BHUTAN – Tashichho Dzong, known as the “Fortress of Religious Glory” or “Fortress of Good Governance” in Bhutan, is often referred to as Thimphu Dzong. It’s an impressive structure housing the golden throne room, as well as offices of the King, the Secretariat, and various government departments, including internal affairs and finance.
Other government offices are located in buildings nearby Tashichho Dzong. It has served as the seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan since 1962 when the capital moved from Punakha to Thimphu.
Situated near the town of Thimphu, on the right side of the Wang Chhu River, this architectural marvel is surrounded by meticulously maintained gardens and lush green meadows.
Inside Tashichho Dzong, there are 30 temples, prayer halls, and shrines.
The initial construction of Tashichho Dzong dates back to 1216, built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa, on the site where Dechen Phodrang stands today, above Thimphu. Initially, the dzong was known as Dho-Ngon Dzong.
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However, after Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal took over the dzong in 1961, he found it to be too small and decided to construct a new, lower dzong, which he named Tashichho Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal consecrated it and renamed the dzong.
Most of the original dzong was destroyed by fire in 1771, and a new dzong was built at its current location by the 16th desi, Sonam Lhurup, and consecrated by the 13th Je Khenpo (chief abbot), Je Yonten Taye. The dzong has been rebuilt and renovated several times.
The current dzong was reconstructed by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, in 1962, after the capital was moved from Punakha to Thimphu. The entire architecture of the dzong was rebuilt in a traditional manner, without the use of any nails.
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Zopen Parpa Yodsel oversaw the comprehensive renovation work. Only the utse (central tower), Lhakhang Sarp (new temple), and the main goenkhang (protector temple) remain from the previous dzong.
To the west of the dzong is a small temple, Ney Khang Lhakhang, which houses a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni and other guardian deities. In 1953, the royal family took up residence at Dechencholing Palace, located to the north of Tashichho Dzong.
The famous three-day Thimphu Tshechu festival is also held at Tashichho Dzong in September each year.
A Replica of Tashichho Dzong in Kagawa, Shikoku, Japan
You can also find a replica of the original Tashichho Dzong in Kagawa, Shikoku, Japan. This replica in Marugame is surrounded by the Ayauta Forest on the outskirts of the New Reoma World complex. Inside, you can discover artifacts from Bhutan and learn more about the Kingdom.
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