|Gewogs||Phuentsholing, Sampheling Gewogs|
|Elevation||961 ft (293 m)|
|Time zone||BTT (UTC+6)|
Phuntsholing (Dzongkha: ཕུན་ཚོགས་གླིང་, Wylie: phun tshogs gling, Roman Dzongkha: Phüntsho'ling), or Phuentsholing, is a border town in southern Bhutan, and is the administrative seat (dzongkhag thromde) of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog. Phuentsholing adjoins the Indian town of Jaigaon, 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.
On April 5, 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.
Architecture and culture
The border clearly separates two very different peoples and cultures. Jaigaon large town is bustling and loud, similar to many other West Bengal centers of commerce, albeit with many conspicuous Bhutanese shoppers. Phuntsholing is uniquely more urban than other Bhutanese towns, due to being the Bhutan financial, Industrial and trading capital having absorbed the neighboring culture, but distinctly far more quiet and orderly than its neighbor. While, Jaigaon is much larger and well planned city boosted with buildings, parks roads whereas Phuntsholing is dominated by cramped building with unproperly planned roads. Phuntsholing also hosts Bhutan's housing projects for Bhutanese refugees.
As the majority of goods traded go into Bhutan, and as it hosts the most accessible Indian marketplace to Bhutan, Jaigaon is much larger and receives far more visitors.
Indian Border Crossing
There is a stark contrast in the culture across the border, which is separated by a long wall with a single Bhutanese gate. Locals can sometimes even cross without being asked for papers, but visitors without an Indian passport will need a visa presented by a hired registered tour guide, Tourists form India, Bangladesh and Maldives can enter the conutry only with Voters ID Card. Visa must be needed which is available on entry to Bhutan for Indian, Bangladeshi, maldivian Citizens. The gate is manned by Indian Army and Bhutanese Army guards. The terrain inclines soon after the gate.
Approachable only by road, the city is connected to major Indian Railways node, NJP (New Jalpaiguri) being the biggest and major junction. Apart from that, there are also stations at HSA (Hasimara) and NOQ (New Alipurduar)Jn, the former being the most nearest railway station (only 18km from Phuntsholing). From the northern towns of West Bengal, one has to take a bus from any of the local bus terminals to Phuentsholing. Buses are run both by travel Indian and Bhutanese government operators. 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 rest of cities of Bhutan.The Lateral Road, Bhutan's main highway, begins in Phuntsholing and winds some 557 kilometres (346 mi) to Trashigang in the east.
- Pelden, Sonam (2010-05-07). "Cabinet Approves Thromdes". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
- Dorji, Kezang (2010-11-26). "LG Elections Finalized". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
- "Chiwogs in Chukha" (PDF). Election Commission, Government of Bhutan. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Bhutan: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- Ram Rahul (1997). Royal Bhutan: a political history. Vikas. pp. 94–95. ISBN 81-259-0232-5.
- "Directions from Phuentsholing to Trashigang". Google maps. Google. Retrieved 2011-07-25.[dead link]