In my last post, I invited you to think about what was causing a part of the Trongsa Dzong wall to be perpetually wet.
“Andrea” and “YPenjor” put forward some good guesses. But, alas, modern cement is not to blame. It isn’t a hidden lake. And sub-terrain water seepage is not the cause. Nor is leakage from the rooftop. Or seepage from recent plumbing.
The answer is history. Yes, history!
No one could quite tell what was causing that particular part of the wall to stay wet throughout the year. And that wet patch would not be covered by modern cement or traditional clay or lime whitewash.
So finally, a small part of the inner wall was broken to investigate what was causing the wall to get wet. But it turned out that that wall was not the inner wall. Instead, it revealed a secret chamber, one that was full of rock salt!
Salt, as we all know, attracts moisture. And because the secret chamber stored salt, its outer wall was always wet.
During the old days, when our country was closed to the outside world, salt, which couldn’t be produced domestically, was a precious commodity. All of it was imported from Tibet in the form of rock salt. Our early rulers obviously stored as much of it as possible, to be used whenever the source was cut off.
The idea, it seems, was to ensure that excessive dependence did not compromise our sovereignty. If so, that idea is even more relevant today.
The inner wall, and its valuable contents, has since been resealed.
But the next time you visit the Chokhor Rabtentse Dzong in Trongsa, look for that wet patch. It’s on the wall facing the Taa Dzong. Imagine what other secrets lie within and behind those walls.
And marvel at the great extents our leaders have gone to, to nurture and protect our national security and sovereignty.