The Division was first instituted in 1988 as the Engineering Section under Special Commission of Cultural Affairs and later upgraded as a full-fledged division named as the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. The Division is the central agency under the Department of Culture responsible for management and protection of heritage sites and following are core business of the Division:
Pema is the Chief Architect of the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites. She comes with architectural background with a major in conservation studies (MA). Over more than a decade working in the field of cultural heritage, she was the project architect for national-scale projects: Daga Trashiyangtse Dzong Conservation Project, Wangditse Lhakhang Restoration Project, and Phajoding Monastery Conservation Project which are some of the exemplary national scale conservation projects. The new Pemagatshel Dzong is an important achievement particularly in terms of setting a new standard for modern dzongs after she joined the Department. She was the main focal for preparing Punakha Dzong Management Plan, the first-ever management plan for heritage sites in the country. Her ongoing important projects are the Chari Restoration Project and the Restoration and Adaptive reuse of Wangduechhoeling Palace. There are 13 national scale conservation projects which are being undertaken by the Division directly under her guidance and direction. In addition, she serves as a focal person of the Department under various capacities (task force members, committee members, etc.) in other agencies. Her main interests are renovation and restoration works of heritage sites and community engagement for the management and protection of heritage sites. She has a strong command of both Dzongkha and the English language. Her determination and strong will to take things forward in any situation have always been her greatest strength.
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Karma Tenzin, Executive Architect joined the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites in January 2011. He has Bachelors in Architecture from Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, India, and an MA in Archaeology of Buildings from the University of York, United Kingdom. He had worked as a Project Architect for Gasa Dzong Conservation Project (2016-2020), Paro Ta Dzong consolidation project (2015-2018), and Consolidation of Tango monastery (2016-till date). Currently, he is the project coordinator of all the national-scale projects executed by the Department of Culture. Besides, his passion is to undertake research, survey, and document archaeological sites to unravel the history and evidence through material remains of the past. He is currently the Head of Archaeology Section under the Division and has implemented Rescue excavation at Sangkha village, Sarpang; survey and documentation of Obtsho Dzong ruin, Gasa; Chubjakha Dzong ruins, Paro; Dochoeten Goenpa, Paro; Phobjikha valley landscape archaeology project and, consolidation and presentation of Drapham Dzong ruins.
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Pema is an Engineer at the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites since 2012. He holds a Master’s degree in Disaster Management (2020) from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan, with a Post Graduate Diploma in Earthquake Engineering (2020) from the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (IISEE), Japan. He worked for multi-faceted built heritage conservation and disaster-related projects in collaboration with international development partners such as the World Bank, UNDP, JICA, and Bhutan Foundation, aside from the national importance projects. He constructed the first-ever state-of-art test facility of Bhutan that can cater to quasi-static tests on real-sized specimens and dynamic shaking table tests under the SATREPS project (2016-2022). He is amongst few Bhutanese engineers who ventured into the scientific and experimental research on traditional Bhutanese houses and historic monuments and has published several papers in national and international journals. He aspires to be an educationalist and scientific practitioner.
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Yeshi Samdrup, Executive Architect in the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites has joined the office in 2012. His key working experience includes the cultural landscape approach of planning in Bhutan and has contributed to the institution and promotion of the cultural landscape concept in Bhutan. He also contributed to the formulation of the first-ever legislative document for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in Bhutan. He is interested in the documentation of heritage sites, particularly the chronological development and typological variation of heritage sites in Bhutan. He was involved in first-ever research work on the traditional Bhutanese houses in collaboration with the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan. He handles the international collaboration work like UNESCO and promotes the cultural heritage conservation practices of Bhutan on an international platform. Apart from the varied professional tasks, he is interested in engaging the public through advocacy programs on the importance of cultural heritage, particularly the youths. Yeshi has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Madhya Pradesh, India, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of Tokyo.
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Phuntsho Wangmo (PhD) is an Engineer of Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites since 2013. She received her PhD in research and advance studies in design and architecture (Rammed Earth Structure) from Nagoya City University, Japan in 2021. She has experience as a project engineer for construction of National Conservation Laboratory, executed departmentally by Department of Culture. She also has extensive research experience for improving seismic resilience of traditional structures (rammed earth and stone masonry) some of which are published in international journals. She is listed as the Technical Core Group member in developing guideline for “Windstorm Resilient Roofing System” and “Improved Seismic Resilient Construction Techniques for Rammed Earth Structures in Bhutan”. She gave training on “Seismic Resilient Design and Construction of Traditional Rammed Earth Building” attended by engineers and architects of twenty dzongkhags. Her research interest includes site investigations, structural safety assessment, repair and strengthening of historical and traditional buildings. She aspires to institute the first ever Research Institute for Traditional Structures (RITS) in the country.
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Tenzin Namgyel is a graduate of the College of Science and Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. He joined the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites in 2015 and superheads the electrical works for all the heritage site projects under the Department of Culture. He has hands-on experience with electrical installation and design, heritage building lighting, and electrical safety measures for heritage sites in terms of fire risk through electrical faults. Mr. Tenzin Namgyel also has experience in the field of museum lighting and has worked with international consultants for lighting the National Museum of Bhutan in Paro and Wangduechholing Palace in Bumthang. Besides his daily mandates, he serves as the focal person for the disaster management of heritage sites especially in terms of fire mitigation aspects. A few of his works include fire mitigation projects for heritage sites such as Trashigang Dzong, Wangduechholing Palace, Wangdue Dzong, Pema Gatshel Dzong, and Druk Wangditse lhakhang.
Pema Wangchuk is an architect in the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites (DCHS) since 2017. He is an alumnus of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi of 2015 batch. He was awarded a gold medal for the best architectural thesis for the 2014-2015 academic year. Prior to joining DCHS, he worked under the guidance of Dasho Karma Ura, President, Centre for Bhutan Studies for the preparation of blueprints of two stupas at two highway passes, Phruemshingla and Pelela, to commemorate the royal birth of the Gyalsay in 2016. Since joining the office, he has been involved in the conservation, preservation, and promotion of immovable tangible cultural properties. He is the project architect for Lingzhi Dzong Conservation and Chimi Lhakhang Development projects. He jointly prepared the management plan for Paro Taktshang and associated cultural sites. He is also involved in the research and study of traditional houses in Bhutan. He takes a keen interest in the field of architectural survey and chronological studies of the traditional structures from monuments to vernacular houses. Currently, he is the coordinator for the documentation and inventory of the heritage sites project. Besides his regular office mandates, he is the focal person for the Tourism Council of Bhutan, and review committee of the National Youth Policy, and a technical working member for Bhutan’s participation in Dubai Expo 2020.
Dendup Tshewang has been working in the field of conservation under the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites since 2015. He has studied civil engineering at the National Institute of Technology, India. With a civil engineering background, he provides a structural assessment of the heritage buildings and accordingly prepares damage assessment and renovation proposals. He also provides technical backstopping to the conservation works of heritage structures across Bhutan. He has undergone various training in the field of seismic risk and conservation of heritage buildings/sites in India, Iran, Mali, France, and Vietnam. These trainings have broadened his knowledge in the field of conservation works. Currently, he provides technical assistance and guidance for the Rigsum Goenpa Restoration project, and also, he is the focal person of the Department for the National Land Commission.
Kunzang Tenzin is an engineer at the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites. He completed his B.Tech in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur, India in 2016. His main area of work involves assessment, preparation of proposals, and technical backstopping in the field of conservation of heritage sites/traditional buildings. He has more than 4 years of work experience in the field. He serves as a working member for “Project Evaluation and Mitigation of Seismic Risk for composite Masonry Buildings in Bhutan” funded by the Government of Japan under the Scheme of SATREPS. Besides his main responsibilities, he is the focal person for Trans Bhutan Trail from the Department.
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Ugyen Dorji is a graduate of the National Institute of Technology Jamshedpur in India with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He joined the Department in January 2019. In his pursuit of a professional career in the conservation of heritage sites, he partook in various conservation-related activities and attended skill development training and workshops. With a civil engineering background, he now understands the structural behavior of heritage sites and traditional structures. One such endeavor is his contribution to ongoing scientific research work on seismic resilience on composite masonry structures. The research work once complete will be a scientific breakthrough in building seismic resilience of traditional Bhutanese rammed earth and stone masonry structures. Apart from his engineering and research works, he was actively involved in the establishment of a first-of-its-kind community-owned B&B and restaurant in Nobgang, Punakha. He is an enthusiastic fast learner and never leaves any opportunity to build and expand his skill set. His passion for learning new things gives him the added advantage to grow professionally.
Chosang Doma is an architect under the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites. She joined as the project architect for Drugyel Dzong Reconstruction Project in 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Besides the Drugyel Dzong Project, she has actively participated in the drafting of the Bhutanese architectural guidelines which included drafting of architectural drawings, formatting, gathering pictures, and compilation. She holds a keen interest in learning the practicalities of working in the field of conservation and traditional architecture.
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Pem Choki is a architect in the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites since 2018. She comes with a degree of Architecture from Assumption University. She is the project architect for the restoration project of Sangchoekhor Monastery, Paro and Pangrizampa Lhakhang, Thimphu. Apart from project management, she is involved in documentation and survey of heritages sites and preparation of management plan for Punakha Dzong and Paro Taktshang with its associated sites. Her interest in conservation of heritage sites led her into various type of conservation ranging from heritages sites, cultural landscape to traditional house in the country.
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Tashi Tshering is an Architect at Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites based in Thimphu, Bhutan, since 2019. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Sharda University, Uttar Pradesh, India. Mr. Tshering serves as the project architect for Rigsum Goenpa Restoration Project. Ever since his recruitment, he has been heavily involved in the documentation of heritage sites all over the country. His most significant contribution is the documentation of Paro Taktshang and its associated sites which is an integral part of the Taktshang Management Plan.
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Sonam Gyeltshen is an archaeology technician working with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites under the Department of Culture. He holds a bachelors degree in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology with a concentration in Archaeology from Banaras Hindu University, India. Prior to this current position, he worked for the Division for Cultural Properties under the same Department, where he was working for the management of intangible cultural properties. Trained by Dasho Dorji Gyeltshen, Gyalpoi Zimpon to His Majesty the Fourth King, he served as Drangzhab for five years until the Coronation of His Majesty the Fifth King. As an archaeology technician, he took part in surveying and documenting Chubjakha dzong ruin, a topographical survey of Doe-Choeten Goenpa archaeological site, survey and documentation of Drukgyal dzong, survey, excavation and documentation of Phobjikha mound. His aborad experience includes the survey and excavation of some parts of the castle ruin of Küssnacht, Swiss National Heritage, Canton of Schwyz, in Switzerland in 2019. He is also actively involved in the ongoing Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of Wangduechhoeling Palace Project, as a project coordinator since 2018. He is one of the key officials of the Department in implementing nationwide surveys, documentation, and inventory of cultural heritage sites project.
Tenzin Wangchuk is an Archaeology technician/ Sr. Storekeeper in the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites. He is responsible for archaeology-related works and the logistic arrangement of the Division. He comes with a wide range of experiences of having worked for more than 19 years with the Royal Government of Bhutan. He worked for more than 7 years as an administrative assistant in the Department of School Education at various schools in different Dzongkhags. In the Department of Culture, he worked as a record assistant at the Division for Cultural Properties and Store in—charge of departmentally executed projects such as the Lhuntse Dzong Conservation Project, National Conservation Laboratory Construction Project, and Tango and Chagri Restoration Project.
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Kuenzang Dorji is a graphic designer at the Division for Conservation of Heritage Site. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animation and filmmaking from De la Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines. He previously worked with Bhutan Broadcasting Service as a Broadcast Graphic Designer where he was involved with creating computer graphics for Television programs. At the Department of culture, he is responsible for designing & managing communication materials such as publications, photographs, audio-visual materials, web resources, etc. His most significant contribution is the development of the Virtual tour exhibition of the National Museum of Bhutan & the Textile Museum.
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