I think I am a pontist. I have always been fascinated by bridges and there are quite a few in Bhutan which are old and with interesting history.
This bridge is in the Paro valley and is a popular tourist spot.Drubthop Thangto Gyalpo bridge is a suspension bridge over the Paro Chu and is over 600 years old.It was washed away in a flood in 1969 and was restored in 2005.It was made by the legendary Thangtong Gyalpo who had built many bridges all over Tibet and Bhutan and was also a physician,blacksmith and the founder of Tibetan opera.I think he can be called as the Iron Man of Bhutan.
A narrow path off the Paro Thimpu highway takes you to the entrance of the bridge tower .A prominently displayed board cautions you.
I was very excited and took the first few steps without losing balance.It was a treat to see the gushing waters and the majestic mountains.
Soon it started to swing as more people got on the bridge.So I had to slow down and watch the steps.
You can make out the 600 year old iron chains reinforced with the new iron rods and wire mesh.It is a bit unnerving to look down the wide gaps.This gentleman did not seem to mind and am sure he found my slow progress amusing.
I must have taken 10minutes to get across to the bridge tower.It is a two storey structure with beautiful murals of Buddha,Guru Rinpoche and the bridgemaker Thangtong Gyalpo. Some parts of the old iron chains are kept there.The windowsill has a collection of tsatsas-the special memorials.
As you come out of the tower you can see the Tachog Lhakhang on the hill top and this was also built by Thangto Gyalpo.It is a private monastery now and is maintained by his descendants.
There is a wooden bridge near the iron bridge and this is meant for the cattle.Trust the Bhutanese to be kind to all sentinent beings.After the swinging iron bridge this was a cakewalk.