Built on mounds, hilltops, mountainsides or in between rivers, the castle-fortresses – locally called Dzongs – are awe-inspiring structures laden with history. Aesthetically, they epitomize the best of Himalayan Buddhist architecture with intricate woodwork and stone masonry enhanced with exquisite painting. The fact that they were built four to hundreds years ago makes one wonder how a tiny Kingdom that has remained isolated from the outside world acquired or honed the skills to build these magnificent architectural landmarks.
Suitability: first time visitors, history enthusiasts
Duration: 5-15 days
Best season to visit: throughout the year
- The castle-fortresses are living monuments replete with history. From the founding of Bhutan to the present-day affairs, each of these huge structures preserves a vivid account of the events that defined Bhutan for nearly a thousand years.
- As exemplifiers of Bhutanese architecture, these monuments are peerless. They are not only giant-sized but exquisite in the smallest detail, built without using a single nail, and blend harmoniously with the landscape. The fact that gigantic wood beams and stone blocks are hoisted and placed at dizzying heights simply takes one’s breath away.
- Each of this castle-fortress contains numerous temples within which, in turn, houses invaluable statues, artifacts, paintings and relics. Thus, for pilgrims, no site is as sacred or fulfilling than a visit to these imposing structures.
- The duality of purpose for which these castle-fortresses were built is still intact today. One wing serves as the offices of the regional governor, district judge and their staff while the other is occupied by the monks.
- This tour also allows you to see other facets of Bhutan – people, culture, nature, etc.