Bhutan’s historic isolation has everything to do with the inaccessibility of its location, lying in the Eastern Himalayas between India and Tibet.
With the exception of Haa which has a climate suited to livestock raising, western Bhutan is a land of rice paddies and orchards. These valleys are the domain of the Ngalong, ‘the first to rise’, meaning the first to convert to Buddhism. They speak Dzongkha, the ‘language of the dzong’, now the national language of Bhutan.
Combining aman, the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’, and kora or ‘circular pilgrimage’ in Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language, Amankora is a unique circuit of lodges set throughout the Kingdom of Bhutan’s central and western valleys. Descending from 7,000-metre peaks in the north to the low-lying plains of the south, Bhutan’s rivers have forged deep valleys separated by high mountain passes. Historically isolated, each valley’s scenic beauty and topography affords visitors an opportunity for unique journeys of discovery between them.
Amankora Paro contrasts rustic elements with contemporary design. Its architecture features natural rammed-earth walls, gently sloping roofs and wood-panelled interiors. Centred by a large flagstone courtyard, a lime-washed stone pavilion houses the living and dining room facilities, library and outdoor terrace, all warmed by fireplaces.
Situated in a blue pine forest in the upper reaches of the Motithang area of the Thimphu Valley, the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is close to the capital’s sights and shopping, while remaining a quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the Kingdom’s main commercial centre.
Situated a short drive north of the impressive 17th-century Punakha Dzong and Puntsho Pelri Palace, Amankora Punakha is accessed by crossing a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu (Mother River). The quaint, three-storey structure with its preserved vegetable-dye wall paintings is now the combined common guest area. The Dining Room is situated on the ground floor, and the upper floors offer intimate relaxation areas and a traditional altar room for prayer and meditation.
In the picturesque but little-visited Phobjikha Valley near the village of Gangtey, the eight-suite Amankora Gangtey is set on a forested knoll with sweeping views of the broad valley and the 16th century Gangtey Goemba (monastery). The eight Suites are identical to those of Amankora Thimphu, providing an open-plan living and bedroom area with views across the valley.
Adjacent to the first and second King of Bhutan’s palace, Wangdich-holing, Amankora Bumthang lies within the town of Jakar in the Choekhor Valley in an area commonly known as Bumthang.