The people of Dangkhar village in Trong gewog, Zhemgang, surrendered Dangkhar community lodge to the gewog after they could not operate the lodge.

The representatives from the dzongkhag administration and the gewog took over the operations of the lodge.

Dangkhar, located below Zhemgang-Trongsa highway, is a 15th century village surrounded by rich flora and fauna.

The village is habitat to some of the rare and endangered wildlife such as Golden langur, Rufous Necked Hornbill, Red Panda, and Bengal Tigers.

Dangkhar was made a traditional tourism village with basic amenities, luxury tent camp, eco-lodge, homestays, traditional medicinal bath, storytelling, folk songs, local food, and drinks as part of project to improve livelihood of rural poor in Bhutan in 2009.

Three women from the village were operating the lodge on behalf of the community until it was surrendered.

Ugyen Choden, 35, who was one of the operators, said not a single guest came to the lodge for the past one year.

“We had to clean the lodge and do other works,”  she said. “But we didn’t earn anything.”

She said lodge was built on a private land and the community had to pay rent of Nu 12, 000 a year. With no visitors coming, payment became difficult.

“We paid from the community’s saving and finally decided to surrender the lodge,” Ugyen Choden said.

The landowner, Dorji Dema, said she would dismantle the structures and grow fodder. She added the structures couldn’t be used since they are not maintained.

She said the lodge failed because of bad road connecting the lodge from the town. “The lodge used to get a few people in the past,” she said. “The best option was to shut it down.”

Trong Gup, Wangay, said there was a problem between the landowner and the operators.

He said the community was given an option if the landowner wants to take over the operation. “The furniture and other accessories are with the gewog today.”

Gup said the gewog will come up with an eco-lodge at Berti and the furniture will be taken there.

The lodge had three double-bedded rooms, two dinning halls, two toilets and bathrooms each and a kitchen.

Tourism Council of Bhutan, dzongkhag administration, Programme for South-South Cooperation (Benin, Bhutan, and Costa Rica) funded the construction.

Nima Wangdi | Zhemgang