Norden bypass road: a new hangout place of P/ling residents

This new bridge in Phuentsholing has become a must-visit site for walkers and young people

With the gate to the neighboring border town of Jaigaon, India, closed for almost two years now, Phuentsholing’s new bridge, also known as the Norden bypass road – a 120m long bridge over the Omchhu, has become a new hangout place of the town’s residents.

Though the height of the bridge is quite high, it’s the length of the bridge that has attracted most of the young people.

This new bridge in Phuentsholing has become a must-visit site for walkers and young people, who use the view at and from the bridge to make videos and capture photos.

It is 6pm and drizzling outside, but that doesn’t deter Sherab Dorji, 23, and his friends, who have been eagerly waiting to visit the Norden bypass road. He is ready with his camera, tripod, and an umbrella.

Sherab Dorji said he has been visiting the Norden bypass road for almost two years as it provides a good scenario for photos and videos.

“It’s a good way to wash away our mental stress and physical pressure as the bridge stands over the Omchhu,” he added.

“Since we all know that after the completion of the bridge the traffic has eased in the town, and for me I spend most of my days here taking pictures,” he said, adding that sometimes the bridge gets filled with young people who get busy with their TikTok video and adults who come for walk or jogging.

Like Sherab Dorji, there are many young people who visit the site just to have a glance of the view from the bridge.

For 15-year-old Yangtsho, while she visits the Norden bypass road as always, this time she is planning to make some new TikTok videos with her friends.

She said she used to come here thrice a week with her friends after school.

“From the top of the bridge, one can see the old Omchhu, reflecting the rays of the sun,” she said.

And now with the school closed for the winter break, Yangtsho said she often visits the bridge to make TikTok videos as she thinks the view from the bridge adds quality to her videos.

“It’s not just me, but many couples, families and even athletics are visiting the site,” said Yangtsho, adding that she made around four videos today for her TikTok.

“I think the new site will also attract tourists in the future,” she added.

Like Sherab Dorji and Yangtsho, there are many other people in different age categories who often visit the Norden bypass road. It has perhaps helped people by giving some hope during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thirty-year-old Aita Subba also visits the site, but only after his office hours.

He said the new bridge has its own charm and that it automatically brings in more people.

A-seven-year boy, Namsam also likes to visit the site with his father. “I made my father go with me here because I can see a lot of people at the new bridge,” he said.  Meanwhile, the new bridge has not only helped reduce traffic congestion in the town, but it has also helped bring the residents of the town together, even if it is just to enjoy the view and spend time at the bridge. 

“I often go for a walk with my dog but only after office hours,” he added.

Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing