Since the renovation work at Trashigang dzong began in February 2014, three groups of volunteers contributed labour at the site to date.
The latest contribution saw some 31 students from Sherubtse College volunteering at the dzong on September 3. Last month, a team of 49 desuups volunteered at the dzong conservation site. About 50 teachers from Trashigang also took part in the conservation work last year.
Project engineer, Damchhoe Lhendup, said that since all three contributions were voluntary, the rate of work done was comparatively higher.
There are about 100 Bhutanese and 20 non-Bhutanese workers at the conservation site today. The project has also completed a round of labour contribution from all 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag.
Renovation work on the 358-year-old dzong was initiated after the dzong’s eastern side (facing the road toward Rangjung) and southwestern side (facing the road towards Mongar) suffered major cracks from the 2009 and 2011 earthquakes.
According to Damchhoe Lhendup, the conservation project will not bring in much change to the traditional architecture. “Although the exterior part of the dzong will remain the same, we have elaborated the traditional features inside the dzong such as painting, sculpting and cornice.”
He said that the dzong is equipped with a fire hydrant system, smoke and heat detectors and an alarm system.
The project engineer also said that a diesel engine based fire hydrant system is connected to the nine hydrant points that are fitted inside the dzong. “Another two jet-monitor-nozzle are also fitted on the east and west sides of the dzong where human-access is difficult at times of fire hazard.”
He said that they fitted heat detectors in all the 11 lhakhangs inside the dzong and all other rooms including the offices are fitted with smoke detectors, which are interconnected to the alarm system.
Damchhoe Lhendup said that unlike in the past, the renovated dzong would have about 14 toilets inside. “Before the conservation works began, the toilets were located outside the dzong.”
With the completion of the three new structures, a drasha (hostel for monks), tshokhang (dining hall) and kitchen for the dratshang last year, the renovation work of the main dzong is in full swing.
All three structures are new constructions, which were added to the conservation project to relocate the monks outside the dzong and reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Damchhoe Lhendup said that the physical progress of the project is 84 percent and if it continues at the current pace, the project would be completed by June next year.
Meanwhile, since 2014 mid, the Trashigang dzongkhag administration has been functioning from the renovated extension rooms of Trashigang middle secondary school.
The Department of Culture’s division for conservation of heritage site is carrying out the renovation work. The project is worth Nu 260.9 million.
Younten Tshedup | Trashigang