Bhutan’s architectural forms are quite diverse. 16 different architecture styles can be seen throughout the country – comprising farm house, chortens (Stupas), temples, monasteries, water prayer wheel, fortresses, etc. Traditional Bhutanese buildings, built without particular architecture drawing but through the expertise of master carpenter’s, have no nails or iron bars in the construction.
“See from without, it’s a rocky escarpment! See from within, it’s all gold and treasure!” By Ingun Bruseland Amundsen.
“Dzong” means fortress in the Bhutanese language. It is believed that the Dzong system was brought in to Bhutan in 1153 AD by the Tibetan Lama Gyalwa Lhananpa.
Bhutanese Dzong are massive fort structures located mostly on mountain ridges overlooking the valley. Access is very restricted due to the terrain on which they are built.
In the past, a Dzong was mainly used for fortification – where men would gather and fight to defend their homeland from external attacks. Today, most Dzong are used as area administration offices and as well as monastery.
Dzong are revered as architectural master pieces and are as fascinating in their origin as their function and beauty.