Perched on a knoll overlooking the small roadside town of Zhemgang is a cluster of identical traditional medieval structures that forms the village of Trong. Located roughly at 1,955 meters above sea level, the settlement is today preserved as a heritage village and comprises of 27 households with a cobblestone footpath running right through its heart.
While the origin of the village and its settlers are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, locals and some historians date it back to as far as the 12th century AD when a Tibetan adept, Lama Zhang Dorji Drakpa, visited the place and built a small hermitage on the site where the present Zhemgang dzong stands. The name “Trong” could have been derived from the local Khenkha dialect which means a “Village”.
The unique two-storied structures chiefly of dressed stone and timber, despite ravishes of time, has retained its archaic beauty and breathes a soul of its own. And, believe it or not, it is said that while the foundations are only about a foot deep, the structures have withstood many potent earthquakes in the past.
Given its unique architectural complexity and distinctive setting, His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck commanded it to be preserved as a heritage village and retain its traditional and aesthetic beauty. The entire village complex spans over an area of 2.3 acres and is home to about 120 inhabitants.
The village today stands a testament to the architectural finesse and construction skills of the people of Zhemgang who are known for their craftsmanship and hard work. A visit to Trong heritage village will definitely take one through a journey back in time and evoke a sense of nostalgia that is reminiscent of Bhutan’s medieval past.