Simtokha Dzong, BT : Interesting Facts, History Information & Travel Guide

History & Information About Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan

Welcome to our blog post about Simtokha Dzong in Bhutan. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history and provide you with valuable information about this significant cultural landmark in Bhutan. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!

The Beginnings

Simtokha Dzong, also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras), is an ancient fortress located in the western part of the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. It was built in 1629 by the unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This dzong holds immense historical and religious significance for the Bhutanese people.

Architecture & Design

The architecture of Simtokha Dzong is remarkable, displaying the traditional Bhutanese style. It is a four-storey structure built on a low ridge. The intricate and beautiful carvings on the wooden beams and pillars are a treat to the eyes. The dzong is surrounded by meticulously maintained gardens and courtyards.

Religious Significance

Simtokha Dzong is not only an architectural marvel but also an important religious center. It houses numerous shrines and temples dedicated to different deities, including the protective deities of Bhutan. The dzong serves as a learning center, where young monks study Buddhist scriptures and receive spiritual guidance.

Treasure of Buddhist Art

The interior of Simtokha Dzong is adorned with exquisite murals and paintings that depict various Buddhist legends, symbols, and deities. These artworks are considered valuable treasures of Bhutanese Buddhist art. Visitors can behold the beauty of these vibrant paintings while experiencing a sense of tranquility and spirituality within the dzong.

An Iconic Landmark

Simtokha Dzong holds a special place in the hearts of Bhutanese people. Not only is it one of the oldest dzongs in the country, but it also symbolizes the nation's rich history and cultural heritage. The dzong has withstood the test of time, witnessing the changing tides of Bhutanese history and remaining a steadfast guardian of tradition.

Visiting Simtokha Dzong

If you are planning to visit Bhutan, a trip to Simtokha Dzong is highly recommended. The serene atmosphere and stunning architecture make it a must-visit attraction. As a visitor, it is important to respect the religious sanctity of the dzong. It is customary to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering any place of worship.

Remember to take your time exploring the various halls and chapels within Simtokha Dzong. Engage with the friendly monks and learn about Bhutan's unique spiritual traditions. Capture the beauty of the surroundings through your camera lens but also take a moment to soak in the ambiance with your own senses.


Simtokha Dzong stands as a testament to Bhutan's rich cultural heritage and religious traditions. Its historical significance, stunning architecture, and spiritual ambiance make it a truly remarkable destination. Plan your visit to Simtokha Dzong and embark on a memorable journey through Bhutan's enchanting past and present.

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and found it informative. Stay tuned for more articles on Bhutan and its amazing attractions. Happy travels!

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Interesting Facts About Simtokha Dzong

Simtokha Dzong, located in the Bhutanese city of Thimphu, holds a number of fascinating lesser-known facts. Let's explore them below:

  • Oldest Dzong: Simtokha Dzong is the oldest dzong (fortress-monastery) in Bhutan, built in 1629 by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan.
  • Guarding the Gateway: The dzong sits strategically on a hilltop, guarding the entrance to Thimphu valley, acting as a vital defense fortress against Tibetan invasions.
  • Meaning of Simtokha: "Simtokha" means "Atop a Demon" in the local Dzongkha language. Legend has it that the dzong was built to subdue a demoness that was causing disturbances.
  • Chorten-style Architecture: Simtokha Dzong showcases unique architectural features, blending a fortress-like structure with traditional Bhutanese chorten (stupa) design elements.
  • Protecting the Sacred Texts: The dzong is renowned for housing an extensive collection of Buddhist scriptures, making it a significant center for religious education and learning.
  • Starting Point of Formal Education: Simtokha Dzong's monastic school, established in the 17th century, marked the beginning of formal education in Bhutan. It played a crucial role in preserving and promoting Bhutanese culture.
  • Earthquake Resistant Techniques: This dzong is known for its ingenious construction techniques that make it highly earthquake resistant, which is vital in the seismically active region.
  • Throne of Bhutan: Simtokha Dzong played a significant role as the seat of the Bhutanese government and the throne of successive kings before it was shifted to the present capital, Thimphu.
  • A Hidden Treasure: The dzong hides a treasure trove of captivating mural paintings, depicting various deities, saints, and symbols that showcase the artistic prowess of Bhutanese craftsmen.
  • Accessibility to Visitors: Unlike many other dzongs in Bhutan, which are not accessible to the public, Simtokha Dzong allows visitors to explore its premises, giving them an opportunity to witness its rich heritage.

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Travel Guide: Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan

Simtokha Dzong is a historic fortress located in the Thimphu Valley of Bhutan. It is the oldest dzong in the country and holds great cultural and religious significance. Visiting Simtokha Dzong offers a unique opportunity to explore Bhutan's rich heritage and architectural brilliance.

When planning your visit, it is important to note that Simtokha Dzong is situated approximately five kilometers south of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. You can easily reach the dzong by hiring a taxi or arranging for a local tour guide who will provide transportation.

Upon reaching Simtokha Dzong, you'll be greeted by its impressive white walls adorned with intricate murals and carvings. The dzong houses a number of temples and shrines, making it a prominent religious site in Bhutan. It serves as a religious institute where Buddhist monks receive their education and training.

As you explore the dzong, be sure to visit its various halls and courtyards. The architecture is remarkable, featuring a mix of traditional Bhutanese and Tibetan styles. The central courtyard is particularly captivating, with beautiful gardens and a serene atmosphere. It's a perfect spot to take a moment of tranquility and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

Inside the dzong, you may also come across a museum that displays a collection of ancient artifacts, religious relics, and valuable scriptures. This provides insights into Bhutan's history and its deep-rooted Buddhist culture. The museum offers a glimpse into the country's past and its spiritual traditions, making it a fascinating experience for visitors.

When planning your trip to Simtokha Dzong, it's recommended to check the opening hours in advance. Remember to dress modestly and respectfully, as it is a religious site. You may need to remove your shoes before entering certain areas of the dzong, so wearing easily removable footwear is convenient.

Simtokha Dzong is not only a significant religious site but also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the picturesque scenery. Exploring the dzong and its surroundings often leaves visitors with a sense of awe and a deeper appreciation for Bhutan's rich cultural heritage.

To make the most of your visit, consider hiring a local guide who can provide you with detailed information about the dzong and its cultural significance. They can share interesting stories and help you navigate through the complex, ensuring you have a memorable experience at Simtokha Dzong.

Overall, visiting Simtokha Dzong in Bhutan is a journey back in time, allowing you to connect with the country's spiritual and historical roots. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Bhutanese culture, architecture, and Buddhism.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan

1. What is Simtokha Dzong?

Simtokha Dzong is a fortress-monastery located in Bhutan, near the country's capital city, Thimphu. It is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan, built in 1629 by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

2. What is the significance of Simtokha Dzong?

Simtokha Dzong holds great historical and cultural importance in Bhutan. It served as a strategic fort to defend against Tibetan invasions and played a crucial role in the unification of Bhutan under Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Today, it houses a prestigious institute for the study of the Dzongkha language, Bhutan's national language.

3. Can visitors explore Simtokha Dzong?

No, Simtokha Dzong is not open to general tourists. It primarily serves as a religious and administrative center. However, visitors can still admire the beautiful architecture and external features from the outside, as they approach Thimphu.

4. What is the architectural style of Simtokha Dzong?

Simtokha Dzong showcases traditional Bhutanese architecture known as "dzongpa" style. It features thick walls, white plaster with golden accents, and intricately carved woodwork. The dzong is adorned with colorful frescoes depicting Buddhist deities, celestial beings, and historical events.

5. How can I reach Simtokha Dzong?

Simtokha Dzong is located approximately 5 kilometers south of Thimphu. Visitors can reach Thimphu by road from Paro or other major cities in Bhutan. From Thimphu, it's a short drive to the dzong.

6. Are there any other attractions near Simtokha Dzong?

Yes, there are several nearby attractions worth visiting. Some popular ones include the Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong), the Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma (large Buddha statue), and the Folk Heritage Museum.

7. Is there an entrance fee to visit Simtokha Dzong?

As mentioned earlier, Simtokha Dzong is not open to general tourists, so there is no specific entrance fee. However, visitors might need to pay entrance fees to enter other attractions or dzongs nearby.

8. Can I take photographs at Simtokha Dzong?

As the dzong is not open for general tourists, photography restrictions may vary. While it is generally allowed to take photographs from outside the dzong premises, it's advisable to respect the privacy and guidelines set by the authorities.

9. Is there any dress code to visit Simtokha Dzong?

Though one cannot enter Simtokha Dzong, it's always respectful to adhere to a modest dress code when visiting religious sites in Bhutan. Wearing clothes that cover shoulders, arms, and knees is considered appropriate.

10. Are there any accommodations near Simtokha Dzong?

Since Simtokha Dzong is located close to Thimphu, visitors can find a wide range of accommodations in the capital city, including luxury hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses, and resorts.

Overall, Simtokha Dzong offers a glimpse into Bhutan's rich history, architecture, and cultural heritage. While it may not be accessible to all, its grandeur can still be enjoyed from a distance, making it a significant landmark in Bhutan.

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About me

Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.

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