Re: [OM] First installment from Bhutan

Subject: Re: [OM] First installment from Bhutan
From: Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 14:45:48 -0800
On 12/4/2017 8:03 AM, ChrisB wrote:
You’ve captured the people and places very nicely, Mike.  I love the 
monasteries for the solidity and beauty.

I too love the design/architecture of the older religious buildings. The solidity, however, is a not a characteristic of monasteries. There are three general types of religious buildings in Bhutan.

Dzongs are/were fortresses, as in historical times, folks from Tibet had a habit of trying to conquer parts of what is now Bhutan. Each of the significantly populated valleys had one, each now all or part of the administrative center of their District, as well as other uses.

They are built in defensible locations, as well. The Punakha Dzong in Mike's set is in a classic defensive position, backing up to mountains with rivers on the other sides.  Paro is up a steep slope with mountains at its back, and so on.

The Dzongs have separate temples in the inner courtyard. They match the exterior architecture and look to me as though they could also be defended, as with the inner keeps in medieval European fortresses. Mike's first image is of the temple inside the Paro Dzong. In his image of the Punakha Dzong, the tallest interior building is a temple.

The other temples and monasteries we visited and the many, many other temples monasteries we saw don't have the tall, massive exterior walls. The two buildings above the A19 in the descending Royal Bhutan plane shot I posted recently are monasteries.

There is a fair amount of new building underway or recently done, especially for such a small population. It's clear that the government requires high standards of at least external design and decoration that matches the traditional. So new apartment buildings that would elsewhere be unremarkable blocks have traditional roof and window styles and lots of colorful exterior decoration.

The effort to maintain and restore old buildings, build new ones that match and maintain traditional clothing is quite remarkable.

Explicatory Moose

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