Nima Wangdi | Barshong

After a bumpy and tiring ride through a precarious Naro gewog centre road in Thimphu, a tall and huge ruin appears on a hill to the left side of the road. You are in Barshong.

Rest of the structures, including the gewog office, start to show up on the gentle slope as one takes the last bend at Zangdopelri Gortab (Turn) toward the settlement crossing a creek that flows past the road.

A national flag flutters high in the chilly wind of Barshong, cautioning the visitors of the approaching official premise.

Going by the height of the ruins today, the dzong may have had three floors.

The place was called Barshong as it fell right in the middle of Thimphu and Lingzhi.

Next to the dzong is the dratshang with the hostels and lhakhang which houses some 30 monks.

Lam Chencho said that there are no written records about the dzong; everything was burnt along with the dzong. “The dzong is believed to be about 300 years old. The walls still look strong and intact.”

He said the Barshong Dzong is believed to have been built by Choegyal Mingyur Tempa around same time as Gasa Tashi Thomen Dzong, Lingzhi Yuegyal Dzong and Drukgyal Dzong under the command of Zhabdrung.

Lam said it would be of great use to the villagers if the dzong could be restored with relics so that funeral rites, rimdos and annual rituals could be conducted here. “We initially planned that way but this was not approved.”

“Today, one of the rooms in the hostel is turned into a lhakhang, and all the religious activities and rites are being organized there,” Lam said.

The dzong was engulfed in the forest before the dratshang was established in 2015. Many did not know the existence of the dzong.

The dratshang originally was established at Lingzhi Dzong but was shifted to the present place after the earthquake caused destruction to Lingzhi dzong.

Lam also said that there is Shedra till Class IV with Zhirim till Class VIII. He said the size and the design of Barshong Dzong is similar to Lingzhi Dzong.

Naro Gup Goem Tshering said that Barshong Dzong falls under the category of Dra Dzong (A dzong meant to fight off enemies.) He said the gewog does not have plans for a major restoration of the dzong. “We will just install new roof.”

The dratshang is meant for Soe, Naro, and Lingzhi gewogs.

It was once proposed that a monastery be built in the place of the dzong in the 11th Five Year Plan. However, the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs did not approve it saying that the ruins of the dzong must be preserved.