Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

The re-electrification of Punakha Dzong by Swiss Theatre Lighting Company technicians completed yesterday upgrading the entire system to European electrical standards.

“Before it was zero star rating but now it is five stars,” said the project leader of the Swiss team, Emanuel Flückiger.

His Eminence Vairochana Rinpoche Ngawang Jigme Jigten Wangchuck was the chief guest and Her Royal Highness the Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck also attended the program.

Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother Kesang Choeden Wangchuck graced the closing ceremony held yesterday in Punakha dzong. Her Majesty awarded certificates to the TTI students, de-suups and electricians at the closing ceremony yesterday.

The project was also initiated by Her Majesty to fulfill His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s wishes to protect all dzongs and lhakhangs in Bhutan and Her Majesty’s own wishes to protect heritage sites with safe electrical systems.

According to Emanuel Flückiger, 2,500 lights including bulbs, tube lights, and LEDs of high standards were installed.

“The quality of the light (accessories) is really high, which means when power fluctuates, there is no problem. Normally, the range for the light is 230 volts, but the installed lights can handle from 110 up to 285 volts,” he said.

The 44 temples, uste, and statues inside the dzong are lit by the lights.

Yarzhup (summer resident incharge) Sangay Jamtsho said that the power consumption of the bulbs and tube lights was low.

He added that earlier someone had to go around turning on and off the lights every day, which now needn’t as sensors have been installed in the system.

The dzong now has a new earthing system.

Emanuel Flückiger said that the two-level fuse has been replaced with five levels, which meant more safety.

“This is the only dzong in Bhutan that has Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCBOs), and RCBOs are also of a high standard.”

The team will train monks and administrative officials this year.

Re-electrification work began in mid-April this year. Although the work was aimed to complete in four months, the Swiss team and around 50 Bhutanese individuals (de-suups, Technical Training Institute students in Khuruthang and electricians) completed the work in over two months.

The Royal project completed with estimated cost of Nu 52.68 million (M) of which Nu 10M seed fund was granted by Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother, Nu 20.40M and material resources for the project by Emanuel Flückiger, and the government contributed Nu 22.28M.

Edited by Tshering Palden