Chhimi Dema 

The broad frame of the king stands against the brilliant white of the Jomolhari.

Draped in a robe made from yak hair, the king, looking out his palace window, fixed his gaze on the mountain. He decides that a mountain should be pulverised so that his grand palace gets the first ray of the sun.

Nestled in snow-capped mountains, surrounded by shrubs and bushes, the sign of only life that was there many centuries ago, is the stonewalls that are being reclaimed by the nature.

The ruins of the palace stand testimony to the king’s power in a frigid region, the home of the elusive snow leopards.

“Summon all the masons to my court before the night tomorrow,” the king says. The chamberlain follows the royal order. In the soft glow of the fire made from dried yak dung, the masons gathered in the royal courtyard the next day.

They wait for the king’s order.

“I want to build a much grander palace.  The work must begin before the break of dawn.” With this royal order, the masons begin the construction of a new palace, about five kilometres west of the stone palace.

Not long after the beginning of the project, the king visits the construction site. He notices that a mountain blocks sunlight to his new palace. He immediately stops the workers and summons them to his court again.

“I do not want this mountain to block the first rays of the sun or to obstruct the expansive views from the palace,” says the king to the workers. This means the workers must obliterate the whole mountain.

Among the tired workers comes a voice of a woman. The harsh and roaring wind carries her pain to the heart of every worker. “Better kill the person than cut the mountain.”

The message is understood—the king must go so that the people can live in peace.

As the king prepares to leave for Tibet for trade, the people planned to waylay the entourage. And the mission is accomplished.

When the king’s friend in Tibet does not hear from his friend, he sends his army. His army finds the king has been murdered.

It is believed that the people who murdered the king and his entourage fled to Sikkim and Ladakh in India today.

The local deity of the Jangothang today is believed to be the woman who let the uprising.

The ruin of the king’s palace in Jangothang in Soe stands in the cold winds still, almost forgotten. Thankfully, though, with increasing tourists in the area—both local and international—the story lives on.