On a small hill amid the clouds, the ruins of what was once a palace of the protecting guardian of Barshong stands tall but in ruins.

Narops claim the Barshong dzong was built during the times of Zhabdrung but a fire incident destroyed it.

Rebuilding the dzong has been the Narops’ request whenever a government or dzongkhag official visited them.

After repeated requests, the reconstruction of a two-storey temple on top of the ruins was approved in the 11th Plan. However, before the construction could be tendered the project had to stop.

Gewog officials said that some officials from the Department of Culture (DoC) visited the gewog centre two years ago to collect information on the dzong and weeks later they were informed that they cannot touch the ruins.

The dzong serve as a winter residence for monks of Lingzhi dratshang. The dratshang shifted to Barshong after an earthquake left the Lingzhi dzong in disrepair.

Thirty monks of the dratshang live near the ruins in newly constructed quarters with gewog development grant (GDG). Today, a small room in one of the quarters is converted into an altar room to perform important rituals that the dratshang is mandated with annually.


Residents say a temple would also help the community

Residents say a temple would also help the community

Lingzhi dratshang lam, Chencho, said that it is impossible to restore the dzong to its former stature. “That’s why the proposal was to build a two-storey temple to save costs, but that too is delayed.”

The monks expect the construction to begin soon.

The dzong derives its name from being at the mid-point of the journey from Thimphu to Lingzhi drungkhag. People travelled two days to reach Barshong and then another two-day journey to reach Lingzhi.

Naro gup Wangchuk said the temple is necessary for the community as an object of worship and to perform funeral rites. “There’s hardly much space for the monks to perform their daily prayers.”

The community’s prayers are performed in the house nearby the gewog centre, which is close to the monks’ quarters.

During his recent visit, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said he would inquire from the DoC officials if the two-storey temple could be built using the remaining parts of the dzong. “If the officials advise not to touch it, then we’ll build a new temple beside the dzong.”

Highlanders said that rebuilding the dzong, even if downsized to a temple, would give them an immense sense of accomplishment and pride.

A resident, Rinzin, said there ins’t much space to build a temple in the area, and the best idea is to build on the ruins. “It’d bring us good fortune, as it was built by the great lamas.”

The construction of the temple has been pushed to the first year of 12th Plan during the mid-term review meeting last year.

Tshering Palden


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