Central Bhutan

Trongsa

Elevation 2,316m

About four hours’ drive from Wangduephodrang is the central district of Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and from where the first two kings ruled the kingdom.

Long before you reach it, you see the resplendent Trongsa Dzong in the valley center  Its labyrinth of temples, corridors, offices and living quarters for the monks add up to a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture preserved through professional restoration in 2004.

Trongsa, literally “New Town” in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown. The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by. Its foundation was laid by Pema Lingpa and flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, commanding the east-west road.

The Tronsa Dzong literally means the Dzong on the tip of a Dungkhar (of the never changing country of Druk and the everlasting Dharm). Trongsa Dzong is situated overlooking the Mangdechhu River.

Tronsa Dzong was founded by Yingzin Ngagi Wangchuk, a descendant of Ngawang Chogyal and a revered follower of Kuenkhen Pema Karpo. In 1541, he meditated at the village of Yueli in Trongsa, a few kilometers from the present Dzong. During the meditation, he saw lighted butter lamp below the ridge at the present Goenkhang, which houses the guardian deities Palden Lhamo (Mahakali) and Yeshey Goenpo ( Mahakali).

Considering the place to be sacred, he built mediation quarters. Once during his meditation in the new quarter, the deity Palden Lhamo appeared and prophesied that this place would play an important role in spreading the teachings of Buddha. After this incident, Yingzin Ngagi Wangchuk constructed a small temple and named it Mondrupley. Over the years, his disciples built many smaller meditation centers near the Mondrupley temple, which soon began to resemble a small village. The people of Yueli names this new village Trong-sar (new village).

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Places of Interest in Central Bhutan