Bhutan is a small country but many more to offer if one tries to explore. Often many beautiful things are over shadowed by what is more easily accessible. Amongst other, there are many legends and anecdotes that are likely to disappear due to poor documentation. Today, everywhere we go there are many legends that are alive in lips of many of our village folks. But a time will come that those beautiful stories will wane as these are hardly passed down to newer generations. So much has been done to keep our bed stories and legends alive by many relevant organizations but a lot need to do especially those from hard to reach places. My recent visit to one of the hard to reach nomadic communities in Bhutan made me to think and contemplate on such things. While many of my colleagues were thinking of how to cross the snowcapped mountains as it was tiring climb up the steep, I was seriously listening to an elderly man from the village who narrates many wonderful stories that I was hearing for the very first time. Listening to those beautiful stories and looking at the spectacular landscapes help me forget my tiring journey. Among many stories, which I cannot resist to pen down was about the then Dzong (fortress) at Soe located at the base of Jomolhari pass which now stands in ruin state.
|The ruin of Dzong at Soe|
At the base of Mt. Jomolhari there used to be a magnificent fortress (dzong) belonged to the then king which is now lies in the ruin state. While I couldn’t find the written history about the fortress, but some local people have a beautiful story to share. History tells us that there used to be a king in each locality and Soe is not an exception. According to the local people, the dzong belong to the king of that locality. However, they were not able to trace back the exact time when there was a king. It must be before Zhabdrung’s era but the exact time is still an unanswered question which needs further research. According to him, the king was not very happy with the location of his dzong. As such they said that the king was being very unreasonable to order his subjects to annihilate the mighty mountain which is opposite to his dzong in order for him to get an early sun rise. The sun rays were being blocked by the mountains. No doubt, while getting early sun would be more than desirable in the high altitude like Soe which is over 4000 metres above sea level but this was humanly impossible. After receiving command from the king, all the people of the locality gathered to discuss how they were going to behead the mountains so that their king will enjoy an early morning sun. As expected the discussion reached to the conclusion that they were not able to completely dismantle the mountain as desired by their king. Meanwhile, a lady from the corner with a baby on her back suggested that it will be easier to destroy the King instead of destroying the huge mountain. Others in the meeting agreed to the idea shared by the lady. Since then the people claimed the dzongkha proverbs ‘Bumey Sherub gee Rangshin’ which is roughly translated as women are by nature, intelligent was hailed from the incident. Some says that the lady was the disguised local deity of that place. Accordingly, one fine day all the people have secretly stoned the king to death. The place where the king was killed is today filled with pebbles and rocks, said the villager. After this unfortunate incident, the late king’s family and relatives fled to neighboring country, erstwhile Sikkim. Still it is believed that the descendents of king are residing in Sikkim. We were told that when king’s relatives fled to Sikkim they took a sacred stone along with them. It is still believed that the sacred stone was placed in Nathula, Sikim and the descendents of the king even today offer their respect and take homage from the stone instead of coming to Soe.
Having got the opportunities to travel length and breadth of our wonderful country and meeting its beautiful people is deeply fulfilling.