Mongar is the fastest developing dzongkhag in eastern Bhutan. Rebuilt in 1953 and is bit unusual with two main entrances. It is two-storey high with the utse (central Tower) in the centre of the courtyard. It is much smaller as compared to the other Dzongs in Bhutan. The original fortress of the region was in Shongar and the present Dzong replaced it in 1930s. Like most other Dzongs, it is the administrative headquarters for Mongar district.
Mongar is noted with its lemon grass,a plant that can be used to produce an essential oil.It also has a hydropower plant on the Kuri Chhu river.
This temple is extremely well known and revered as it is the birthplace of ZhabdrungJigme Drakpa, the third incarnation of Zhabdrung (lama) who was both a political and spiritual leader and unified Bhutan. This temple is sacred and very special to the Bhutanese. It has relics and artifacts that are unique because it is related to Bhutan’s founder.
A short hike through beautiful forest brings the visitor to the actual birthplace of the third Zhabdrung. A monument is expected to be built at the site of this ruin.
Zhongar Dzong, located oppositeLingmithang on the Mongar-Bumthang highway remained in ruins for more than a century.Zhongar Dzong covers a total area of about 8 acres. The prefix Dzong means ‘Zhong’ actuall means the ‘bowl’. Gar and kar are the suffixes adjoined together to form Zhong-gar and Zhong-kar.
There are several oral accounts regarding the downfall of the glorious Dzong. According to one, after the completion of the Dzong, the king killed Zochhen Bala (the master architect) in the fear that a Dzong of equal or greater magnificence might be built. In his dying wish, Bala cursed that the Dzong be wiped out, and himself be reborn in the Dzong as a wrathful spirit. It is believed that Bala’s curse materialized leading to the ruin of the Dzong. Bala himself is believed to have been born as a huge snake in the Dzong.
According to the history text of Desis, the name was Zhonggar (gZong-bowl, Ga-Comfortable) because this Dzong is located in a relaxing lower valley. There are other versions also. The locals are very superstitious and an atmosphere of fear looms in the area. Stories of the presence of certain malevolent spirits and a gigantic snake guarding a treasure of gold and silver are only whispered. Beyond a pile of stones and mud, it echoes past life to connect us to the future. Embedded inside is a life frozen in time, a wealth of history that can be still recounted orally by those who also heard it from their grandparents.