Simtokha Dzong

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Timings : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Simtokha Dzong, Thimphu Overview

Overlooking the entire Thimphu valley, the Simtokha Dzong is located 5kms south of central Thimphu. Simtokha Dzong is also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang, which means "Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras". Not just a religious structure, it is also a prominent Dzongkha learning institute in the country. It is often said to be the first Dzongs built in Bhutan.

The word Simtokha literally translates to "Atop a Demon" and has a legend associated with it. It was made to petrify an evil spirit which was scaring away the travellers. Rich in royal values, the unique architectural feature of this traditional Dzong is that its central tower Utse has twelve sides. The evenings see this majestic dzong beautifully lit up, making for one of the gorgeous sights in Thimphu.

Simtokha Dzong
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The Architecture of the Simtokha Dzong

Spread across an area of 60 metres square, the dzong is three storeys tall. There is only one entry gate at its southern side with many exquisite murals preserved within it. The prayer wheels are mesmerising and sacred. There are chapels built inside the dzong which are dedicated to the protector deities of Bhutan. It has undergone subsequent renovations over the years, which explains why the dzong looks so new and perfect, though it is hundreds of years old.

Simtokha Dzong
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History of the Simtokha Dzong

Built-in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Simtokha Dzong was one of the first dzongs to have been founded by Ngawang Namgyal after his rise in Western Bhutan. It is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan, and one of the very few to retain its original integrity. Legends believe that the dzong protected people, especially those travellers who stayed there at night, from a local demon, which hid away in the nearby rock.

The land on which the Simtokha Dzong is built is a meeting point for the boundaries of the three most prominent regions of Western Bhutan: Thimphu, Paro and Wangdue Phodrang. Before the dzong was erected here, there used to be a temple at the same place which was gifted to Ngawang Namgyal following his victory. The Lama who had gifted this to him had asked for the construction of a dzong here and hence to fulfil this purpose, this iconic dzong was founded.

Simtokha Dzong
Inside the Simtokha Dzong (Source)

How To Reach Simtokha Dzong

Chu Dzong, which is used as a prayer hall for students, Buddha Dordenma and Thimphu Chorten are close to this dzong. A cab can be hired from any part of Thimphu to reach the Simtokha Dzong.

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