The construction project at Phajoding monastery in Thimphu, which began in 2013, is expected to be completed this year despite challenges like labour shortage and transportation problem.

The project activities include renovation and rehabilitation of historic temples, hermitages, installation of firefighting system in the four main temples, construction of a dormitory, kitchen and dining hall, construction of a toilet and shower room for the monks, renovation of courtyard and footpath, and maintenance of retaining walls and drainage system.

Department of Culture’s (DoC), head of Division for the Conservation of Heritage Sites, Nagtsho Dorji, said that there was a plan to connect the lhakhang with road for transportation in the past. The idea, she said, would have affected the sacredness of the place. “When the lhakhang was first built, it served as a place for meditation. Having road would scar the sight and also affect the sacredness of the lhakhang. Construction work at such sacred area requires a thorough research.”

Today a ropeway cable is connected from Sangaygang to Phajoding monastery. The project used a single tower ropeway that required a land clearing of about 4 metres.

While the department was working on the transportation, work on raw materials such as stones and timber began in 2015 at Depsi.

Project manager, Dechen Dorji, said that lack of workers due to distance and harsh weather affected the project.

“During summer, land becomes marshy. In winter, we cannot work because of the snow,” Dechen Dorji said.

The project has employed more than 80 Bhutanese today.

Following a survey of the site, research and documentation of the temples and other structures were carried out.

Nagtsho Dorji said that in the past documentation and research of historical sites and heritage sites weren’t done. “Today, it is mandatory for us to have such research.”

The Nu 200 million-project is funded by government of India (GoI)

The monastery was built by 16th Je Khenpo Sherub Singye.

Phurpa Lhamo