Tangsibji Lhakhang


Tangsibji Lhakhang is located below the Tangsibji village, which lies just below the central highway from Wangdue Phodrang to Trongsa. It is about a one and a half hour drive by car from the main Trongsa town towards Wangdue, on the right side of the Mangdechu River and left side of the Nikachu River. It is a large two-storey traditionally building with a tower. When driving down towards the temple through a feeder road, the typical Bhutanese village setting of Tangsibji can be seen by the side of the road.

It is believed that a small temple had existed at this location for a long time; locally, it is believed to date back to the end of the 8th century. However, the temple does not have much religious value, due to the lack of statues and religious texts. It was re-built by Agay Gorab, an attendant to Jigme Namgyal, who was the father of the first King of the Wangchuck dynasty.

The temple, located at the bottom of Tangsibji village, is dedicated to the local deity, Drakpa Gyeltshen. Jigme Namgyal brought five holy Buddha statues all the way from Lhasa in Tibet and distributed four of them to the four regions of Trongsa. The fifth Jowo statue was given to Hedi (Lhading) temple above Gunitsawa in the upper Paro valley. One of the Buddha statues was given to Tangsibji village and the present temple was rebuilt in order to house this statue. Since then, the temple underwent extensive structural and interior designing renovation in order to upgrade it to a full-fledged temple. The funds for the renovation were donated by the local people themselves, and the temple belongs to the Tangsibji community.

Architectural Style / School and Related Art Work

The temple is dedicated to the Buddha statue (the Jowo) from Lhasa. Amongst other statues are Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and Vajarapani. The paintings mainly depict peaceful and wrathful deities, the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche and the Sixteen Arhats. This temple belongs to the Kagyu –Nying zungdrel (dual) schools of Buddhism.

Social Cultural Function

The temple has a number of functions for the community throughout the year. The temple, belonging to the village community, is used to organize rituals on the 10th, 14th, 15th, and 30th days of every month. Every year there are also ritual performances immediately after finishing the planting of rice, and for the good yield of the spring crops such as barley, wheat, and maize. Another ritual called Nyungne (snyung gnas), a fasting practice retreat for the well-being of all the sentient beings, also occurs during the first month of every year. A Tshechu (tshes bcu), a religious festival dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, is also performed at the temple for three days around the time of the winter solstice every year, which falls on the 19th, 20th and 21st of the 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar, when both religious and folk dances are performed.

Additionally, the temple provides a venue for both social and religious gatherings of the Tangsibji community, and provides opportunities to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the village.


Lopen Yeshey Jamtsho, Caretaker and sponsor of the Tangsibji Lhakhang


Tashi Dendup, ILCS lecturer, 2013

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