Located at about 4,300 meters above the sea level, the ruins of the Lingzhi dzong still stand majestically on a hilltop in Lingzhi, Thimphu.
Also known as Lingzhi Yugyal dzong, the dzong was built by the third Desi Chogyal Minjur Tenpa to commemorate a victory over a Tibetan invasion in 1668.
It used to house the drungkhag’s administration and monastic body until it was further damaged in an earthquake in September 2011. The dzong was first destroyed in an earthquake in 1867, rebuilt in the 1950s, and partly renovated in 2005.
About Nu 13 million has been spent to date since the preparatory works for the Lingzhi dzong construction began 15 months ago. The preparatory works include transporting construction materials like stones and timber, and building camps for workers.
Thimphu Dzongdag Dorji Tshering said that the dismantling of the utse (central tower) of the dzong is underway. Utse has a three-storied structure, of which two storeys have been dismantled.
“Once the ground floor is dismantled, we will start building the utse first and then other structures,” dzongdag Dorji Tshering said.
He said that while it is hoped that the construction would be completed within the 12thPlan, nothing could be said as of now because there are challenges in transporting construction materials.
“Even if we have a shortage of a single timber, it takes about five days to have it transported to the site from a place called Dzhodhu,” he said.
Lingzhi Drungpa Mani Sangye said that Lingzhi dzong conservation project has a budget outlay of about Nu 400 million in the 12thPlan. It is a Government of India funded project.
Working period is limited in Lingzhi because after November it is difficult to work at the site because of extreme cold. Work restarts only in April.
With about 50 men joining the workforce last week, about 100 men will be working on the reconstruction of the dzong now.
In the last one month, the dzongdag said workers have been able to dismantle two storeys of the utse. Previously they were collecting stones, timbers and other materials from Dzhodhu, which is about a two-day walk from Lingzhi.
After the dzong was badly damaged in the last earthquake, he said the whole structure has to be reconstructed.
After the construction is complete, the dzong will house the drungkhag office and the monk body that has been moved to Barshong in Naro gewog after the dzong was damaged. The monk body consists of about 30 monks and a lam.
Drungpa Mani Singye said in the northern frontier, the dzong plays an important role in terms of sovereignty and security while for the people of Lingzhi, it houses the dratshang and drungkhag office.
Dechen Tshomo | Lingzhi