The slide took away essential religious items kept at the store

… a recent earthquake is suspected to have triggered the slide 

Phub Dem | Paro

As usual, Dobji Lam Yeshi completed the night study and was on his way to the toilet when something nearby rumbled. 

It was at around 9.30pm. Some of them at the shedra (monastic school) ran to the exit door of the courtyard. By then, Lam Yeshi said that the landslide took away the retention wall and a temporary store constructed near the exit door. The incident happened on April 12. 

In 2013, a similar landslide incident happened, and the gewog built a 50 metre retention wall adjacent to the utse (central tower). 

The shedra built the temporary store to house essential items as the utse was being renovated. 

Essential items such as clothes of mask dancers (cham gho), utensils, mattresses, thongdrel items were lost in the landslide.  

According to Lam Yeshi, the retention wall had bulged after the recent earthquake and the constant rain in the past few days caused rainwater runoff from the dzong over the loosened soil above the wall. 

Monk’s toilet near the store hairline cracks. The lam said that the bathroom has to be relocated. 

No casualties were reported.

Dzongkhag officials, police, and experts from Thimphu assessed the damages yesterday.

Dogar Gup Lhap Tshering said that the gewog had requested both dzongkhag and the Department of Culture to build a retention wall at the earliest. He said that if the sliding area was not fixed, rainfall and windstorm might affect other structures. 

To divert the rainwater runoff from the rooftop, he said there was a need to construct a gutter. Otherwise, he said that there could be more landslide due to incessant rainfall. 

A group of volunteers from Dogar will start clearing the debris from today. Dobji Dzong under Dogar Gewog in Paro is considered as one the first Dzongs in the country. 

Paro dzongkhag disaster focal person, Naphey said that the main dzong was intact.

He said that the dzongkhag was awaiting a directive from DoC to build a retention wall. “Dzongkhag engineers will estimate the cost which will be forwarded to the finance ministry.”

He said that the dzongkhag was working in collaboration with DoC experts to build a proper wall to prevent landslides.

Ngawang Chogyal, the brother of Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the “Divine Madman,” built Dobji Dzong in 1531.