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Lhuntse Dzong


The Fortress of the Precious Peak of Spontaneous Fulfillment atop a ridge overlooking Kurichu river. According to National Library of Bhutan, the dzong was initially constructed by Yonzin Ngagi Wangchuck, the youngest son of great Drukpa Lama Ngawang Chhogyal in 1554 found the place as a meditation center. The present day Karsel Lhakhang is believed to be the one which was constructd by the lama Ngagi Chhogyal. The present dzong, according to Legshey Phendhey Wangchuk, was constructed in 1665 during the time of Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa after which a rabdey was instituted by 4th Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. According to another account, Ngagi Wangchuk first meditated at Timula, the other place in Lhuentse.
Later, when he went to look for a winter seat, he arrived at the present site of Lhuentse Dzong. There the local deity appeared before him in the form of a white goat roaming and bleating. The sound of the bleating was taken as an auspicious sign and he built a temple in 1552 consequently. It was named as Leyley Dzong, the fortress of goat, after the bleating sound of the Goat. However, there are many other theories as to how the Dzong got its name: one story says that a stone below the Dzong resembles a Goat’s figure and it is believed that this stone bleated, alluding to the Dzong’s name. Another account states that the site chosen for the Lhuentse Dzong was on high ridge across Kurichu, on the right hand side of Tangmachu village. Opposite the ridge and below it lies Minjey village, where there is rock shaped like a frog. This rock is also believed to have bleated like a goat. The people considered this an ominous sign and shifted the site of construction from Minjey village to the present site. Later, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel followed the routes of his great ancestor Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk and visited Kurtoe Lhuntshi Phodrang. During his visit, he planned to construct a new Dzong there but it could not be materialized due to the presence of several local Kings who were not in good terms amongst themselves. Therefore, he prayed that a Dzong be built at Kurtoe Lhuntshi Phodrang bringing whole of Kuri Dozhi under the control of central government in the future, and returned to Dechen Phodrang. In 1654, the joint force of Gawa (King of Phagidung) and Dharma (King of Kidling) attacked Timula Dzongpoen Lhadhar for no obvious reason. At the same time, a civil war between Chhoetse Penlop Chhogyal Minjur Tempa and Bumthang Choekhor Dhepa had just ended and the forces of Chhoetse Penlop and Druk Desi were celebrating their victory. The relatives of Dzongpoen Lhadhar were aware of the presence of combined troops of Druk Desi and Chhoetse Penlop at Bumthang and approached Chhoetse Penlop for assistance. Chhoetse Penlop who was then well aware of Zhabdrung prophecy to bring Kurtoe region under central government consented to their request. Then the whole troops of Druk Desi and Chhoetse Penlop marched to
Kurtoe and captured the two kings bringing Kurtoe under control of central government. Following this a new Dzong was constructed by the troops of Shar, Wang, Mangde and Bumthang in less than two months and appointed Lam Phuentshok as its first Dzongpoen. The Dzong was named Lhuendrup Rinchen Tsei Dzong, which means, the fortress of the precious
peak of spontaneous fulfillment. During the reign of fourth Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, monastic school was instituted wherein monk tax was imposed for the first time in Lhuentse. He also installed various religious artifacts and relics in the Dzong. He delegated the authority to appoint Dzongpoen of Kurtoe to Chhoetse Penlop. Thereafter Dzongpoen was entrusted with the responsibility to watch over the Dzong and its maintenance with the help of people should any damage occur. In 1962, Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck commanded the Dzong be rebuilt coinciding with the construction of Tashichhodzong at Thimphu. Therefore, the present day Dzong structure with its splendid beauty
resembling perched pigeon overlooking Kurichu below is the result of our Third King’s noble initiative. The Dzong houses several lhakhangs including renowned Tshepamey statue. Another major Dzong renovation project was initiated during the time of Dasho Ngedup Dorji who was the head of Lhuentse District.

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