With about one third of structures in the first courtyard completed after the installation of the Gyeltshen last year, the management said that the remaining structures in the first courtyard, except the main entrance will be completed by the end of June this year. This is excluding the internal finishing, paintings, electrification and installation of Nangtens which will ensue once the external structures are completed.
As of December 2017, Nu 436 million has been spent on the reconstruction works out of the allocated 1 billion budget,and about 51 percent of the works have been completed until date.
With the construction works in full swing, there are 130 masons and 70 helpers working in the Dzong site and 70 carpenters and 30 helpers working in Samthang timber fabrication workshop. The site, at this time of the year also provides an opportunity for the students to earn pocket money during their winter break. Currently there are around seventy students on temporary basis, all of whose parents are also working at the site.
The three storied Kuenrey structure has been fully completed, with nangtens installed after proper consecration. The Project Engineer from the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Dorji said that the management is trying their best to complete the Utse structure by the end of March this year. The Utse structure, as explained by the Project Engineer, will be equipped with seismic resilience technology by the way of base isolation from the foundation. Base isolation is a technique developed to prevent or minimize damage to buildings during an earthquake. The super structure and the foundation is built away from one another, with the super structure resting on flexible bearings known as base isolators so as to reduce the impact of the earthquake by limiting movements or not moving at all during the shake.
“The reason we are exploring very advanced method of seismic resilience of base isolation in this structure is because Utse is tallest structure of the Dzong and since our country is in the earthquake prone zone, Utse will be at more risk should any such natural calamity strike the region. The base isolation technique is also first of its kind in the country,” said Dorji.
Unlike the other Dzongs in the country, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong will be also the first one to have a passage built underground called the service tunnel to carry utility lines such as electricity, water supply pipes, sewer lines, and telephone and internet lines. The service tunnel will also serve as an entry and exit during emergencies and the tunnel will have a width in which two people can walk at a time.
Dorji said that the individuals and groups coming forward for voluntary works at the site has been very positive and the numbers are increasing every year.So far around 4,400 individuals have contributed 5,400 man-days of work and about 150 tokhas have been sponsored by interested individuals and groups.
It has been around four years since the reconstruction works of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong began after the fortress was completely razed down in the tragic fire of 24th June, 2012 and the tentative completion schedule is on December, 2021.