Look Inside

An Introduction to Traditional Architecture of Bhutan

(20% + 20% off)
FREE Delivery
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: NAO697
Publisher: Department of Works, Housing and Roads Royal Government of Bhutan
Language: English
Edition: 1993
Pages: 276 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0 inch X 8.0 inch
Weight 1 kg
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business

The late King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and the late Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lonchen Jigme Palden Dorji, were the two main architects of modern Bhutan. The former was a thinker, innovator and visionary whose ideas were far ahead of his times. He was a wise and benevolent ruler who strengthened the kingdom's sovereignty and independence by leading Bhutan into the United Nations and other international organizations. He carried out sweeping social, economic and political reforms, and in the process built institutions to promote the peace, stability, unity and prosperity of the kingdom. He was loved and worshipped by his people to an extent rare in world history.

The late Prime Minister, Lonchen Jigme Palden Dorji, was totally devoted to his King and country. He shared in his monarch's vision of a new and resurgent nation taking its rightful place in the comity of nations. He realized that unless Bhutan modernized and opened its doors to the outside world, it could not survive as an independent entity in the changed geo-political environment in which the kingdom found itself in the second half of the 20th century. Both the late king and the late Prime Minister were great men who left an indelible impress on Bhutanese history.

His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan, on whose illustrious shoulders the mantle of his late father has fallen, has taken bold and courageous steps to consolidate the kingdom's political and cultural identity. Material progress is now not being promoted at the cost of traditional values and culture, and every effort is being made to preserve the kingdom's distinctive identity.

In 1982, by Royal Command, I was given the additional responsibility of urban planning and development, with the specific mandate to preserve the unique architectural heritage of the kingdom. This heritage at that time was in serious danger of being eroded with the import of cement and steel and architectural concepts alien to the kingdom's culture and natural environment.

Bhutanese architects were great innovators. They built massive dzongs without any drawings and without using nails. Every dzong, temple and monastery they built were different. Each were designed to meet different conditions of site, function, and its own time. Judged by any standard, traditional structures such as Tongsa Dzong, Gangtey Gompa and Paro Taktsang are architectural masterpieces. Bhutanese architects have traditionally borrowed architectural forms and ideas from outside and made them their own. Their forms have changed over time, as it must in all living cultures. They developed distinctive ideas through a synthesis of old forms and ideas. Traditional buildings have imbibed ideas from Chinese decorative concepts, Indian religious motifs and Persian window forms. The achievement has been to combine external motifs and make them distinctively Bhutanese. In endeavors to preserve the spirit of traditional architecture, it must be kept in mind that when a culture's forms become frozen and rigid and unchanging, they lost life and freshness. Traditional architecture in order to retain its power and beauty must adjust to changing needs and conditions. It cannot simply clothe new functions with a veneer of old forms. The aims must be to produce structures which blend and mix the best of different ideas and forms and reach a new synthesis.

The aim of this book is to document traditional architecture, both religious and secular. I sincerely hope that this exhaustive documentation of an important facet of Bhutanese culture will serve both as a record of past achievements and as a guide and encouragement to future creativity.

I humbly dedicate this work to our late beloved King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and our late beloved Prime Minister, Lonchen Jigme Palden Dorji, for the outstanding leadership they provided in building a new and progressive Bhutan on the bed-rock of the kingdom's rich spiritual and cultural heritage.


General 0
Introdution 1
Delvelopment of Buddhism into Vajrayana 3
The Early Era 9
The Medieval Era 12
Modern Vajrayona 14
Proto and Ancient Bhutan 15
The First Spreading of Bhuddhism 15
The second spreading of Buddhism 16
The Rice of the Shabdrungs 20
Establishment of the Hereditary Monarchy 22
Iconography 26
Key to Vajrayan Iconography 29
Painting Techniques 38
Establishment Groupings 42
Support, rTon 42
Classification according to Subject 43
Classification according to composition 45
Dzongs 52
Simtokha Dzongs 63
Tongsa Dzong 69
Jakar Yugyel Dzong 72
Wangduchholing Dzong 76
Druk Punthang Dhechen Phodrang 79
Tashichho Dzong 84
Rinchenpung Dzong 90
Monateries and Temples  
Monasteries and Temples 95
Tamzhing Lhungrub Chholing 106
Tango Monastery 110
Dechenphug 112
Kyichu Lhakhang 116
Dumtse Lhakhang 119
Konchogsum Lhakhang 124
Constructing a Temple 128
Selection of the Site 129
Layout and digging of the foundation trench 132
Erection of the super-structure 132
Erection of the timbre columns 133
Construction of the timber floors 135
The internal plastering 135
The Internal decorating 135
Chorten 144
The eight classical chorten 152
The Chorten Khonying 155
The mani chukhor chorten 155
The tashi gomang 158
The Maniwall or Mendong 160
Constructing a Chorten 161
Bridges 169
Housing Architecture  
The Country and its People 180
The People 182
Settlement Patterns 183
Rural settelments 188
Housing Architecture 191
The archetype Inner Himalayan 191
Valley framhouse  
Foundations 191
Walls 193
Standard roof patterns 196
Inner structure 200
Entrances and balconies 202
Ground floor 203
First floor 204
Second floor 204
Attic 205
External decorations 206
High Altitude Architecture Regional, Differences in Housing Architecture 209
Haa Valley 219
Paro Valley 219
Punakha area 220
Wangdi Phodrang area 222
Tongsa area 226
Bumthang Valleys 226
Ura Valley 230
Mongar area 232
Tashing area 238
Tashing town 241
Thimphu Valley 243
New Trends in Building Materials 244
And Construction Techniques 245
Appendix 248
Appendix 250
Appendix 252

Sample Pages

Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories