Landmark: Chapcha dzong has become an eyesore to the people of Chapcha. They want the dzong to either be renovated or demolished completely.

The issue was discussed in the dzongkhag tshogdu several times. However, the tshogdu’s resolutions have not yielded any results.

“The dzong must be demolished,” Chapcha Gup Dorji Penjore said. “Otherwise, it must be renovated.”

A 49-year-old resident of Chapcha, Tashi Pem, wants the dzong to be renovated. “It would be great to see the dzong rebuilt,” she said.

Surrounded by green potato fields, the dzong is located a few metres below the Chapcha primary school. While the neighbouring areas are bustling with activities, the dzong remains untouched by time, frozen in the past.

The people’s hope to see the dzong rise to its former glory has started to crumble like its walls. The cracks in the structure are multiplying and getting wider and longer by the day.

“Some officials came to see the dzong,” Penjore, another resident of the village said. “They took a few pictures of the dzong and never returned,” he added.

Chapcha Mangmi Changlo said two Japanese women once carried out a study of the dzong. Two other foreigners also visited the dzong to carry out a similar study.

The mangmi said the dzongkhag administration asked them how the dzong can be used if it is renovated. “The question left us speechless,” he said.

Initially, it was proposed that the dzong should be used as the gewog office. The plan, however, could not materialise as the land belongs to the Chapcha primary school.

Later, it was proposed that the dzong be converted into a museum.

The dzong was left empty when the dzongkhag administration office was shifted to Tshimasham, Chukha about four decades ago. The empty dzong used to be guarded by a policeman.

A powerful earthquake damaged the dzong in 1978.

Historically, the dzong served as the office of the erstwhile Chapcha penlop. It is said the Chapcha penlop used to stay three months each in the Chapcha dzong and the Chapcha Zangtogpelri during summers. The penlop lived the other six months in Badina.

In 1988, the Chapcha dzong saw some hope when a French man called Pierre Richard from the French institute, Ecole Francoise D’Extreme Orient in Pondicherry, India, came to carry out a study of the dzong. He tried to obtain funds from the French government but nothing materialised.

The villagers are worried that the structure will collapse at anytime and injure students of Chapcha primary school. The wooden roofs have become old and can be blown away by strong winds.

In 2006, a student was injured when a stone from one of the dzong’s walls fell.

The school’s principal Parsuram Chhetri said they have remained watchful to prevent such incidents. “We have warned our students not to go near the dzong,” he said.

But the school’s football ground is located close to the dzong.

By Rajesh Rai | Chapcha