Kaja Throm is one of the newest spaces for people to visit in Thimphu. Built under the command of His Majesty the King, to bring together farmers, eateries, local entrepreneurs and entertainment the beautiful local market showcases the best of what locals have to offer to visitors. Here are a few things you can look forward to during your visit.
A Fun Market Place
The Desuups have also worked tirelessly to make this market the way it is today and you will see them handling some stalls and food stations. Consisting of a long row of wooden stalls, sitting benches and a stage for entertainment, Kaja Throm is clean and supports local vendors.
It starts from the parking lot of the market and goes all the way to the Tourism Council building. There are several stalls selling different kinds of food, including cereal, meat products, and flowers. The covered walkway protects both vendors and shoppers from the elements. There are lots of art installations along the footpath, and they seem to be very exciting for the little ones who are with their parents. There is a popcorn station right along the pathways.
Meet Bhutan’s Local Farmers
Kaja Throm is a haven for local farmers from different regions of the country. From the southern plains of Tsirang, the rugged farmlands of Wangduephodrang, the ricefields of Punakha to highlands of Haa, you’ll meet local farmers and families bringing the best their region has to offer in one market place in the capital. If you pay attention, each vendor will be communicating with their eachother in their regional dialects. You can interact with the families and ask them what their communities are known for. You might see them displayed right infront of you as well.
Baskets of Nature’s Goodness
There are various vegetable and fruit stalls that sell seasonal goods and if you are not sure, the color of these fresh abundance is enough to catch your eye. From refreshing greens to bright oranges and smoking red, all the tasty colors are here. Talking about seasonal goodies, autumn is definitely a season for few of the unusual ingredients. We found wild orchids that were considered to be a food to my surprise instead of flowers. These unblossomed, green long stalks were going for Nu.300 per bunch. They are called ‘olosey’ in Dzongkha and the vendor tells me they are delicious. Another unusual looking was the ‘churu’ meaning riverweeds similar in texture to seaweed. These are especially from Sephu, Wangdue Phodrang and cost about Nu.500 per stack. If you’re confused about some of the tropical fruits in plastic cases, those are imported from India and Thailand.
Kaja Throm is for everyone, epecially children. Kids love the dinosaur park and the many animal installations at the riverside Market. Explore the lanes in the market to find each of these installations. It’s a fun activity with kids. Prehistoric creatures such as the gigantic herbivore Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex roam this park. If your kid is excited to learn more, a brief description is provided on a plaque near the set up.
From fun animal displays to extended lanes that take you to the riverside, the market place is a space if you enjoy walk in the park along with activities and things to see. At the end of the market, there’s another garden park on the right side with a cafe inside. You can enjoy tea and snacks under the gigantic peepal trees in the park next to the river.
Vast Art Gallery
At the end of the market lane you can visit Thimphu’s famous voluntary arts studio gallery (VAST). A haven for local artists you’ll find a small gallery displaying the artworks of Thimphu’s many local artists. It is also a hub for Thimphu’s small arts community often hanging out at the cafes in the market near the gallery. The installations around the market are also created by the talents at VAST.
Food and Drinks
There are also different stalls where food is available to buy from Desuups who have been trained in cooking and hospitality. There’s a n open air food court with a large, traditional cloth gazebo overhead. There are also different stalls selling everything from burgers to ramen.
The delicious smells of grilled meat and fried food fill the area. A food court with wooden picnic benches in the middle and a small stage in the corner where live music can happen in the evenings is the perfect place to relax after shopping.
If you manage to reach all the way to the end of the market by the VAST building, you’ll find a small, quaint café decorated with flowers of all shapes and colors. This café is called the Hidden Gayul Garden because it’s a nice place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack in the company of flowers by the Wangchhu river. The walls of the café are filled with artwork.
Whether you enjoy exploring the goodness of local farmers’ markets, street food, local music or walk around art galleries, Kaja Throm is one stop space for all.