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Locals want their iron bridge restored

Eastern Bhutan,Trashiyangtse: Chazam (iron bridge) in Duksum, Trashiyangtse was dismantled eight years ago for reconstruction into better form and shape.  Eight years have passed and nothing has been done so far, but people are hoping that the bridge and its glory will be restored someday.

The sacred 14th century Chazam was dismantled in 2004 as its walls were crumbling. And the people were told it would be reconstructed.

A resident of Duksum, who has lived there for 27 years, said there were talks of rebuilding the bridge in 2008. But, after the government and the dzongda were changed, the talks disappeared.

However, Phurpa, a former policeman, said, “We heard the fund released by the government was not enough to reconstruct the bridge. The people of Duksum agreed to contribute towards its reconstruction as the bridge is of immense significance to them.”

He said there were nine iron chains in the bridge. Some of the chains were used to reconstruct Tamchog Zam in Paro in 2005 and others are still lying in the store of Trashiyangtse Dzong, he added.

Tamchog Zam leads to Tamchog Lhakhang, a private temple owned by the descendants of Dupthob Thangthong Gyalpo, who built the Chazam in Duksum.

People in Duksum say after the bridge was dismantled, they started experiencing a lot of natural calamities like untimely rainfall, landslides, and windstorms.

“The bridge was a sacred jewel. The people should not Online Pokies have been allowed to dismantle it in the first place,” said a Duksum shopkeeper. He said he was not in Duksum when the bridge was dismantled, adding that “had I been here, I would not have allowed to dismantle the bridge. People had been foolish.”

Another shopkeeper said the bridge used to attract a lot of tourists. He said Duksum would see several tourists coming specifically to see the bridge.

“Some tourists ask us about the bridge. When we tell them it has been dismantled, they laugh and ask us if it bodes well with the government’s policy to preserve cultural heritage,” said the shopkeeper.

Sangay, another resident, said he did not understand why the bridge was dismantled if it were to be left without being reconstructed.

He said the people of Duksum are planning to raise the issue in the upcoming Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogdu.


The iron bridge was built from the chains of the erstwhile Trashigang Chazam in the late 1960s after the latter was replaced by a bailey bridge constructed by Project Dantak. The locals say the chains are believed to have been made by Dupthob Thangthong Gyalpo .

Dupthob Thangthong Gyalpo is believed to be the first to use heavy iron chains to construct suspension bridges. He built 108 bridges in Tibet and Bhutan. He came to Bhutan in 1433 and built eight iron bridges in different parts of the country.