ASI experts to visit Bhutan to restore fortress

Indian experts from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will soon visit Bhutan to restore its centuries old fortress, Trongsa Dzong, which has suffered destruction due to the mining activities carried out for constructing a hydroelectric project in its vicinity.

The project is a collaboration between the two neighbouring governments.
Funded by India the construction of 750 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric project is a collaboration between the two neighbouring governments. The `380-crore project is spread over 300 hectares in Central Bhutan near Thimpu.
To be commissioned in next four years, the project includes construction of a 56 metre high concrete gravity-dam, a 13,661 metre-long race tunnel and an underground powerhouse with four units of 180 MW.
The construction which started last year however has become a threat for the monument, with its walls becoming the first casualty. In a letter sent to the culture ministry recently, Bhutan has indicated that historical fortress was having an adverse impact on its walls. The Bhutan government is of the view that the blasting activities carried in the dam area for the construction of the new power project could have led to the destruction. Following, this the Bhutan government has asked the government here to send a team of experts from the ASI for assessment and to carry on repair work in Trongsa Dzong later. The expenditure incurred on the restoration work however would be funded by the Bhutan government.
“A team of experts from ASI will soon visit Bhutan. They will inspect, assess the and will prepare the report based on their assessment,” sources in the ministry revealed.
Trongsa Dzong, an exemplary of Dzong architecture, is an extensive complex — the largest in Bhutan. It consists of a maze of courtyards, passageways and corridors and the complex contains as many as 25 temples — the first one built way back in 1543. The most important temples are those dedicated to the Tantric deities of Yamantaka, Hevajra, Cakrasamvara and Kalacakra. The Maitreya (Jampa) temple was erected in 1771 and today contains a clay statue of the Buddha of the Future, donated by King Ugyen Wangchuck in the early 20th century.

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