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A dzong is the Bhutanese name for a building which in other countries would be called a castle or a fortress. They were built as a means to govern and protect a region and each was the residence of the regional governor. A dzong is usually divided into two parts - a secular administrative section and a religious monastic section. Most of Bhutan's dzongs were severely damaged in the 1897 earthquake and were repaired or rebuilt in their original style. Many have also suffered disastrous fires caused by the use of butter lamps in temples. Traditionally dzongs are built with no architectural plans or drawings; the builders rely on a mental image of what is required. They are also said to be constructed using no nails.
Punakha Dzong stands at the confluence of two rivers the Mo Chhu (Mother River) and the Pho Chhu (Father River). Punakha served as Bhutan's capital for over 300 years and the first king was crowned here in 1907. The dzong and the surrounding area suffered severe damage in 1994 when a glacial lake far up in the Pho Chhu valley burst sending a flash flood downstream. The access bridge was washed away and the flood water was said to have reached to the top of the entry stairs and into the courtyard. While we were visiting the dzong work was progressing on replacing a traditional cantilever bridge

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2806 W: 84 N: 6959] (31631)
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