ZHONGGAR DZONG

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Zhongar Dzong is located in Mongar Dzongkhag. While traveling to Trashigang from Thimphu following the east-west highway, when we come across the valleys of Truelangbi village, we are able to view the Dzong on a hilltop facing the village.

Zhongar Dzong covers a total area of about 8 acres. The prefix Dzong means ‘Zhong’ which actually means the ‘bowl’. Gar and kar are the suffixes adjoined together to form Zhong-gar and Zhong-kar. Today it is in ruins.

One of the oral explanations states that a king named Karpo Dung called on a carpenter from Paro to construct the main centre of a dual system (Chhoe Sid Nye Den). While this man was traveling to Zhongar via Ura he leaves for urination and today it is famously known as Parop sherpa Tangsa (urinating place of a man from paro). This man, Zochen Bala made a visual inspection of the area. He supposedly saw a white stone bowl on a small hill and there he decided to build a new Dzong. He named it Zhongkar (Gzhong Dkar), meaning white bowl (gzhong-bowl, dkar-white).
A name found in buddhist canon also suggests ‘Zhong dkar’ or Zhongkar.

But through the centuries, the place came to be known as Zhongar. Another source claims that when Bala neared Lingmithang, had a vision of a hill manifested by a natural rock similar to a Gzhong (a wooden bowl used as an eating utensil) on the knoll top resembling the stone bowl and this place was occupied by the palace (gar) of king Karpo. Thus named Zhongar, which means “king’s encampment”. According to the history text of Desis, the name was Zhonggar (Zong-bowl, Ga-Comfortable) because this Dzong is located in a relaxing lower valley. There are other versions also.

The locals are very superstitious and an atmosphere of fear looms in the area. Stories of the presence of certain malevolent spirits and a gigantic snake guarding a treasure of gold and silver are only whispered. Beyond a pile of stones and mud, it echoes past life to connect us to the future. Embedded inside is a life frozen in time, a wealth of history that can be still recounted orally by those who also heard it from their grandparents