Vision * "A self reliant Dzongkhag co-existing in peace and harmony with enhanced socio-economic standards, rich natural resources and cultural heritage" * Mission * “To enhance rural livelihood with good local governance in line with culture and environment” * དམིགས་དོན་གཅོད་པ། * ཕན་བདེ་བརྟན་རྒྱས་ལྡན་པའི་ས་གནས་གཞུང་གིས་ལམ་སྲོལ་དང་རང་བཞིན་རྒྱུ་ཁུངས་གཉིས་དང་བསྟུན་གྲོང་གསེབ་འཚོ་བའི་ཐུན་རྐྱེན་གོང་འཕེལ་གཏང་ནི། * འཆར་སྣང་བསམ་གྲུབ་ལྗོངས་མཁར། * རྒྱུན་བརྟན་རང་འདྲོངས་ཅན་དང་ཞི་བདེ་མཐུན་བསྒྲིག་མཉམ་དུ་གནས་ཏེ་མི་སྡེ་དཔལ་འབྱོར་གྱི་གནས་ཚད་ཡར་འཕར་སོང་བའི་རང་བཞིན་ཐོན་སྐྱེད་ཀྱི་འབྱོར་པ་དང་ལམ་སྲོལ་རྒྱུད་བཟང་ལྡན་པའི་ལྗོངས་སུ་བསྒྲགས་ནི།

Report of Richanglu/ Jadrung Dzong




The Richanglu Dzong or otherwise known as Jra Drung Dzong (ruin) is located at Martshala Gewog. Martshala Gewog is one among 11 Gewogs under SamdrupJongkhar Dzongkhag and it is under the jurisdiction of Samdrupcholing Dungkhag Administration. It is located approximately 80 kilometer (km) from the Dzongkhag headquarter and its population is 4000 (Dzongkhag Census office, 2014). The Dzong ruin lies approximately 3 km drive from Tshangchu Tham Bazzer (presently serves has Dungkhag town) towards Martshala Geog Center Road (GC Road). From the GC road, to reach the place, it takes another 15 minutes on foot. In the following photo I, details the location of Dzong ruin. In those days, Martshala people were using the same footpath until the government built the farm road, now called as GC road, handed over to Public Work Department (PWD) on 5th August 2014. (Read Article)


There are no villages within vicinity of ruins, however; the villages of Martshala, Martshala Pam Thrizor and kakpa dung are located around the periphery of the ruins. The Rechanglu stream (see photo II) runs right side of the Dzong ruins and gushes down below the ruins, probably the name Rechanglu Dzong has relation to this the stream.



II. Historical Background 


There is no written text available referring to or about the Richanglu/ Jra Drung Dzong. Moreover, no people from Martshala Geog can clearly tell the historical account of the ruins. However, during the site visit (08/08/2014-09/09/2104), some key informant(s) (see photo III) shared their version of story heard from their parents during childhood days. According to Meme Chnaglupi (aged 80), he said



…the Dzong was there as a ruin while he was young and his grandfather used to tell him that the ruins were there when he was a kid. He is not exactly sure of year but he estimates around three generation before the Dzong became ruins".


Meme Choney Gyaltshen (aged 72), describes

"The ruins would be as old as three generation and the Dzong was in ruin state when I was young…we could see  wooden window  and door  frame on the ruins but I am not sure  whether it is there today".  

 As mentioned earlier, nobody knows the complete history. However, in the following; one can understand from fragmented stories   told by the people.



a.      Construction of Dzong


Today, nobody is in position to tell when was the Dzong was built. According to Meme Choney Gyaltshen (aged 72), told that it will be very hard to say when the Dzong was built but he further enlightened me more about the Dzong. He said


"…old people used to say that the Dzong was being built by deploying Indian people. The entire stone for Dzong structure was passed from hand to hand from stone quarry to the Dzong construction by making single line"




There are no clues as how many Dungpas ruled from the Dzong. Nevertheless, Meme Chnaglupi recounts that Drungpa was known as Ja Drung and who collected taxes from Indian (from the people residing within Duars areas) and submit to Pon; most probably to the Trongsa Poenlop via Trashigang Dzongpon. Considering all the Meme's recount and other people's oral account, the year could be somewhere in-between 1814-1818.According to Meme Choney Gyaltshen (aged 72), describes






"The ruins would be as old as three generation and the Dzong was in ruin when I was young…we could see  wooden window  and door  frame on the ruins but I am not sure  of today".  


 Mean while Meme Choney Gyaltshen claim of Dzong construction narration was complemented by, Apa Mento Gyaltshen's (aged 53) version of story about the Dzong.The structure seems to be very huge (see photo IV), hopefully with further clearance and excavation work, one would be able to ascertain its exact size and shape.


b.Other Structures


There are other ruins structures around supposedly the main structure. These structures are most likely the house of attendants of Drungpa(s) which slowing became village around the Dzong. Meme Choney Gyaltshen who was also present at the ruin site told that there are many stone structures few meters where the main Dzong ruins. Further, below lays, a cremation ground covered by bushes and trees (see photo V). Apa Mento Gyaltshen and   Meme Choney Gyaltshen told thatthe cremation ground was use until 20 to 30 years ago, but people stopped using the cremation ground upon advice of Shame Shame lama. According them, the Lama advised people not to cremate on this cremation ground, he also told that people are dying because they are cremating on this cremation ground. "So, due to fear of more death, people abandoned this cremation ground and started cremating in their respective villages," said Apa Mento Gyaltshen.



There is also Nye nearby cremation ground.Few years ago, people used to visit the Nye, but today the Nye is not visible from the footpath, and also not accessible. Another very interesting revelation from the visit is that, on the right side of Rechanglu stream, there are ruins of Nangje Khoche palace. According to Mento Gyaltshen, the Nangje Khoche has important relation with Jra Drung Dzong. Indeed, both Nangje Khoche place and Dzong became ruin at similar period. It is believed that the people working for both Dungpa and Khochhe slowing became village adding more structure in an around the Dzong and palace. There are many stories, which is under process of writing down (a comprehensive report will be produce by the end of the project completion) for future references and conservation work.



III.             Conclusion


It is not too late to initiate and invest such projects in Dzongkhag(s). There are many "unknown unkown and known unkown" treasures hidden in remote villages. The Dzongkhag's attempt to "conserve" the Richanglu Dzong or otherwise known as Jra Drung Dzong (ruins) will stimulate sense of urgency to revive such old structure in various places in Bhutan. People are not aware of its significance historically as well as economically. This will not only shed new light to Bhutanese history with facts and figure but also become ray of hope for local people's economic enhancement. Lastly, this project with limited budget (0.250 million approved in FY 2014-2015) hopes to bring unlimited results to the Geog as well to the Dzongkhag.



Research done by:

(Sangay Tashi)
Dzongkhag Culture Officer

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