Trongsa, a four-hour drive from Wangdue Phodrang, offers
a welcome rest to travelers. Like almost all towns in Bhutan,
the dzong, dominates the valley, dwarfing the surrounding
buildings. About five miles before Trongsa, the road winds
around a cliff and takes a sharp turn to the left. The view
is one of the most beautiful sights, and one of which you
will never tire. Sited on the contour of a ridge stands
the multi-level Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648. It is at least
another 20 minute drive from the first look-out of the town
and dzong before you arrive in Trongsa proper. Trongsa
is the ancestral home of the Royal Family and the dzong
acted as a defensive fortress attacking enemies. The Crown
Prince of Bhutan traditionally becomes the Penlop or Governor
of Trongsa before being crowned King.
Trongsa Dzong is impregnable. The dzong itself is
a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court
over the local community. It is built on many levels into
the sides of the hill, and can be seen from every approach
to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold.
Ta Dzong, or watchtower, which once guarded the dzong
from internal rebellion, stands impressively above the dzong
and provides the visitor with more insight into the historical
significance of Trongsa in Bhutan's history.
Trongsa is one of the quaintest of all Bhutanese towns.
The town's vista is traditional in appearance, with wooden
slatted houses lined up together on the side of the hill.
The local population weaves its own textiles from hand-dyed
wool. Trongsa is a good shopping stop on your journey to
the east of the country.