Wangdue Phodrang is a town and capital (dzongkhag thromde) of Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. It is located in Thedtsho Gewog.
The town shares its name with the dzong, built in 1638 which dominates the district. The name is said to have been given by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who was searching for the best location for a dzong to prevent incursions from the south. At the chosen spot the Shabdrung encountered a boy named Wangdi playing beside the river and hence named the dzong "Wangdi's Palace". The dzong was burnt down by a fire in the afternoon of 24th June 2012. However, as the dzong was being renovated at the time of the fire, most of the historic relics had been put into storage and so were saved from destruction.
There are three paved roads in Wangdue Phodrang dzongkhag. The Lateral Road enters from the west at Dochu La Pass, crosses the Pana Tsang Chhu at Wangdue Phodrang dzong, and continues east to Tongsa. One spur road heads north from Wangdue Phodrang to the dzong at Punakha and slightly beyond. This becomes the footpath to Gasa. A second spur departs the Lateral Road near the Pele La pass halfway between Wangdue and Tongsa, traveling south a short distance to Gangteng Gonpa and the Phobjika valley where the rare Black-necked Cranes (grus nigricollis) may be found.
Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་; Wylie transliteration: ʼbrug-yul "Druk Yul"), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by the Republic of India. Further west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while further south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan's capital and largest city is Thimphu.
Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.