Dzongs (Fortresses) of Bhutan
#Bhutan #Dzongs (Forts and Fortresses of Bhutan) #BhutanWorldHeritageSite
When visitors/tourists come to Bhutan, the first attraction are the Dzongs or ancient forts and fortresses, that strategically are always located at hill tops. Even when coming into Bhutan via the National Carrier Druk Air, the first landing location is the Paro International Airport, and even as the plane maneuvers between the hills of Paro, the Plane passes close by the Paro Dzong which is called the Rinpung Dzong.
Dzongs in Bhutan are architecturally magnificent and beautiful, and a masterpiece of both ancient and present times in Bhutan. Tourists to Bhutan always visit two to three Dzongs even while on a short tour to Bhutan. One of the most interesting factors that separate the Dzongs from other ancient monuments all over the world is the fact, that Dzongs in Bhutan were multifunctional in ancient times and multifunctional even today.
The Dzongs have been used as a fort during olden time wars with the Tibetans from the North and the British Indians from the South. They have been used as a Ruler’s seat of government. Also used as a common place for trade and for celebration of festivals.
Today, the Dzongs function as administrative offices and houses the monk body, and annual festivals are still held within these fortresses.
It is astonishing to know that Dzongs have been built in Bhutan from the mere direction given by pious lamas and spiritual leaders, supported by spiritual forces. There has never been a map or blue print made for the construction of these ancient monuments.
Thus Dzongs are one distinct feature in Bhutan that carries our cultural legacy and heritage through the past, present and future of Bhutan.
“The tall central towers (utse) signify the abstract frontiers between the spiritual and the temporal administrative mechanism of the dual system of government. The large courtyards of the fortresses symbolize the openness and freedom. The expansion of territory is represented by the form and the expansiveness of the Dzongs. Thus, the presence of Dzongs symbolizes the recognition of the central authority by the people in the region. These striking structures hark back the Bhutanese of the Dzongs as the source of law and order, peace, harmony, legitimate authority, learning, strength, defense, festivity and social life. Today, in the era of globalization, these enthralling structures position itself as an expression of Bhutanese culture and a symbol of unity and identity for Bhutan”.(courtesy DIT-Bhutan)
Recently Five Dzongs of Bhutan have been shortlisted to be World Heritage Sites and these are Paro Dzong, Punakha Dzong, Wangduephodrang Dzong, Trongsa Dzong and the Dagana Dzong.