Trongsa Dzong Bhutan. I have traveled to Bhutan three times, approximately spending a month in the country. I have also worked with a local travel operator as a consultant for three years. If you need advice or help, planning a trip to Bhutan, please email me at Ric @ GlobalGaz.com
Calling all Disney location scouts. I have found the setting for your next fairy-tale, animation film, Trongsa Dzong. Right now, I am envisioning a princess swirling around in the courtyard while a sweeping soundtrack plays in the background.
What is a Dzong? It is a combination of a fortress, monastery, and an administrative section. There are 20 Dzongs spread across Bhutan. The Dzongs are still used actively today, but there is no need for the fortress aspect in today’s peaceful climate. Most visitors to Bhutan will see three fantastic Dzongs in the west of Bhutan. The three most popular Dzongs are in Thimpu, Paro, and Punakha. But on my third visit to Bhutan, I spread my wings and explored the east and central parts of Bhutan.
The height of Dzong construction was in the 17th century. Most Dzongs are built on the side or tops of mountains to provide an eagle-eye of approaching enemies. The Dzongs are stunning sights in brilliant mountain settings. The Dzongs are also often the site of a religious festivals known as tsechu. Try and time your trip to Bhutan during a tsechu.
The town of Trongsa is located in the heart of Bhutan, in the center of Bhutan. The Chökhor Raptse Dzong at Trongsa which was constructed in 1644. It is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mangde Chhu, a deep green gorge with a river running through it. Above the Dzong is a watchtower called Ta Dzong, to spy for approaching enemies. This strategic town and Dzong for centuries controlled the east-west trade. In fact, in the past, the road literally went through the Dzong. The massive doors could be closed, bisecting the country into two.
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The House of Wangchuck, the royal family, reunified Bhutan in 1907 and has ruled Bhutan ever since. Prior to unifying the country and moving the seat of government to today’s current capital of Thimpu, the House of Wangchuck ruled the area of Trongsa. And in fact, today, the King of Bhutan first becomes the governor of Trongsa before ascending to the throne.
I entered the small town of Trongsa with only 2,000 residents with my guide and driver. We reached the crest of the mountain and I gazed down to see the magnificent Trongsa Dzong. This is the largest Dzong in Bhutan. I have visited seven different Dzongs throughout Bhutan, but I was immediately smitten. I never tire of admiring the beautiful architecture and details. Trongsa was no different, in fact, maybe its my favorite?
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Besides traveling to every country in the world, I was pondering a new bucket list. Should I attempt to visit every Dzong in Bhutan? I am not sure how many people have been fortunate enough to do that.
I eagerly scampered up to the Dzong’s massive white walls to begin my exploration. Unlike the Dzongs found in the west like Thimpu and Punakha, the Trongsa Dzong was virtually empty. I saw only a couple of tourists, and only a handful of monks. It was tranquil.
If you are fortunate enough to visit Bhutan, make the extra effort to travel to Trongsa, the heart of Bhutan.
Trongsa Dzong Bhutan
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