Taktse Lhakhang


Taktse Village is located 23 kilometers away from Trongsa Dzong, towards Zhemgang and Gelephu and it is reachable by a three kilometer side road from the highway. In the past the temple served as the winter residence of the Bumthang Choedra Lama. The temple is surrounded by village houses and since 2012 is close to the campus of the Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS), Royal University of Bhutan.


Till date there is no authentic evidence or text regarding the origin of Taktse Tangchen Lhakhang. However, orally people said that the Tangchen Lhakhang was built by the 2nd Trongsa Penlop Namlungpa Sherab Lhendup in the year 1671, for the well being of people and to promote the preaching of Buddhism. The local name ‘Tangchen’ comes from the fact that below the temple there is a lake, named La-Tsho (‘soul lake’), approximately 15 meters in length and 7 meters wide. In the local language a pond is called ‘Tang’, and ‘Chen’ means big, hence the temple’s name ‘Tangchen Lhakhang’. However at present the villagers call it Taktse Lhakhang, as the temple belongs to the Taktse villagers.

The 2nd Trongsa Penlop Sherab Lhendup constructed a one-storey temple. The main statue was the Jowo Shakyamuni, the Buddha with ornaments, which is considered to be very auspicious. There were also statues of the Buddhas of Medicine (Sangay Menla) and the wall paintings represented different deities. In the past the Taktse temple served as the winter residence for the Bumthang Chodra Lama, who used to migrate from Bumthang to Taktse Lhakhang in the 11th Bhutanese month and used to stay for three to four months.

A century later Damcho Pekar, the then Bumthang Choedra lama, visited Taktse Lhakhang and renovated the temple into a two storey temple. Inside the temple he installed a statue of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion) as the main relic, as well as statues and paintings of the Kagyu religious lineage. After the renovation was completed by Choedra Lama, the 13th Je-Khenpo Yonten Thaye (1771 to 1784) was invited for the consecration ceremony from the central monastery of Punakha Dzong.

When he was on his way to consecrate the temple, he rested on the hilltop of Tangsibji at a place called Lachung facing the Taktse Lhakhang. Suddenly, the 13th Je Khenpo Yonten Thaye saw that the Sangay Rabdun (the seven Buddhas who preceded the historical Buddha) and the Neten Chudruk (the sixteen famous elders, called arhats, who preached the Buddhist doctrine) were performing the consecration ceremony from heaven. Thus, the Je Khenpo, understanding that the Taktse temple was sanctified by celestial beings from heaven, went back from Tangsibji without performing the ceremony.

At present the temple is under the guidance of a lama who is posted on a rotation basis from the monastic body. A caretaker under the supervision of the lama is in charge of the daily offerings and the maintenance of the temple.

In 2013, extensive renovation began and new paintings were made. The renovation ended in 2015.

Architecture and Art Work

The two-storey temple was built in traditional Bhutanese architectural forms with extensive woodworks and stones. The courtyard is enclosed by the residence of the Lama and other rooms.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple serves as the community temple for rituals and also hosts two main events. The main event is the recitation of the holy scriptures in the 1st month of Bhutanese calendar for five days, performed by lay practitioners (gomchens). During the recitation of holy scriptures local people serve the three meals in routine base.

The second event is performance of the Nyungne (snyung gnas) ceremony for three days by members of the nearby communities; local villagers of Taktse, Yuesa and Tashi Dingkha take turns to serve the necessary meals. 

Informants: Wangchen, Farmer and ex-soldier, Taktse village; Pema Thinley, Caretaker of Taktse Temple, Yuesa village; Sonam Penjor, Former monk of Tharpaling monastery, Taktse village

Sangay Thinley
Asst. Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, RUB


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