The inhabitants of Trashigang district are mainly Tshangla (Sharchop)s, which means "easterner" in Dzongkha, the national language. The Sharchops appear to mix Proto Tibeto-Burman and Tibetan blood whereas the Ngalops of central and western Bhutan appear to be mainly Tibetan.
The dominant language of Trashigang is Tshangla (Sharchopkha), the lingua franca of eastern Bhutan. Two significant minority languages are spoken in the far eastern region of the district: the East Bodish Dakpa language and the Southern Bodish Brokpa language. Dakpa is spoken by descendants of yakherding communities, and may in fact be a divergent dialect of Brokpake, heavily influenced by Dzalakha.
Economy and education
While it has no major urban area, Trashigang dzongkhag has the densest population in Bhutan. It used to be part of an important trade route connecting Assam to Tibet, and still is a primary route for Bhutanese trade with India. Towns include Trashigang (the district capital), Radi, Rangjung, and Phongmey. The district produces a lot of rice and lavender.
Trashigang Dzong, or fortress, was built in 1659 by the third Druk Desi Chögyal Mingyur Tenpa to defend against Tibetan invaders. Because of its altitude invading armies remarked that "it is not a dzong on the ground, it is in the sky".
Rangjung, 16 km east of the district capital, is the site of Rangjung Ösel Chöling Monastery, established by Dungse Garab Dorje Rinpoche in 1989. The temple contains particularly fine images of Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita and Chögyal Trisong Detsen (Khen-Lop-Chö sum).
The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, one of ten protected areas of Bhutan, was created in part to protect the migoi, a type of yeti, in whose existence most Bhutanese believe. The sanctuary covers the eastern third of the district (the gewogs of Merag and Sakteng), and is connected via biological corridor to Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary in Samdrup Jongkhar District to the south.
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