Dzongs are omnipresent in Bhutan. In simple terms, Dzongs are a complex of a fortified building which served as a principal seat of Buddhist school. The presence of these beautiful structures throughout the country symbolizes the unification and acknowledgment of a central authority by the people in the region. While visiting Bhutan, you can almost feel the intangible yet commanding presence these ancient structures impose on the expanding modern architectures in the region.
Any history and architecture buff will me amazed to know that these historical marvels were built sans any modern technology or blueprints. Even though the construction of these fortresses span across different era, the Dzongs built in the 17th century are known to play a significant role in history of Bhutan. Here we have listed three importance of Dzongs in Bhutan.
From the 17th century onwards, the dzongs were used as military bases and also as an armory to fight against frequent British-India invasions from the south and Tibetan invasions from the north. One thing that is common amongst all dzongs is that these are built on a hill or ridge overlooking the valley. Often prone to external invasion, the fortresses built on higher elevation offered a strategic defensive position against these attacks.
Other than the important military role, the dzongs also housed the administrative and monk bodies. Its large and open courtyards were designated as areas where people would gather to celebrate festivals. This tradition is continued even today as the Taschicho Dzong in Thimpu is home to the throne room, the secretariat and offices of the King of Bhutan. These historical dzongs are also home to several ancient and religious artifacts that are of great value to the country.
Other than serving military and military role, these historical marvels also have contributed immensely in cultural development of the country. Today, thousands and thousands of tourists flock the nation in order to witness these amazing landmarks. Dzongs like Punakha Dzong, WangduePhodrand Dzong, and Daganna Dzong witness a great number of tourists annually. These dzongs have played a pivotal role in enriching Bhutan’s already rich history and contribute towards its budding tourism industry.
Thus, we can conclude that the Dzongs had been a stage for very important political, historic, and cultural development throughout the history of Bhutan after its unification. These wonders of mankind have not only witnessed important and historical events in the olden times but also in the modern era.