A visit to any dzongkhag of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is incomplete without treating your eyes to the spectacular sights of the grandiose dzongs (fortresses) and magnificent statues of the protector deities. And Mongar, owing to its modern and marvelous Dzong, follows this rule to a t. Situated on a sloppy hill at an altitude of 1,639 meters above the main town, the Mongar Dzong immediately catches your attention with its mesmerizing charm and wonderful architecture, as you step foot in this beautiful eastern town.
A famous landmark of Mongar, the dzong was built in 1930 by his majesty, the third King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck. According to traditional legend, a King named Karpo Dung invited an architect from Paro to build a fort in the province. During his land survey, the architect came across a white stone shaped like a bowl on a mound just above Kurichhu. He named the place Zhongkhar, which means white bowl, and the name was later changed to Mongar. Today, the Mongar Dzong stands on that very spot. Considered the newest Dzong of Bhutan, this impressive structure also serves as the administrative and religious headquarters of the district.
The popular tourist destination of Mongar dzong welcomes visitors with its two entrances and a central tower (Utse) in the middle of a beautiful courtyard. This Utse is also the only reminisce left of the erstwhile Zhongar Dzong, which was the original dzong of the region. With its attractive chapel, four Lhakhangs, visually appealing walls and ceilings adorned with astonishing murals and paintings, the Mongar Dzong is the perfect demonstration of the rich and exquisite traditional Bhutanese architecture that continues to thrive in these High Himalayan Mountains since time immemorial. A visit to this quaint sanctuary is incomplete without taking a leisurely stroll through its wondrous wooden floored corridor and simultaneously filling your hearts with immense tranquility by listening to the enchanting prayers of the monks.
The alluring aroma of incense adds to this enthralling spiritual experience. During the month of November/December every year, which corresponds to the 8th-10th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar, the Dzong hosts the famous Tshechu Festival. The whole district and especially the Dzong gets engulfed in this grand extravaganza of traditional Bhutanese culture. It is indeed imperative that you visit this idyllic Dzong, which also serves as the cultural and religious melting pot of Mongar, and treat yourself to all the delights offered by this architectural marvel.