The Song Lhündrup Tsé Dzongchen

Today Lhuntse is a northeastern district of Bhutan, but originally it referred to the place where Khedrup Künga Wangpo, son of Tertön Pema Lingpa, meditated. As well, Yongzin Ngakgi Wangchuk, the youngest son of great Drukpa Lama, Ngakwang Chögyal built a temple there in the mid 1540s. Later, Trongsa Chila Chogyal Mingyur Tenpa brought the whole of Kuri Dozhi under the control of the central government. The dzong was built at the site where Yongzin Ngakgi Wangchuk had built his small temple. The new dzong was named Kurtö Lhuntse Phodrang.

It is said that the dzong was constructed by the troops of Shar, Wang, Mangdé and Bumthang in less than two months and appointed Lam Phuntsho as its first dzongpön ruler. When the dzong was being built, it is said that the laborers formed a line from the banks of Kurichu to the lower edge of the ridge on which the dzong rests. The Dzong was named Lhündrup Rinchen Tsé Dzong, which means the Fortress of the Precious Peak of Spontaneous Fulfillment. The Trongsa Pönlop was given the authority to appoint all the Dzongpön of Kurtö and decide their tenure. Thereafter, the Dzongpön was entrusted with the responsibility to watch over the dzong and use local human labor for its maintenance and repair.

In 1962, the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck commanded that Lhuntse Dzong be rebuilt, coinciding with the construction of Trashichö Dzong in Thimphu. The resulting dzong structure resembles a pigeon perched on ridge overlooking Kurichu below. The dzong was later restored in 1972 and again in 1974. A unique feature of Lhuntse Dzong was its division into two parts known as Dzong Thokma and Dzong Wogma. The Thokma or upper part belongs to the dratshang monastic body while the Wogma or lower part houses the offices of district administration. There are eight temples in Dzong Thokma.

About the Song

Like other dzongs, the Lhündrup Tsé Dzong is built on a strategic location commanding the whole valley. Its architectural magnificence is captured in the song Lhündrup Tsé Dzongchen, attributed to one of its dzongpön ruler. The song Lhündrup Tsé Dzongchen is one of the most popular folk songs from Kurtö region (Lhuntse) and it describes the glorious fort of Lhuntse dzong. It is said that the song was composed by one of the dzongpön-s of Lhuntse district but nothing is known about the author, and there were many dzongpön who served in Lhuntse Dzong.

According to some sources, when Jigmé Namgyal was holding the post of Trongsa Zimpon, he was also given position to look after Lhuntse Zimpon responsibilities. During his frequent visits to Lhuntse, he was assisted by bögarp courtiers who travelled with him from Trongsa. As they spent many months in Lhuntse, the bögarp from western Bhutan are said to have gotten homesick and composed the song called Lhündrup Tsé Dzongchen. The song praises the dzong and its surroundings but in original version, the verse are said to end with the sentence ང་ནི་མི་སྡོད་ལོག་འགྲོ།, (“I am not staying; I want to go back.”) which was said to have been replaced by the line རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ། “There is good auspiciousness”.  The song is considered quite old and today it is sung by pazaps during Puna Drupchoe and other festivals. The song was passed down for many generations in its revised version and today can be heard throughout Bhutan.



ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རྩེ་གི་རྫོང་ཆེན།། འཕུར་འགྲོ་ཆགས་པ་འདྲ་དོ།།

འཕུར་འགྲོ་ཆགས་པ་འདྲ་རུང་།། རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ།

The great fortress of Lhündrup Tsé

Resembles a resting pigeon.

Although it resembles a resting pigeon,

There is good auspiciousness.


ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རྩེ་གི་སྒོ་ར།། གསེར་སྒོ་དངུལ་སྒོ་འདྲ་དོ།།

གསེར་སྒོ་དངུལ་སྒོ་འདྲ་རུང་།། རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ།

The door of Lhündrup Tsé

Is like a gold and silver door.

Although the door is like gold and silver door

There is good auspiciousness.


ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རྩེ་གི་རྡོ་གཅལ།། གཡུ་ཆུང་གྲུ་དཀར་འདྲ་དོ།།

གཡུ་ཆུང་གྲུ་དཀར་འདྲ་རུང་།། རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ།

The courtyard of Lhündrup Tsé

Is like a mosaic of turquoise.

Although the courtyard is like mosaic of turquoise

There is good auspiciousness.


ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རྩེ་གི་སྒོ་ཐེམ།། ཆོས་ཀྱི་པོ་སྟི་འདྲ་དོ།།

ཆོས་ཀྱི་པོ་སྟི་འདྲ་རུང་།། རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ།

The doorsteps of the Lhündrup Tsé

Is like a stack of religious scriptures.

Although the doorsteps are like religious scriptures

There is good auspiciousness.


ལྷུན་གྲུབ་རྩེ་གི་གཟིམ་ཅུང་།། བཀྲིས་སྒོ་མང་འདྲ་དོ།།

བཀྲིས་སྒོ་མང་འདྲ་རུང་།། རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བཟང་པོ་འདུག་གོ།

The residences in Lhündrup Tsé

Resemble an auspicious multi-door shrine.

Although the residences resemble a multidoor shrine,

There is good auspiciousness.




Sonam Chophel and Karma Phuntsho. Sonam Chophel is a researcher at Shejun Agency for Bhutan’s Cultural Documentation and Research and Karma Phuntsho is a social thinker and worker, the President of the Loden Foundation and the author of many books and articles including The History of Bhutan.



Collection Bhutan Cultural Library
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users
Author Sonam Chophel, Karma Phuntsho
Editor Karma Phuntsho
Year published 2018
Rights ཤེས་རིག་དང་ལམ་སྲོལ་གྱི་དོན་ལུ་ཕབ་བཟུང་ཞུས། ཤེས་རྒྱུན་ལས་སྡེ་ལས་གནང་བ་མེད་པར་བསྒྱུར་སྤེལ་འབད་མི་ཆོག། For educational and cultural use only. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from Shejun.
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