Gasa Dzong or Gasa Tashi Tongmön Dzong, near Gasa is the administrative center of Gasa Dzongkhag District in the northwestern region of Bhutan, which consists of Goen Khartoed in the upper region and Goen Kharmed in the lower region.
The Dzong was built in the 17th century by Tenzin Drukdra, the second Druk Desi, who constructed it over the site of a meditation place established by Drubthob Terkungpa in the 13th century. The Dzong was constructed as a bulwark against attacks from the north and named Tashi Tongmön Dzong. It was later expanded by the fourth Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye. In January 2008 Gasa Dzong was badly damaged by fire.
Unlike other Dzongs in Bhutan, Gasa Dzong is circular with three Ta Dzongs, or watch towers, placed on strategic points. The Utse, or central tower, is built directly above the cave where Dupthob Terkhungpa, a Tibetan saint supposedly meditated in the 13th century. The Utse is a three storied building.
Each year, during the last week of the 10th month, monks from Punakha or Thimphu, led by the Drapai Lopoen comes to Gasa for the annual offerings to the deities.
A common belief is that during the time of Terkhungpa in the 13th century, there lived a famous Bon master. During a competition of spiritual attainment, the Bon master also proved that he could walk up the cliff with ease. Today, as a token of appreciation to the Bon master, a Bon priest also participates in the ceremonial procession, wearing his full ritual attire while making offerings to Mahakala. Gasa Tshechu is annually held at the same time as Thimphu Tshechu; however the first day of the Tshechu is held in Phu Lhakhang, the original place of the festival.
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