Kunzangdra Gonpa


Apart from Pema Lingpa’s living quarters which are now the gonkhang, the temple of the protective deity Gonpo Maning, the monastery consists of four temples: the main temple with a wooden gallery contains images of Pema Lingpa, Guru Rinpoche and Namkhai Nyingpo, the last two attributed to Pema Lingpa himself; the Wangkhang, in which the principal statue is Avalokiteshvara with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands made by Pema Lingpa; Oezerphug, the meditation cave of Pema Lingpa’s son, Thugse Dawa Gyeltsen (1499–1586) with a holy spring (grubchu) supposed to cure epilepsy and stroke

Higher up from the main buildings is the Khandroma Lhakhang, which contains a gilded copper statue of Pema Lingpa and a copy of the prajanaparamita sutra. It is built at the place where Yeshe Tshogyel, the enlighted consort of Guru has meditated. Nearby is a wooden post embued with the life force of thousands of dakinis, and a chorten built by Thugse Dawa Gyeltsen.

Below the main temple is Pama Lingpa’s meditation cave with a life like statue of himself and his gilded footprint, and besides a stone throne.


It is one of the places where Guru Rinpoche meditated, as did his disciple Namkhe Nyingpo, and a little temple is said to have been established there at the end of the eighth century. However, the present site was founded in 1488 by the saint Pema Lingpa who was born close by at Chel, and he made it one of his residences.

Architectural style / school and related art works

There are several stone buildings scattered through the mountain and on the rock face. They are small and look like houses

Kunzangdra has a beautiful collection of woodblocks and several footprints on stones. It also contains superb images in clay and copper (see description above)

The chorten containing the remains of Pema Lingpa ‘s mother is also near the cliff.

Social cultural function

The monastery is now under the care of the Gantey Tulku and has a small monastic school

It is a revered place of pilgrimage and also houses meditation practitioners.

Research team                                               

Lopen Nagwang Jamtsho, Lopen Tashi Tobgay, Lopen Karma Drupchu
Lecturers, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, 2009

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)