Infrastructure: Five large Chukhor manis (water prayer wheels) located below Wangdicholing Dzong will begin turning soon again.

The Chukhor manis have not turned for sometime now. The drain that once fed them is dry and the blades of the water wheels are missing.

This is because the drain is under renovation.

Bumthang’s dzongkhag engineer, Yeshey Dorji said they have already completed concrete and plastering work of the drain. “Water will reach the wheels soon,” he said.

Residents of the area said the Chukhor manis existed since the reign of the second King.

Although it was not known exactly when the Chukhor manis were constructed, one of the eldest residents of the area, Rinzin Dorji, said one of the retired droenyers built one of the Chukhor manis, while Ashi Choki constructed the other four later.

There were two water mills at first: one that belonged to the King and the other for the people of Wangdicholing.

Rinzin Dorji said people used to drink water and wash at the Chukhor mani until they received drinking water supply facilities. “I have seen the King’s beetle leaves being left  under the water there to keep them fresh,” he said.

While the drain was only meant for the Chukhor manis only, some people also used it for irrigating their vegetable gardens.

Thromdey Thuemi, Karma Lekden said they had to divert the water due to the ongoing drain renovation work.

Rinzin Dorji said it will be nice to hear the bells of the Chukhor manis again.

The Wangdicholing Dzong renovation project will also cover the renovation of the manis.

Nima Wangdi | Chamkhar