MAIN STORY: The 27.5km multipurpose trail from Taba to Buddha Point is the new love for biking enthusiasts in Thimphu.
The newly constructed trail provides an opportunity to connect the individuals with the nature.
Circling the Thimphu valley, the trails runs through sun-dappled pine forests.
The long and winding trail that begins from Taba, goes up the hill and snakes through the mountains. The trail is yet soft for the cyclists. At some point of the trail, the elevation is almost at an angle of about 60 degree, making it difficult for the cyclists to climb. But the riders get the most beautiful reward – the most picturesque view of the valley.
However, sudden encounter with wild animals intimidate individuals from continuing ahead. Still, some of the people find solace in the beauty of the nature and want to explore more. The thrill and danger that comes along with the trail is at times overwhelming. Riders find the rocky corners of the trail at the Kuenselphodrang and the slushy spots at some point of the trail that get no sun most difficult.
Ride becomes challenging especially at night. As the light provides only a limited peripheral vision, bikers have to depend on their sixth sense.
But bikers have found an unusual challenge in these newly constructed trails encircling the town. The adrenaline pumping rides through the narrow and deep forest provides individuals a sense of achievement at the end.
Chief of Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED), Damber S Rai, said the idea of creating a multipurpose trail was in place five year ago but couldn’t materialise until this year.
“We simplified the idea this year and began the construction of the multipurpose trail around Thimphu for the urbanites,” Damber S Rai said.
The work on the construction of the 60km multipurpose trail began on July 4 with the Prime Minister and 40 volunteers.
To celebrate His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s 60th birth anniversary, the construction of another 3.5km trail from Kuenselphodrang Nature Park to Depsi was contracted for Nu 1.9 million.
More than 3,000 volunteers from 30 agencies, Damber S Rai said, completed constructing 27.5km multipurpose trail around Thimphu.
“This is the new total construction (31km) done by the volunteers and the rest of the trail, which is 29km, comprises of existing feeder roads and highways,” he said.
The Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay inaugurated the multipurpose trail on November 8 along with the agriculture ministry officials.
The agriculture minster, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, said the ministry is grateful for all the volunteers and sponsors that have contributed for the construction of the multipurpose trail.
“Although the ministry took the lead, such an initiative would not have been successful without unstinted support from you all. We are grateful to have finished the construction on time,” Lyonpo said.
The multipurpose trail will provide multiple benefits to general public, especially for Thimphu residents. It will serve as a great place for hiking, picnicking, jogging and trail biking among many, Lyonpo added.
“Apart from recreational benefits, the trail will also act as fire lines and provide easy access for fire fighters during dry season. This will be a symbolic and befitting gift to Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the global environmental champion and an avid cyclist,” Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.
Thimphu is expanding rapidly and it is getting congested with many houses and increasing traffic, Damber S Rai said.
“City dwellers now feel the need to go outside, relax, experience outdoor through walking or cycling, which is good for one’s health,” the chief said. “The multipurpose trail will be perfect for the city dwellers to experience outside with fresh air and clean environment.”
If one can wake up early, one can also go for bird watching as well, Damber S Rai said.
NRED officials, however, cautions the urbanites to be wary while travelling the new multipurpose trail that was completed recently.
“Since the first phase of the construction is completed, works to rectify the trail still needs to be done,” NRED officials said. “The soil has been dug recently and hence are loose, so one should be careful while travelling on the trail and utmost safety should be taken.”
NRED officials said they need around two months for the rectification works to be completed to make the trail safe for the city dwellers.
We will inform the public once the rectification work is completed so that people can safely explore the multipurpose trail, Damber S Rai said.
Thinley Zangmo and Younten Tshedup