Zhongar Dzong – The hidden ruin of Bhutan’s rich history

 In Bhutan, Places To Visit, Travel

Does that historian inside you stirs up as soon as you hear the word Bhutan. Undoubtedly Bhutan is a historical gem for the world, this country proudly holds the story of bygone days in its ruins and one such ruin is Zhongar Dzong. So if you want to know more don’t forget to visit this place while exploring your Bhutan package

Zhongar Dzong Bhutan is a stunning jewel in central Bhutan, offering visitors an insight into the country’s rich cultural and architectural heritage This fort-monastery of Bhutan is ideally situated on a hillside overlooking scenic valleys and winding rivers. This fort-monastery is a testament to Bhutan’s historical importance and spiritual tradition.

Zhongar Dzong is beautiful for its peaceful atmosphere. Quiet courtyards and prayer halls echo with the soft murmurs of monks engaged in prayer and meditation. Beyond the entrance of the Dzong garden, you can see green landscapes that vary in color according to the season, from winter greens to autumn reds and fiery golds.

Ruins of Zhongar Dzong Mongar Bhutan

zhongar-dzong
Image Source : Wikipedia

The remains of Zhongar Dzong in Mongar, Bhutan, reveal a fascinating story of past times and the architectural heritage of the region Located on a hill overlooking the Kuri Chu River, this time-worn ruin exudes mystery and historical significance some revealed. 

Historically Zhongar Dzong in Bhutan served as an important fortress monastery protecting the eastern borders of Bhutan and remained resistant to outside attacks. The fortress was built during the reign of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and was strategically located it will command extensive nearby hills and give them a convenient advantage in order to protect them. 

The architectural design of the Zhongar Dzong in Bhutan followed traditional Bhutanese design principles, with solid walls painted in white, beautifully carved wooden ornaments and soft ceilings decorated with vivid reds and golds its walls were covered with administrative buildings, temples for Buddhist deities, residences of monks and government dignitaries and there were snowflakes. 

Over time, the history of Zhongar Dzong witnessed etchings reflecting Bhutan’s socio-political development. However, like many ancient structures in Bhutan, this venerable structure was swallowed up by the effects of natural disasters and conflicts, which eventually led to its decline and partial destruction

Suggested Read- Mongar Bhutan travel guide

Best Time to Visit Zhongar Dzong

For most travelers, the best time to explore Bhutan and Zhongar Dzong is during the summer and fall months, from March to May and September to November. Bhutan enjoys pleasant weather during these times, with clear skies and spectacular views of the land. Vibrant rhododendrons and other colorful flowers bloom in spring, enhancing the green slopes. 

Autumn, on the other hand, paints the hills with yellow gold as the leaves change, providing a fascinating backdrop for your adventures. From June to August, Bhutan receives monsoon rains accompanied by mongar. Despite the lush conditions at this time of year, frequent heavy rains can interfere with outdoor activities and visibility. 

From December to February, winter begins with cold temperatures and occasional snowfall that presents challenges at higher altitudes. However, if you can brave the summer, the summer at Zhongr Dzong promises a peaceful and contemplative experience with minimal crowds and a peaceful atmosphere.

Suggested read- Bhutan in May

How To Reach Zhongar Dzong?

mongar
Image Source : Tripadvisor

Starting your journey to Zhongar Jong in Mongar, Bhutan is like immersing yourself in the intricate and rich fabric of Bhutanese culture. Starting from the beautiful town of Mongar, you have the option of taking in taxi or arrange a private transport. 

The road winds through majestic mountains, offering breathtaking views of tropical forests and fields with terraces adorned with traditional Bhutanese dwellings This is not just an easy trek; It is a charming getaway that makes it a pleasure to visit this historic place. The journey from Monger usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on road conditions and traffic. 

The roads in Bhutan, and to Zhongar Dzong can be narrow and winding, so drive with caution as you enjoy the journey. Along the way you can meet locals engaged in their daily activities to experience the beauty of Bhutanese life in the countryside. For travelers coming down from Trashigang or neighboring towns, it is also an option to consider going first to Monger and then to Zhongar Dzong. 

Each route reveals its own beautiful wonders; be it viewing the foothills of the Himalayas from Trashigang or covering the serene surroundings of Mongar. Whichever route you choose, a trip to Zhongar Dzong is an integral part of your trip as you explore both the natural splendor and cultural richness that defines Bhutan.

Things to do in Zhongar Dzong

dzongs-in-bhutan
Image Source : Wikipedia

Some of the top things to do in Zhongar Dzong that you can enjoy are-

1. Visit its temples and monasteries quarters

Within the Zhongar Dzong are tranquil temples honoring Buddhist deities and peaceful monastic quarters where devout monks live and deepen their studies. Visits to these sacred sites with prayer songs enveloped in a storm of sweetness and burning incense, the soul is awakened. 

Interacting with the resident monks gives us insight into their daily rituals and deeper spirituality, and gives them a deeper understanding of the essence of Bhutanese Buddhism.

Suggested Read – Valleys of Bhutan

2. Enjoy Scenic View

You can enjoy breathtaking sights from the viewpoint of Zhongar Dzong! Sitting high above the meandering Kuri Chu River and the lush valleys below, the ancient fort offers a mesmerizing panorama of Bhutan’s pristine glory. It is a paradise for photographers, those who capture the wonders of nature, or anyone who longs for peaceful silence amidst the embrace of Mother Nature.

3. Explore the Architecture of the Dzong

Begin your journey through the spacious Zhongar Dzong room. As you wander around, immerse yourself in its ancient walls decorated with exotic Bhutanese carvings and paintings depicting the wisdom of Buddhism. Take in timeless handicrafts that not only showcase heritage of Bhutan’s riuns but also give you an insight into its spiritual ritual also.

4. Explore nearby villages

Head outside the Zhongar Dzong to explore nearby villages and interact with the locals. Get a real experience of the Bhutanese countryside, for example, by visiting traditional handicraft workshops or dining at a local restaurant where you will try authentic Bhutanese cuisine.

5. Enjoy the culture of this Dzong

Consider attending if your visit coincides with a local holiday or religious ceremony such as a tsechu (annual religious festival). These exciting events showcase traditional dances, masquerade games, and spiritual ceremonies that are an integral part of Bhutanese culture. It is a chance to see centuries-old traditions come alive in the peaceful surroundings of Zhongar Dzong.

Places to visit Near in Zhongar Dzong

There are multiple places to visit near in Zhongar Dzong such as- 

  • Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery
  • Khenglo Pottery Village
  • Nyakaling Lhakhang
  • Lhuntse Dzong
  • Yadi Village

What makes Gangzur Village unique in Bhutan?

The community and rich history of this village makes it unique.

What are the must-visit attractions in and around Gangzur Village?

Some of the must visit attractions are Yadi village, Kuri Chu River, etc.

How can one reach Gangzur Village from major cities in Bhutan?

The entire route is explained in detail in the blog. 

What are the best times of year to visit Gangzur Village?

The best time to visit is from March to May.

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