Trongsa: Elevation 2,316m
About four hours drive from Wangdue Phordang is the centrak district of Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and from where the first two kings ruled the kingdom.
Trongsa is a convenient place to halt for the night if you are traveling to the east or the south of Bhutan. The Trongsa Tsechu (festival) usually falls between late November and mid-December.
WHAT TO SEE IN TRONGSA
Trongsa Dzong: built in 1648, is the ancestral home of the Royal family. Both the first and second King ruled the country from the ancient seat. All four Kings held the post of Trongsa Penlop (Honorary Governor) prior to being crowned as the King. The Dzong is massive structure with many levels, which slope down the contours of a hill on which it perches. Because of its highly strategic position as the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control the whole eastern region effectively. It is in this Dzong the annual Trongsa Festival is performed during December or January.
Ta Dzongz this watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands impressively and provides visitors an insight into historical significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. Kungarabten, about 15 miles from Trongsa was the winter palace of second King Jigme Wangchuk. It is a splendid building with superb woodwork and decorations. The 1st floor was used as storage for food, 2nd floor as the residence of royal attendance and the army, 3rd floor as the royal residence and king’s chapel. Part of this floor is presently used as Library. The top floor is an alter room with statues of Sakyamuni, the Shabdrung and Guru Rimpoche. Right above the palace is the nunnery; it is about 40 minutes walk uphill.
DAY HIKES IN TRONGSA
Kuenga Rabten: It is about 23 kilometers, one hour pleasant drive from Trongsa. Kinga Rabten was the winter palace of the second King and it offers a good insight into the early days of the Bhutan’s monarchy. The first floor of the palace was used to store a food, the second was the residence of the riyal attendants and the army, and the third housed the royal quarters and the king’s private chapel. Part of the third storey has been converted it into a library and many books from the National Library are stored here. On the top floor is the Sangye Lhakhang with contains the statues of Sakyamuni, Shabdrung and Guru Rimpoche.