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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not just a Gate – Update from Punakha HSS, Punakha, Bhutan

Before, 12 Sci C, 2010
What stood tall for thirty years or more is now being hammered down. A new traditional gate will soon welcome all who come to the school. As a student I walked under the old gate ten years ago and today I am witnessing it getting demolished. I feel a profound loss or else I would not be writing this.


This gate stood mighty and firm for so many years. It was often the favourite spot for the students to take photographs before it - souvenirs after graduation. The gate proudly posed behind many to grace the people in the photographs. And people knew it was Punakha HSS because of the Gate, it was Phunakha’s face for so many years.
Demolition 
A Buddhist Gate. Courtesy Google image


The Gate didn’t have our traditional architectural feature but it had deeper expressions of what is rooted in us as Buddhist, The Wheel of Dharma. The Dharmacakra on three flying banners adorned the Gate and it took the school to many a great heights blessing everyone who passed under it. Doing some reading on the Wheel I found out that the Wheel is also known as The Dharmacakra which is represented as a chariot wheel (Sanskrit cakram) with eight or more spokes. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols found in Indian art, appearing during the time of the Buddhist king Aśoka. The Dharmacakra has been used by all Buddhist nations as a symbol ever since. In its simplest form, the Dharmacakra is recognized globally as a symbol for Buddhism. All Buddhists agree that the original turning of the wheel occurred when the Buddha taught the five ascetics who became his first disciples at the Deer Park in Sarnath. In memory of this, the Dharmacakra is sometimes represented with a deer on each side. 
Although the Gate in my school did not have a deer on each side it nonetheless represented the most sacred aspect of Buddhism. It had aged and had grown as familiar as a land mark, that it is difficult not to see it there today. It was the last of its kind; the others that I am aware of were the ones before Yangchenphu Higher Secondary School in Thimphu and Jigmesherubling Higher Secondary School in Khaling, Tashigang.

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9 comments:

  1. It is sad indeed. I think the gate holds sentimental values to most people, only if the authority saw it that way. I hope the fate of Sherubtse gate isn't the same. Great info on dharma.

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  2. Hey Nobu, Finally I found your blog. I am too surprised that you have blogged since 2009 and that you have written quite a lot in 2010. I will love to see you write more this year.

    Punakha HSS structures have always amazed me, though not so friendly and beautiful, with its strength. Every time I pass by the school building I touch the wall and tell who ever is with me about how strong it is despite its age... New structures anywhere in Bhutan are falling apart on their own within a year or two but those in your school stood strong for ages- very icon of integrity.
    The gate was no exception- see, it had to be hammered down when else where it would fall on it own at its age. Of all the things I have learnt to let go that gate didn't deserve it at all.
    Just watch the new gate, tell me if it doesn't wear out very soon!

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  3. Thank you Wordsworth million, thank you for your sympathy for the gate.

    Thanks for finding me Passu, I hope to learn more about personalizing my blog page from you. Thanks.
    Nobu

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  4. How come the owner posted comment anonymously? I would love to help you. First thing I will do is to remove the background picture of this post!

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  6. the part of memory of PHSS can be now seen only in photos..... but everything happens for good .................
    dont feel sad sir..
    :-)

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  7. Thank you for the consolation Tsheltrium

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  8. itS THAT BHUTANESE GOVT USELESS FORCE ACT UPON THE DEMOLITION OF THAT BEAUTIFUL GATE ,,THEY JUST DIDNT BREAK IT DOWN BUT THEY HAVE DISRESPECTED THOSE PEOPLE WHO MADE IT AND THEY HAVE HURT THOSE WHO BUILT THAT SCHOOL AND MADE IT ONE OF THE BEST.,, THERE IS NO LOGIC BY SAYING THAT THE GATE IS NOT TRADITIONAL... IF IS IT SO THEN THE CLASSROOM, THE WHOLE BUILDING, THE HOSTEL,, THE HALL, EVERYTHING IS NOT TRADITIONAL..WHY NOT BREAK ALL.,,, INSANE ,,, I MISS THE GATE SO MUCH

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