Drapham Dzong ruins Consolidation Project

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Brief description of the project

Bhutan Swiss Archaeology Project, a cooperation project between the Royal Government of Bhutan, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (HSI) and Swiss Liechtenstein Foundation of Archaeological Research Abroad (SLSA) was established in the year 2007, on request of the Royal Government of Bhutan to the HSI to support the archaeology project in Bhutan.

Drapham Dzong Archaeology project was the first ever Archaeology project executed in Bhutan under the Phase I of the Bhutan Swiss Archaeology project, which spanned over three years from 2008- 2010. The project resulted in three excavation operations, a comprehensive survey of the entire site, human resource development through hands-on training to the Bhutanese counterparts at the site as well as educational exchanges, and presentation of the project to the Swiss public.

Location:

The Drapham Dzong (fotress) ruin is situated in the Bumthang district in Central Bhutan. (Exact position: N 27o 39’ 15.4” E 90o45’ 14.9” Height 2930m above sea level)

Oral history:

The fortress is said to be the winter residence of Choekhor Deb (leader of the Choekhor community in Bumthang). This period dates back to early 15th Century during the period of Pema Lingpa, before the period of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. In Bhutan, the existing Dzongs (fortress) were mostly built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal himself during his period or built later. Since the Dzongs of pre- Zhabduring era are all in ruins, one of the objective of the Drapham Dzong excavation project was to study and compare the pre- Zhabdrung Dzong architecture with the Zhabdurng Architecture.

Consolidation of Drapham Dzong

Since the Drapham Dzong archaeology project is the first ever archaeological sites in the country, one of the main aim is to present the site to the public and visitors as a model for display and conservation of archaeological heritage in Bhutan.

As part of the project, the consolidation of Drapham Dzong was carried out in the month of April, May and June 2020. The total budget of Nu. 2 million was allocated for the project. The consolidation works were carried out strictly as per the conservation principles by consolidating the damaged portion of walls of the ruin structure (see fig below). While consolidating the walls, a plain cement concrete band was provided as a water proofing layer to protect the walls from rain water seepage. A footpath was also constructed from the base of the hill leading to the site for the visitors.

In continuation, the presentation of the site with proper signage’s, maps, information boards and visitor’s information shall be installed and implemented in the fiscal year 2020-2021.