Trong Village


Trong village is situated at an elevation of 1955m above sea level.  The village is adjacent to Zhemgang main town, and it is built on a hill that overlooks the majestic Zhemgang Dzong. The village has a cluster of 27 households, and a cobblestone footpath runs through the village horizontally. Each house is a two-storey traditional stone structure with wooden windows and shutters. The whole area of the village spans over 2.3 acres and the population in the village is approximately 111 people.


The actual origin of the name Trong remains unknown. According to oral sources, a master from Kheng Gongphu, Lama Zhang founded the Zhemgang Dzong in the late 17th century. He is believed to have been assassinated there, and therefore the place came to be known as Trong (an honorific term for assassination). Another supposition is that Trong is a corrupted version of khrong, which means a village in Khengkha (the local language).

The oral sources say that Trong settlement has existed for more than a century, and thus holds historical significance. It is even believed to predate the Zhemgang dzong.


The village sits on a hilltop and is a testimony of remarkable Bhutanese architecture and masonry skills. Each house is uniquely crafted out of stones, wood and mud. According to oral sources, the master builders of Trong village were not skilled in constructing mud rammed houses, but they showed their expertise in carving stones to build houses. The evidence of their masonry skills is there in the distinctive architecture of the houses in Trong village.

Another striking feature of the houses in Trong village is its resistance to earthquakes despite having been built on rocks without proper foundations.  It is said that the foundations do not exceed 30cm (Chugang – forearm length), and the elders attribute this to lack of tools in olden days. The trees and grasses in the village are believed to be the stabilizing factor of the village.


The houses in Trong village have retained their original traditional architecture, but many are in dilapidated states. Some concrete structures have come up over the years, and these modern buildings are a threat to the village’s unique identity. The village elders recollect that shingles were used for roofing and now CGI sheets have replaced them.

In September 2014, His Majesty the Fifth King visited Trongsa dzongkhag and also Trong village. On his visit, the king inspected the houses in the village and was amazed by the remarkable masonry skills of the builders. The king commanded that the Dzongkhag administration preserve Trong as a heritage village to retain its traditional beauty.

The 27 households were granted land in the vicinity of Zhemgang municipality by His Majesty in September 2016, so that the villagers are not deprived of modern amenities and economic development. The Zhemgang dzongkhag has plans to promote eco-tourism to preserve Trong as a traditional Bhutanese village

The village’s unique masonry skills and stability have even attracted researchers from Japan to study its distinctive architecture and the landscape of Trong village in Zhemgang district.


Japha Dorji, 52, former mangmi

Tashi Choden, 34, Thromde representative


Tshering Yangki, Asst. Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.


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