Land of the Thunder Dragon - Paro Tshechu
Journey through the mystical kingdom of Bhutan during festival time
The extensive palace of Wangdichholing was built in 1857 on the site of a battle camp of the penlop of Trongsa, Jigme Namgyal. It was the first palace in Bhutan that was not designed primarily as a fortress. Namgyal's son, King Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan, was born here and chose it as his principal residence. The entire court moved from Wangdichholing to Kuenga Rabten each winter in a procession that took three days. Wangdichholing was also for a time the home of the third king, before he moved the royal court to Punakha in 1952.
The grand but rather neglected building is currently used as a lobdra (monastic school) but the Bhutan Foundation (www.bhutanfound.org) has plans to renovate the building and convert it into a museum. There are five giant prayer wheels inside square chortens just to the north. The sleek modern building next door is the Amankora resort, which some locals complain is located too close for comfort to its royal neighbour.