Bepzur Chukpo’s Mansion In Bumthang Is A Rich Depository Of Bhutanese Culture And Lifestyle
While there are no existing written documents about the history of the house, people believe it to be the home of Zimpon Thraipai Raza, who served as the chamberlain of the first king of Bhutan.
By Kipchu | BBS
Bepzur Chukpo’s Mansion, a family home turned into a museum at Tang Gewog in Bumthang consists of 27 rooms and a huge storehouse. This three storey building is a rich depository of medieval Bhutanese culture and lifestyle.
Just five minutes’ drive uphill from Tang Gewog connectivity road, visitors will be greeted by 67-year-old Dorji Lhamo who is now the owner of the gigantic house.
She reckons that the house was built six generations ago. While there are no existing written documents about the history of the house, people believe it to be the home of Zimpon Thraipai Raza, who served as the chamberlain of the first king of Bhutan.
What can one expect to see in this historical house
Inside the house are various displays of traditional ware, baskets, clothes and tools among others. Dorji Lhamo gladly took her visitors to every room of the house and gave interesting descriptions.
“This is what we used in olden days in place of the beam balance. We used to measure meat and other things with this tool. There were not many clothes then, we used this as a pillow. We place our tego or hat on it and sleep,” said Dorji Lhamo.
Inside one of the rooms is a display of the tools used for making the famous traditional Bhutanese food known as Puta, a noodle made out of buckwheat. Dorji Lhamo recalled how life used to be when people ate mostly traditional cuisines.
“We had a harsh life then. We had to carry rice and chilli across the Rudungla. It was Khuley (pancake) or Keptang for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, we had Choydam. These days, children get to eat rice for every meal. I think we are living in luxury under His Majesty’s leadership”.
Historical value of the heritage mansion recognised by the authorities
Dorji Lhamo once wanted to dismantle the house to build a new one. However, the Wangchuck Centennial Park came to its rescue and restored the house in 2011. She now lives next door with her husband and children.
Her siblings have also moved out to settle in new homes nearby. They gather once a year in their ancestral home to celebrate the Thuksey Dawa Kuchoe, a ritual performed in the memory of Thuksey Rinpoche who was believed to be the reincarnation of Tertoen Pema Lingpa’s son, Thuksey Dawa.
The house has a footprint of Thuksey Rinpoche embedded on the floor of its altar which is forbidden to the visitors.
Though the glory of the house has been fading over the generations, it still is an archive of the prized culture and the rich history that the people of Tang valley hold dearly.
This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.