Zhongar Zhong

Posted on 16/April/2013

The Bhutanese equivalent of Count Dracula’s castle, the Dzong is pretty much avoided by the locals today. There is no written history of the Dzong. Oral account believes that a king named Karpo Dung who invited a famous architect from Paro by the name of Zochhen Bala to design and built the fortress commissioned the Dzong. The architect is believed to have come across a white stone, shaped like a bowl, on a mound just above the Kurichhu. He called the place Zhongkar (Zhong = bowl and Kar = White) and decided to build the fortress there.

On the way to construct the Dzong, the Tsen (cliff deity) is believed to have sent two of his deputies to kill the architect. Bala miraculously survived the encounter. On arrival, Bala took seven days to create a model of the Dzong from stems of the Artemisia (Khnpashing) plant. Bala built a magnificent Dzong. Fearing that Bala would build a better Dzong in future decided to but off Bala’s hands during the farewell ceremony. Some account believes that Bala was thrown into the Kurichu and drowned.

As he was dying, Zochen Bala made a wish that subsequent King would face the same pain as him and that his dynasty would be wiped out. He also made a wish to be reborn as an evil in the court of the Tsen of Golongfrak that would forever haunt the Dzong and adjoining area. Locals believe that Bala was reborn as a giant snake that guard the Dzong and killed King’s horses once a night.

The King sought the help of a religious master of that time, Paseling Trulku, who journeyed to the Dzong. Trulku entered into a retreat and instructed not to be disturbed. However the King, who was growing suspicious instructed his chamberlain to spy on Trulku on the sixth day. Upon finding this distrust, Trulku informed the King that the Dzong couldn’t be saved, as the snake, which the Chamberlain saw submitting to Trulku, cannot be completely subdued. The King offered the offered Trulku a hundred cows and the pastureland around the Yundhiridrang. Till today, the land is still owned by the descendant of Trulku.

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