Architecture: To commemorate the 400th year of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s arrival in the country, Her Majesty The Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck inaugurated a bazam at Pangrizampa, Thimphu yesterday.

Built on the inspiration, patronage, and advise of Her Majesty, the 17-metre wooden cantilever bridge adds a major component to the monastery.

Her Majesty The Gyalyum said that it was most auspicious that the bridge is now restored to its past glory as the country celebrates these historic occasions – the birth year of Guru Rinpoche, the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the birth of the HRH Gyalsey.

“The hope and assurance of yet another generation of unprecedented leadership and continuance of the legacy of monarchs in the service of the people,” Her Majesty said.

The bazams have architectural, cultural, and religious significance.  Given the geographical terrain Bhutanese ancestors have always relied on the bridges for travel across many steep valleys and rushing rivers.

“These bridges have always remained the fundamental part of our livelihood and survival. But with modernisation it has become significantly important and challenging to restore and preserve such national monuments not only for their unmatched architectural grandeur and utility, but also as a gift to our future generations,” Her Majesty said.

Lam Ngawang Choegyal an ancestor of Zhabdrung Rinpoche built Pangrizampa monastery in the 15th century. Zhabdrung had a vision of a raven perched on a tree near a monastery asking him to visit the southern lands. When he visited the country in 1616, he recognised the monastery from his vision and it became his first seat in the country.

Thus, the monastery has great significance to the country and this traditional bridge has been an integral part of the monastery serving as the crucial mode of commute between the two communities on the either side of the river.

But the bridge wore out and only remnants remained until Her Majesty sought the works and human settlement ministry to build a bazam.

It took 20 artisans from 20 dzongkhags five months to complete the bridge with a budget of Nu five million.

Works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said it was the ministry’s mandate to promote and preserve traditional Bhutanese architecture.

“The bazams are unique architecture of the country,” she said. “The ministry implemented it using local artisans and not hand over the project on contract to individuals.”

Her Majesty also awarded graduation certificates to five degree and four diploma graduates of the monastery who passed the central monk body’s examinations last year.

Tshering Palden