… with the redesign of the utse and dratshang finally approved by the government, the dzong is expected to be completed by 2018

Building: With 40 percent of the physical work completed and a newly designed map for the utse (tower) and dratshang approved, project officials are confident that they will complete the new Pemagatshel dzong by 2018.

The project manager, Lhaten Dorji said this means the work will now progress since they had been awaiting the new map for more than a year after a new design for the utse and dratshang was required by the government.

Many officials from the home ministry and dzongkhag administration did not agree with the old map because the utse was designed outside the dzong, which is why construction was halted, he explained.

“Actually the utse should always be inside and in the centre of the dzong because it is an important place that holds nangten (sacred relics), lhakhang and goenkhang,” he said. “But as per the old map, the utse was not only located outside but was smaller than the other buildings when it should always stand taller than the dzong.”

But now, as approved by the Cabinet and works and human settlement ministry, the utse will be built inside the dzong. The work is expected to start soon after advice from experts and consultants is acquired.

Although the construction was halted, he said, work on the construction of three blocks, administrative infrastructure and main entrance had been on-going and completed until the roof-level, and within two months, CGI sheets would be placed.

The project, estimated to cost Nu 530 million is funded by the government of India. The project started in June 2012 and is now expected to be completed by November 2018.

“Although the work volume is high, yet we’re trying our best to complete work on time despite many changes made to the map and various external factors,” Lhaten Dorji said. “As long as we keep receiving funds on time, the work shall definitely go smooth.”

He added that the other changes made were to the rabsel (window) design to give a more Bhutanese traditional look.

A total of Nu 213 million has been spent so far since 2012.

Relocated to Denchi in Shumar gewog, the new dzong is about an hour’s drive from the present Pemagatshel dzong.

The dzong is designed using modern technology but with traditional Bhutanese architecture. The dzong is designed for 100 staff and 50 rabdey monks.

The project manager pointed out that while there is still a lack of masons in the dzongkhag, masons from other dzongkhags are being sought.

More than 200 non-Bhutanese and Bhutanese workers are stationed at the site.

Meanwhile, 30,000cft of timber has been used for the construction of the new dzong. A total 125,000cft is required to build the dzong.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Pemagatshel