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Tales around Druk Gyal Dzong

The location of our dzongs has itself been a natural advantage to us. Their situation has at once tantalized and baffled tile invaders. Trashigang Dzong, for instance, is said to have given a hard time to the Tibetans who overplayed their might and under-played their opponents'. They had to confess:

Naam dzong maarey, saa dzong rey. [Not a dzong in the sky, but a dzong, on the earth].
Saa dzong maarey, naam dzong rey. [Not a dzong on the earth, but a dzong in the sky].

Inside the Druk Gyal Dzong before the fire The remains of the utse stands today

Druk Gyal Dzong has its share of interesting episodes in the general drama of its trials and wins. In one instance, the invading Tibetans saw the dzong from the vantage point of Sagala. The dzong appeared to be attached to the spur of Jana, another hill-top in the direction of Druk Gyal Dzong. As they came down, the dzong shifted to a distance mirage-like. Tibetans called this mid-space Judae - meaning deception or deceptive. The invaders called it a day.

In another instance, as the attacking Tibetan horde came down, the Bhutanese army appeared to welcome and treat them well as guests of honour. They put up tents and made decorations and invited the Tibetan army to come to wine and dine. However, no sooner had the Tibetans started to relax and indulge themselves in the fun than their faces and hands started swelling, slowly covering the whole body.

The plants and decoratives used by the Bhutanese turned out to be the irritant par excellence - triconia- namey shing - which made the Tibetans run helter-skelter. The Bhutanese then had their way. It is believed that there was a lha tsho underneath the utse. Next to the utse still stands a gyendorm shing which locals say was home to a golden pig living beneath it.

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Glory Eclipsed
The remains of the utse stands today

One of the special functions held at Druk Gyal Dzong was the three-day annual prayer. The prayers would start on the 27th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar and conclude on the 29th. It was the last day of the prayers in 1951 that saw the face of the Victory Dzong change for ever.

The wind blew hard that night and toppled one of the butter-lamps in the utse. The fire soon spread, fanned by the breath of the night wind.

To make matters worse, it is believed that a bat's wings caught fire too. As the bat flew madly about in panic, it lit fire wherever the wings touched. Soon, the dzong was an inferno of blaze.

It was one o'clock at night. By the time Gup Cheten saw the fire, it had engulfed the whole dzong and reached the roof. Precious little could be saved. It was the end of a great idea. Kuenyer Nyabchhe could have been more vigilant that night. He might have made all the difference. Might have... It was the time of Druzop Kawang Sanja.


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