0
(91.4)
33.8
(92.8)
38.0
(100.4)
37.0
(98.6)
39.0
(102.2)
38.0
(100.4)
39.0
(102.2)
40.0
(104.0)
39.0
(102.2)
38.0
(100.4)
36.9
(98.4)
35.0
(95.0)
40.0
(104.0)
Average high °C (°F) 23.9
(75.0)
26.6
(79.9)
29.8
(85.6)
31.1
(88.0)
32.3
(90.1)
32.3
(90.1)
31.9
(89.4)
32.3
(90.1)
31.7
(89.1)
31.2
(88.2)
28.7
(83.7)
25.4
(77.7)
29.8
(85.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.6
(65.5)
21.5
(70.7)
24.2
(75.6)
25.6
(78.1)
27.0
(80.6)
27.7
(81.9)
27.8
(82.0)
28.1
(82.6)
27.4
(81.3)
26.2
(79.2)
23.3
(73.9)
20.2
(68.4)
24.8
(76.6)
Average low °C (°F) 13.4
(56.1)
16.3
(61.3)
18.5
(65.3)
20.1
(68.2)
21.7
(71.1)
23.1
(73.6)
23.7
(74.7)
23.8
(74.8)
23.1
(73.6)
21.1
(70.0)
17.9
(64.2)
15.0
(59.0)
19.8
(67.7)
Record low °C (°F) 5.0
(41.0)
9.0
(48.2)
12.0
(53.6)
14.3
(57.7)
15.1
(59.2)
16.0
(60.8)
17.0
(62.6)
19.0
(66.2)
17.0
(62.6)
14.0
(57.2)
10.0
(50.0)
7.5
(45.5)
5.0
(41.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 17.3
(0.68)
31.1
(1.22)
80.2
(3.16)
216.5
(8.52)
380.3
(14.97)
807.2
(31.78)
962.6
(37.90)
779.1
(30.67)
492.6
(19.39)
162.9
(6.41)
13.2
(0.52)
10.4
(0.41)
3,953.4
(155.63)
Average relative humidity (%) 72.4 71.3 70.0 74.7 80.1 83.8 88.5 87.1 84.4 75.6 70.7 72.4 77.6
Source: National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology[8]

Architecture and culture

The India-Bhutan border at Phuntsholing clearly separates two very different peoples and cultures. Jaigaon across the border is larger, bustling and loud, similar to many other West Bengal centres of commerce, albeit with many Bhutanese shoppers. Phuntsholing is uniquely more urban than other Bhutanese towns as it is the Bhutan financial, industrial and trading capital. It has been affected a little by the neighbouring culture, but is distinctly far more quiet and orderly than its neighbour.

Economy

The majority of goods traded into Bhutan transit through Phuntsholing, making the town the gateway to Bhutan for trade with India. The border with China is closed.

Indian border crossing

The ornate border gate between Bhutan and India, seen from Bhutan
Bhutan India border seen from Jaigaon, India

The border is separated by a long wall with a single Bhutanese gate. Locals can sometimes even cross without being asked for papers. Tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives do not need visa to enter Bhutan but have to show proof of identity such as a passport or voter ID card and apply for a permit at Phuntsholing to enter Bhutan. Other foreigners need a visa presented by a hired registered tour guide. The entry gate into the town is manned by the Sashastra Seema Bal and Bhutanese Army guards. The terrain inclines soon after the gate.

Transportation

The town does not have an airport facilities or railway but Indian Railways has railway stations nearby. A 20 km (12 mi) railway track has been planned from the nearest railway stone Hashimara in North Bengal to Phuntsholing.

Siliguri is the nearest large city in India. New Jalpaiguri and New Alipurduar are the nearest large railway junctions. Buses are available from the towns in North Bengal. Buses are operated by both Indian based companies and Bhutanese government. Once at Phuntsholing, the Lateral Road gives travelers access to the rest of Bhutan.

From almost anywhere in the city, one can see the road to Thimphu snaking up the hillside, and in the evening it is easy to see the headlights of distant vehicles heading towards the capital. Opposite the big ground PSA is the road that connects the rest of the cities of Bhutan. The Lateral Road, Bhutan's main highway, begins in Phuntsholing and winds some 636 kilometres (395 mi)[9] to Trashigang in the east.

See also

References

  1. ^ Pelden, Sonam (2010-05-07). "Cabinet Approves Thromdes". Bhutan Observer online. Archived from the original on 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  2. ^ Dorji, Kezang (2010-11-26). "LG Elections Finalized". Bhutan Observer online. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  3. ^ "Chiwogs in Chukha" (PDF). Election Commission, Government of Bhutan. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  4. ^ "Bhutan: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. Retrieved 2008-07-11.[dead link]
  5. ^ Ram Rahul (1997). Royal Bhutan: a political history. Vikas. pp. 94–95. ISBN 81-259-0232-5.
  6. ^ "Becoming the Gateway to Bhutan | KuenselOnline". Archived from the original on 2015-07-24.
  7. ^ "The heat has got to the Himalayas". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  8. ^ "Climate Data Book of Bhutan, 2018" (PDF). National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Directions from Phuentsholing to Trashigang". Google Maps. Retrieved 2021-07-20.

Coordinates: 26°51′N 89°23′E / 26.850°N 89.383°E / 26.850; 89.383

External links

  • Phuentsholing travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • 'Himalayas' Sentry', Travelogue in The Indian Express, 21-09-08, by Arjun Razdan
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phuntsholing&oldid=1111903143"