The Dokar or Dogar Dzong, located in Western Bhutan, can be found at an altitude of 6,600 feet on the way to Haa. It is only 11 kilometers from the confluence, Chuzom, when heading towards Haa, and just over an hour’s drive from the capital, Thimphu.
The name Dokar comes from the “five white Boulders” in the village of Dogar, with “do” meaning boulder and “kar” meaning white. Over time, the name changed to Dogar, possibly because of the many stone quarries in the area.
The Dogar Dobji Dzong is considered the first model Dzong in Bhutan, even though it was built 98 years before Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal constructed his first Dzong at Semtokha. It had all the outstanding features of a Dzong.
The place name Dordey comes from the Nagten of Jetsun Milarepa’s statue that was placed at the top of the Altar, with a statue of similar size of Lama Ngawang Chogyel housed below. The name Dordey came from an event that happened with Jetsun Milarepa’s statue. Je Ngawang Drukpa of Tshamdra Gonpa requested this statue from Lama Ngawang Chogyel to be placed at his monastery at Tshamdra Gonpa. However, when they arrived at the place near the three cypress trees, the statue did not budge, and even eight people couldn’t move it, despite it being supposed to be carried by four people. The statue made a statement saying that this site was his residence and suggested making a painting of his image to replace the statue at Tshamdra Gonpa. The statue was placed as Nagten inside the Dzong with much reverence, and there is a painting of Jetsun Milarepa at Tshamdra, as suggested by the statue.
The Dzong was built in 1531 by Ngawang Chogyal, the brother of Chojie Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the “Divine Madman.” Legend has it that Ngawang Chogyal followed a spring that originated from beneath the throne of Jetsun Milarepa, the cotton-clad yogi, in Druk Ralung, Tibet. He did this to find a suitable site to establish a center from which to spread the Drukpa Kagyu teachings in Bhutan. The water gushed out from a rock near a ridge at Dogar, and hence the site was selected to construct a religious center. The center was named Dokar Druk Chokhorkhang, meaning “Stone Castle of Bhutan.” Ngawang Chogyal brought 100 carpenters and masons from Druk Ralung to build the central tower, the main feature of the Dzong.
The spring, known as Ngawang Chogyal’s Dubchhu, or holy water, is still visible close to the Dzong. Much later, a massive earthquake destroyed the entire Dzong, except for the central tower. It is believed that the tower survived because of a Terma statue, the treasured statue of Guru Langdarchen, housed on its top floor. The statue is highly regarded as it is believed to have miraculously spoken when the Tibetan King Langdarma tried to destroy it by smashing the left ear with a hammer.
Perched atop a ridge, with one side flanked by a hair-raising ravine descending to the basin of the Pachu-Wangchu, the five-storied Dzong was mainly used as one of the main