In 2015, the U.S. State Department issued a grant through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) for the conservation of one of the most historically significant palaces in Bhutan – the Wangduechhoeling Palace in Bumthang. A previous AFCP grant issued in 2012 funded the documentation to guide the current conservation efforts of the Wangduechhoeling Palace.
The Wangduechhoeling Palace is an important landmark in the history of Bhutan, and is considered the birthplace of the Bhutanese monarchy. Built in 1856 by Gongsa Jigme Namgyal, the father of Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan, the Wangduechhoeling Palace served as the main seat of political power and the social and cultural hub of Bhutan. It was the first large structure in the country without any defensive features, and was built as a residential mansion and not a fortress.
The Wangduechhoeling Palace is one of the finest representations of traditional Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship, and is acclaimed both nationally and internationally as an historic site of great importance.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is partnering with the Bhutan Foundation and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan, to conserve and restore the Wangduechhoeling Palace as an historic site and cultural center.