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Dzongs

 

< Trongsa dzong
 
 
These gigantic structures with their massive walls and elegant woodwork are among the most impressive forms of architecture in Asia.  
 

The basic pattern of the dzong is the utse (central tower) which generally houses several temples, a courtyard surrounded by an outer structure which houses monks' quarters, administrative offices, and the kitchen.

Trashigang, Dagana, Mongar, Gasa and Simtokha dzongs are good examples of this pattern, however, most of the dzongs have two courtyards, sometimes at spilt levels separated by the central tower. One courtyard is for monastic use while the other is for administration. Good examples of this structure are Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Paro, Thimphu and Jakar Dzongs. Trongsa is the most complex of all dzongs with an intricate pattern of buildings, towers and courtyards.

Punakha Dzong

 

Chörten / Chhoeten (Stupa in Sanskrit)

 

<Memorial Chorten in Thimphu
 
 
 
Chortens are built in memory of eminent lamas or to pin down evil spirits. 

They are  also built to protect a region against evil spirits at places which are potentially  dangerous such as crossroads and passes as well as landslide and accident prone  areas.


 
 
Chorten in Bumthang >

Bhutanese chortens are of three styles:
Huge stone chortens which are often whitewashed, are built on the model of the  stupa of Boudnath in Nepal. Good examples of this style are  Chendebji (Trongsa), Kurizampa (Mongar) and Chorten Kora (Trashiyangtse). Stone chortens resembling the Tibetan style are common throughout central and  eastern Bhutan. They are often covered by a wooden frame.

Chortens of a purely Bhutanese tradition are primarily widespread in western Bhutan. Their outer structure is a square stone building with a red stripe at its upper level and shingle or stone-slab roofs. A chorten of the Tibetan style is sometimes erected inside that of a local type structure. 

The Bhutanese style Chorten can also be found in a series of eight, called the Chorten Degye. These chortens commemorate eight great events of the life of Lord Buddha and each of them has a different shape. The selection of a site for the construction of a chortten is suggested by an astrologer; a Sogshing and the other elements of Zung are put inside the structure and a consecration ceremony is performed. The Chorten then becomes sacred and dismantling it is, therefore, a serious sin.

 

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