Drukgyel Dzong Which Used To House Sacred Bhutanese Documents Lost to A Fire In 1951, To Be Restored By 2022
The reconstruction works began in April 2016 after the command of His Majesty The King to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness (HRH) The Gyalsey.
By Rinchen Zangmo | Kuensel
According to the project officials, the reconstruction work on Drukgyel dzong (monastery) in Paro is 40 percent complete. The work is estimated to be finished by December 2022.
The reconstruction works began in April 2016 after the command of His Majesty The King to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness (HRH) The Gyalsey. It was also done to commemorate the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the country in 1616 AD as well as the birth year of Guru Rinpoche.
Significance of the Drukgyel dzong
Built in 1649 to honour Bhutan’s victory over the combined military forces from Tibet and Mongolia, the dzong is believed to be the first of its kind in Bhutan. It was also used to house sacred documents that were lost to a fire in 1951.
Utse, which is the main part of the dzong, was inaugurated last year. It coincided with the first birthday of the HRH The Gyalsey. Utse’s reconstruction started on August 26 in 2016.
The entire reconstruction project involves geotechnical work, topographical survey, model construction, dismantling of ruins and the disposal of debris. The project also involves more than 200 Bhutanese who are working at the site.
The project manager, Namgay Dorji, said that archaeological survey and soil tests were conducted for about three months in 2016 in order to restore and reconstruct the dzong.
The progress so far
“Two of the seven phases of the reconstruction project had been completed,” he said. “Workers are now occupied in the third and fourth phase.”
Works such as electrification, mud plastering, whitewashing and painting, fixation of the floorboard, door shutter and glass frames are being carried out on parts of the dzong, which are completed.
Stone slabs (Doleps) are also being laid at the basement and courtyards along with the construction of drainage system.
Namgay Dorji said that an assessment would be carried out for the other parts of the dzong to check the strength of the walls.
He said that although the requirement is to work for eight hours a day, they actually work from 7:30am to 5pm. “They also work overtime from 5pm till 9pm every week except on Sundays.”
Challenges faced in the reconstruction project
While the project manager stated that they do not have difficulties in getting stones and other materials needed for the construction, their main problem is the shortage of timber.
“Lots of timber is needed for the roof. We managed to obtain them from Haa.”
Namgay Dorji said that Nu 500 Million (M) is allocated for the project and about Nu 116.255M has been utilised until June this year.
“We get a total of about Nu 50M a year.”
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.