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Besides the functions of security, Lam Neten Dorji of Paro Dratshang states that Druk Gyal Dzong used to be the summer residence of Rinpung Rabdey. There were three days of annual prayers on the 27th 28th, and 29th of the 10th month dedicated to Tsaamdey Sum - Gyem, Lyengon, and Lhamo; Geyne-Gyemo - Zhabdrung's guardian deities; and Nep. The rabdey entourage would leave on the 26th and perform prayers for the next three days. After the fire accident of 1951, the annual prayers dedicated to the above deities earlier conducted in Druk Gyal Dzong are performed in Rinpung Dratshang.

History through memory
The remains of the utse stands today

Ap Sangay Gyeltshen, 73, was 14 years old when he joined the army on a monthly salary of five ngultrum during the reign of the second King, His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck, retiring during the reign of the third King Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Ap Sangay recalls, albeit with sadness, the imposing presence of a four-storeyed mighty dzong that symbolized the power and glory of our country.

He remembers the expansive dimensions of the shingle-roofed dzong: If someone shot an arrow from this end (he shows the direction to the west), he could not reach his arrow to that end (points to the east).

Ap Sangay believes that the materials for the construction of the dzong came from all over the places. The stones that made the walls and the towers were specially selected so that they did not have to be chiseled. Construction materials were passed from hand to hand, man to man. Machines hadn't come then. People would have worked from dawn to dusk under strict supervision.

There was a strong sense of pride and service in people who contributed to the construction of the dzong. They believed that they were participating in a special cause. Ap Sangay thinks that the gods themselves would have participated and supported the construction. Otherwise, such a structure would not have come up so easily.

Ap Sangay remembers some of the druzops who served in the dzong. "There was Druzop Shachu," he says. He adds Druzop Nemjop, Druzop Chhalip Chhong from Shaba, Jangsap Tshering Phuntsho, Kawang Sanja... Then his memory skids off the line. He conies back: Druzop Chhalip Chhong served the longest - eighteen years. Lam Neten Dorji says that Penlop Lhap was the first Dzongpon of Druk Gyal Dzong, supported by dzongarps and other functionaries. "The gorah goh used to close exactly at 4 pm and open exactly at 4 am," Ap Sangay recalls as we walk out of the fort.

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