The rise and rise of Wangduephodrang dzong

Exactly a decade ago, the nation was plunged into grief as one of the most important historical and cultural monuments, the timeless Wangduephodrang Dzong, was razed to the ground. As the last embers of the inferno gradually hissed, taking with it generations of historical records and cultural bonds, His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo reached the charred site and promised that the monument will be renovated and restructured into its former, if not greater, glory.

And exactly a decade after the tragedy, the fallen dzong has risen from the ashes to become the epitome and majesty and grandeur as the Wangduephodrang dzong – the fortress of unity – once again redefines our oneness in diversity, and most importantly our resolve to glide through misfortunes and keep the flames of unity burning within us.

The Wangduephodrang dzong, more than just representing a historical structure, is the emblem of our unity and has always been the symbolical pride of the nation. Built about five centuries ago by the founder of the Drukpa State, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built the fortress as a symbol of unity of the Drukpas and aptly named it Wangduephodrang.

Despite enormous significance, the dzong has been ravished by fires and natural calamities like earthquakes, but it is the fortitude with which our generations past and present continues to keep restoring its glory so that the chain of our historical past is not snapped by a single calamity.

And today, as their Majesties the Kings and the Royal Family gathered at the sacred courtyards to mark yet another glorious moment in its hallowed history, the people of Bhutan are assured of the fact that no matter how big the storm with our collective efforts and dreams, and led by a monarch like His Majesty the King, we can always rise back and emerge even stronger than ever before.

The reconstruction and re-enactment of the Wangduephodrang dzong is not only the symbol of our shared responsibilities but a triumph over our ills and misfortunes, and that will to continue to preserve in the face of calamities.

The new dzong, as it stands perched on the hillock overlooking the turquoise Punatshangchhu and the ancient trail that link the primary arteries of Bhutan’s West, East, South and Central regions, will once again continue to be an silent sentinel that will stand guard on us and a symbol that will forever remain etched on our memories for aeons to come.

It is indeed a proud moment in our history to see us re-emerge from our plights even more strong and resilient, and these moments of pride should be looked upon as hallmarks of our shared dream and destiny.

Wangduephodrang dzong will always be the fortress of our unity.