Tribute: People visiting Trongsa dzong make it a point to visit the Gongsa Dumra, which is a garden dedicated to Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, the First King of Bhutan.

There is a prayer wheel turned by water and people visiting the garden feel as though they’re travelling back in time. The water flows further down and falls off an artificial cliff creating a beautiful waterfall.

In the pool into which the water falls, a mermaid (tshomen) sits on a rock with her tail dipped into the water.

Decorated with ornaments and a rachu over her shoulders, Choephul Lhamo or the goddess of offering, stands by the prayer wheel in the posture of offering water to the dzong. A thin stream of water flows from the bumpa (religious vessel) that she holds aloft with both hands.

A small bridge is also constructed over the Thruepangchhu which allows visitors to explore the other side of the garden where there is an orchidarium filled with various kinds of orchids.

What people see today is just the components. The main element of the dumra, a palace (zimchung) in which a monument of Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck will be housed, is yet to be constructed.

Officials involved in building the Gongsa Dumra said there are some development works that need to be carried out in the dumra besides construction of the zimchung and the monument. “The palace will be three-storeyed,” an official said.

Officials said they had to reclaim the area towards Thruepangchhu which resulted in high costs. They built gabion walls towards the stream and then filled it up.

The official said they planted a thousand different species of rhododendrons at both ends of the dumra.

Officials said they spent Nu 5.8 million (M), which are savings from projects that the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) funded and Nu 2.4M was acquired through contributions. Jai Prakash Associates, working for MHPA, and other contractors who are widening the East-West Highway between Trongsa and Thimphu also contributed in various ways towards the garden.

The project was the finance minister Namgay Dorji’s personal initiative to mark His Majesty The Fourth King’s 60th Birth Anniversary celebration last year. “We have not been able to build the zimchung at the garden yet and it will soon start,” Lyonpo said, adding that the blue print for the zimchung is ready.

Once the zimchung and monument are completed, Lyonpo said the national day celebration in Trongsa should start with a chipdrel ceremony from the dzong till the First King’s monument as a tribute. “There will be a marchang ceremony after which the officials will disperse for the celebration to respective areas,” Lyonpo explained.

The garden is initiated to also celebrate the significance of the Wangchuck Dynasty in Bhutan. Dasho Karma Ura, the president of the Centre for Bhutan Studies is also the advisor of the project.

A children’s park and an open-air gym have also been built adjacent to the dumra.

The children’s park is built with Royal Government funding while the World Health Organisation funded the open-air gym.

The Gongsa Dumra was inaugurated by Yab May Say Sum, His Majesty The King, His Majesty The Fourth King, and HRH The Gyalsey on the occasion of the 109th national day celebrations in Trongsa.

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa