With almost 95 percent of the works completed, renovation and conservation works of the 359-year-old Trashigang dzong is in its final phase.

Save for few masonry works outside the dzong and carpentry works on the windows, the project is set to complete next month.

The dzong project manager, Tshering Namgay, said that unlike in other dzong conservation projects, Trashigang did not face any labour shortage. “With the readily available materials and human resources, everything went well and we expect to complete the works on time.”

The project began with about 180 voluntary workers from Trashigang, Lhuentse, Samdrupjongkhar and Trongsa. Today there are about 70 people involved in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical works.

Renovation works at the dzong was initiated in February 2014 after the dzong’s eastern side (facing the road towards Rangjung) and southwestern side (facing the road towards Mongar) suffered major cracks from the 2009 and 2011 earthquakes.

Tshering Namgay said that the conservation project has not caused any major changes to the traditional architecture and that the exterior part of the dzong remains the same. “The features inside the dzong including the painting works and cornice have been done elaborately.”

The renovated dzong will also have modern features such as a fire hydrant system, smoke and heat detectors and an alarm system. The heat detectors are fitted in all 11 lhakhangs inside the dzong and the offices with smoke detectors are interconnected to the alarm system.

The new features come as a safety measure for any fire hazards in the future.

Along with the renovation works at the main dzong, the project has also constructed a drasha(hostels for monks), tshokhang(dining hall) and kitchen for the dratsang. The new construction also includes a gate and a duty room.

Unlike in the past, the dzong will have toilets located inside, said Tshering Namgay.

The conservation works began with a budget of Nu 180 million (M). However, officials said that since the eastern side of the dzong required major reconstruction from the base up and use of bigger stones and reinforced cement concrete, the cost increased.

The Department of Culture’s division for conservation of heritage site is carrying out the renovation works at a cost of Nu 260.9M. Government of India is funding the project.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang