Sunday, 24 June 2012

As the Historic Wangdue Dzong Turns into Ashes.

My internet was slow. I tried to open the facebook and kuenselonline simultaneously at around 8:00 pm but facebook took longer time than usual to open. The kuenselonline kept loading and then came a heading, Wangduephodrang dzong fire!!!. I coulnot believe at first and thought it might contain a story of past incidence but when the page was fully loaded, it was appeared to me like a worst nightmare but it was fact. The historic dzong that peacefully perch on the hill resembling a sleeping elephant was engulfed by fire and was razed to ground as the day ended. It was the most tragic incident in the recent history of Bhutan, which caused the loss of a precious jewel that had been passed down to generations for the last 37o+ years.

I captured this image last year in Sept. 
Every Bhutanese know the history that Wangdue Phodrang dzong was founded in 1638 by the Zhabdrung and was Bhutan's second capital until Trongsa was founded in1644 with Wangdue Dzongpon as the head.  Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel met a young boy named Wangdi playing in the sand by the Punak Chhu and named the new dzong Wangdi Phodrang (Wangdi's Palace) which was later changed to Wangdue. The dzong is a dramatic example of Bhutanese architecture and it houses the monastic body and administrative offices of the district until the unfortunate fire incident reduced to ashes on this ill-fated day of 24.06.2012.
This is what happened today. What will we have tomorrow???

I was emotionally wrecked. My mind remained adle for long and body numb before the reminiscence of days I visited the dzong overwhelmed me. Wangdue being my district, I felt that we the people of Wangdue are really unfortunate though the loss is unbearable for the entire nation. I have been to the various temples within the dzong during my school days in Bajothang and I could clearly remember how I use to watch the historic Wangdue Tsechu in the courtyard of the magnificent dzong.  

This natural forces really creates a havoc. Some ten years ago, I witnessed three buildings being razed to ground near the Punathsangchu bridge. Last year in February, fire rumbled down the administrative block of Bajothang school, where I completed my schoolings. And today, it took away the entire dzong leaving Wangdue void and empty.

I made a call to home only to discover that they were deeply saddened. “I always offer butter lamps to pray for the good. What shall we do.” My sister was helpless. My brother who have studied near the dzong since his fourth grade till he passed class 12 long ago was equally in deep agony. The tweets and facebook status shows the sentiments of fellow Bhutanese but we are all helpless. The only hope is that let pray not such an incident happen in the future.

However I am deeply touched by the concern shown by His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Drukgyalpo. I came to learn that even before BBS could break the  news for the nation their Majesties has reached the scene to encourage the people for fighting the fire and of course consoling when it they failed.

The only good news was that the Precious nangtens are being saved.

Lets hope that the same masterpiece will soon replace the remains of the priceless asset which we lost today. There is a need for the present generation to take extra steps in preserving other such monuments.  

"As the elements of nature razed to ground my #WangdueDzong, My heart ached an unbearable pain and eyes shed voluminous tears. M so silent." - My only tweet for the day and incident. 

God Bless Bhutan.



  1. Lethro, it's your town and you must be very close it more than us howsoever, I join you on this unexpected incident. Let's hope and pray nothing such calamities every occur again.
    Take care!

  2. We share common loss, hope we rise up again from the ashes.

    1. Its indeed a deepest mournful day in our present generation. Thanks for joining Yeesi and Sonam.

  3. in tis time we indian people working in bhutan are with the royal govt. of bhutan and condolense for this big historical momentum of 16th century.
    Vijay Kumar Singh

    1. The Dzong is under renovation thanks only to Indian government. Hope we can build the structure soon with individual contributions and assistance.
      Thanks for dropping by V.K Singh.

  4. Hope this nature calamities will not ruin our generation in the near future again......and may god bless Drukyul

  5. unbelievable incident !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Indeed. :( Happy to see many initiatives by the citizens and messages from King and PM for new dzong. thanks for dropping by Pema.