gigantic structures with their massive walls and elegant woodwork are among
the most impressive forms of architecture in Asia. The
basic pattern of the dzong is the utse-central tower) which generally houses
several temples, a courtyard surrounded by an outer structure which houses
monks' quarters, administrative offices, and the kitchen.
Dagana,Mongar, Gasa and Simtokha dzongs are good examples of this pattern,
however, most of the dzongs have two courtyards, sometimes at spilt levels
separated by the central tower. One courtyard is for monastic use while
the other is for administration. Good examples of this structure are Punakha,
Wangdue Phodrang, Paro, Thimphu and Jakar Dzongs. Trongsa is the most complex
of all dzongs with an intricate pattern of buildings, towers and courtyards.
/ Chhoeten (Stupa in Sanskrit)
Chorten in Thimphu
are built in memory of eminent lamas or to pin down evil spirits.
are also built to protect a region against evil spirits at places
which are potentially dangerous such as crossroads and passes as
well as landslide and accident prone areas.
chortens are of three styles:
stone chortens which are often whitewashed, are built on the model of the
stupa of Boudnath in Nepal. Good examples of this style are Chendebji
(Trongsa), Kurizampa (Mongar) and Chorten Kora (Trashiyangtse). Stone chortens
resembling the Tibetan style are common throughout central and eastern
Bhutan. They are often covered by a wooden frame.
of a purely Bhutanese tradition are primarily widespread in western Bhutan.
Their outer structure is a square stone building with a red stripe at its
upper level and shingle or stone-slab roofs. A chorten of the Tibetan style
is sometimes erected inside that of a local type structure.
Bhutanese style Chorten can also be found in a series of eight, called
the Chorten Degye. These chortens commemorate eight great events of the
life of Lord Buddha and each of them has a different shape. The selection
of a site for the construction of a chortten is suggested by an astrologer;
a Sogshing and the other elements of Zung are put inside the structure
and a consecration ceremony is performed. The Chorten then becomes sacred
and dismantling it is, therefore, a serious sin.