Kuenga Rabten Palace is a historic building located in Trongsa, Bhutan. It served as the winter residence for the second King of Bhutan, Jigme Wangchuck, and his senior Queen, Ashi Phuntsho Choden, during the first half of the 20th century. The palace is surrounded by stone walls with spy holes, which were used by royal guards.
The palace is a three-storey building constructed in the Bhutanese palatial style using woodwork and stones. The ground floor was used as a granary, while the first floor served as a military garrison during the King’s residence. The first floor now has classrooms for monks, while the ground floor is empty. On the second floor, there are three adjacent rooms, including the Sangye Lhakhang, which is the main temple.
The private residence of the King and Queen was next to the chapel, and the King’s room is now well preserved as though he were still residing there. During the King’s residence, other rooms on the floor were used as guestrooms and to grant audiences.
The Kuenga Rabten Palace was built in 1929 under the guidance of Dasho Jamyang, the lord of Chume valley in Bumthang and Ashi Phuntsho Choden’s father. It is now looked after by monks from the central monastic body in Trongsa, with around fifty monks living at the palace, including two teachers. Some rooms have been made into a storeroom for the National Library of Bhutan.
The paintings inside the palace have religious motifs and are very delicate. Notable paintings include the 35 Buddhas of Compassion and a Zangdopelri, Guru Rinpoche’s paradise. The Sangye Lhakhang has images of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Twenty-one Aspects of Tara, as well as silver and gold-plated stupas, which were gifts from the Nepalese King to King Jigme Wangchuck during his visit to Nepal.
In summary, Kuenga Rabten Palace is a historic building in Bhutan that served as the winter residence for the second King and his senior Queen. It is a three-storey building constructed in the Bhutanese palatial style using woodwork and stones. The palace is now looked after by monks and has religious paintings and images.