Ugyen Dorji | Zhemgang

The much-needed re-development of Zhemgang dzong will begin early next year, according to Zhemgang Dzongdag.

The dzong today has developed cracks and the roof leaks when it rains. Wooden structures have become old and need replacing, and the courtyard needs to be renovated.

Zhemgang Dzongda Kesang Jigme said that the Department of Culture (DoC) has confirmed the reconstruction of the dzong in the 13th Plan as a priority and is expected to begin in the first year of the Plan. The DOC has completed the planning and designs of the dzong.

Depending on the landscape project there are two options being considered.

Kesang Jigme said that the detailed project report is ready. “We are expecting a team from the Department of Culture to come and be able to make options,” he said.

The five-year re-development project will be done phase-wise. Some structures will be renovated but those old structures like Utse will not be demolished. “Some old structures and culturally significant heritage will be conserved,” dzongdag said.

He said that if the reconstruction happens, the dzongkhag administration is internally preparing and identifying the space to move in. The rural Livestock Development Centre is no longer operating and the dzongkhag administration will shift there.

But the relocation venue of the dratshang is not yet decided.

Zhemgang Lam Neten Karma Galey said the renovation of dzong was requested since the first government took office but did not come through.

He said that during monsoons due to water seepage, the structure began to deteriorate: walls cracked, and beams and pillars are rotting.

The project budget is estimated to cost around Nu 150M.

Zhemgang Dechen Yangtse Dzong is perched on a hill facing Trong village and Zhemgang town. Lama Zhang Dorji Drakpa, who lived in the 12th century, built a hermitage at the site of the present dzong. In 1655, a one-storey dzong was built which was later expanded into the current dzong.