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Monday, September 9, 2013

Wachen Dzong’s Untold History

The new temple construction underway (August 2013)
 Tsangpa Gyarey, founder of Drukpa Kagyud (an offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism), believed that Phajo  Drugomwould visit Bhutan and spread the kagyud teachings on the soils of Bhutan. Thus, did Phajo  visited Bhutan in 1222 and started the Drukpa Kagyud religion in Bhutan. Phajo  built many temples and monasteries through which the seeds of kagyud spread far and wide. Phajo  had 4 sons and Phajo  sent the sons to different regions of Bhutan to spread the religion.

From the 4 sons, Sey Sangdag Gartoen was sent to Wachen in Bjena gewog under Wangdue Dzongkhag. Upon reaching Wachey, Sey Gartoen constructed two temples as his prime seats, Baling Goenpa in Khotokha (Summer seat) and Wachen dzong (Winter seat) in Wachen.  He started and spread a lineage known as Wachen Zhelgno.
Primarly, Wachen dzong had 3 blocks but only ruins can be seen now. The seats served as a center of activities and administration for the region. Wachen dzong served as an administrative and religious seat till the time of Zhabdrung.
Drukpa kuenley, the divine madman also visited the dzong on different occasions. He also had a consort named Gokid Pem from the place.
Zhabdrung used the dzong until the construction of Wangdue dzong. Oral history also recalls a war with Zhabdrung’s enemies from Tibet being fought at the Wachen dzong. Minjur Tempa, the third Desi, also stayed at Wachen dzong until he was enthroned as the Druk Desi.
An elevated view of the dzong site
As everything, nature and time took over the dzong and the monument suffered a slow death due to unknown reasons or causes. Till date, the ruins stood majestically over the Wachen village. Nevertheless, a Kenpo by the name of Dorji, a resident of the same village, initiated to build a temple at the spot. The new temple is being constructed at the supposed spot of the original main Lhakhang of the old dzong and the cost is wholly borne by Khenpo Dorji. The construction is just a couple of months away from completion. Once more, history will be written and Wachen village will be blessed with its only local temple.
The short history is a translated version of the interview with a local resident conducted by the writer. So, some of the information maybe vague or incorrect and the writer would like to seek forgiveness for the same.
Sangay Thinley
Class IX E
UNESCO Club Member
Samtengang MSS

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