Dzongs of Bhutan

Design Overview

Dzongs are magnificent fortress-like structures that can be regarded as the visual metaphor for Bhutan. It’s incredible to know that Dzongs were constructed without the use of architectural plans! The construction proceeded under the direction of a higher lama who established each dimension through spiritual inspiration. Click on the thumbnails below to view images and read our notes.

Things to observe: Dzong Architecture, Design and Culture

You will straightaway notice the trademark stark white exterior walls constructed of stone and rammed mud and red shingled roofs as well as golden roofs. Dzongs, have distinctive white washed walls with the dark red band (kemar) around the top, the elaborately carved and colorfully painted rabsel window assembly and the golden Jabzhi roofs.

Dzongs also are a perfect representation of how integrated heritage, Buddhist faith and the government are in Bhutan’s day to day life. Almost everything from designing, measuring, carving to completing the work is done by the master carpenter who is also the architect. Dzongs have some of the finest examples of  ‘Shing-zo’  meaning carpentry and woodwork in the country. Design elements like attention to detail, rich ornamentation and a bold and wide colour palette are harnessed to reflect balance and divinity.

Read our other posts on Bhutan: the spectacular experience of climbing Bhutan’s iconic landmark: Tigers Nest trek, Bhutan- Places to visit before you die and 5 reasons to visit Bhutan – The Kingdom of Happiness


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