Dhaba Zhabje Lhakhang


Dhaba Zhabje lhakhang is located in Dhaba village, which is 13 kilometers from the nearest paved road. The village is about one hour drive by car from Bjee Zam on the Wangdue Phodrang – Trongsa Highway. The Lhakhang is a modest one-storey traditional building, and it can be reached from Bjee Zam on a feeder road. Dhaba village can be seen among other villages of the gewog, and the paddy fields that surround the village give a picturesque view of a typical Bhutanese settlement.


The villages of Dhaba and Kaba in Nubi gewog shared one temple called the Kaba Lhakhang. According to sources, the former Lam Neten of the Choetse Dzong in Trongsa (popularly known as the Dhaba Lam) called for the temple to be constructed seeing the need for a temple in the village. The people of Dhaba village collectively contributed labor for the construction of the temple, and with the help of nine households in the village the temple was constructed in 1974.

It is believed that Guru Rinpoche’s footprint was left near the village, so the temple was built on the site where this relic was found. The name Zhabje for the temple was also derived from the word Zhabje in Dzongkha which means footprint. This footprint is the sacred relic in the present temple. The temple was built and funded by the people of the village, and it is owned by the Dhaba community.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is built in the traditional Bhutanese architecture and looks more like a simple Bhutanese house. The woodwork and masonry of the temple is not elaborate. A small courtyard is present in the front, and a functional kitchen is attached to the right side.

The temple follows the Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism. The statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) along with statues of Tshepamey (Amitayus, the Buddha of long life), Jetsun Dolma (Tara) and Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) adorn the temple. The wall paintings inside the temple are that of Guru Tshengye (the Eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche). The painting of the sponsor and his family is also there on the inner wall of the temple as a recognition for founding the temple.

In 2013, an additional room with prayer wheels was added to the temple.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple holds functions for the community throughout the year. A ritual is held on every 10th, 15th and 30th day of the month.

In the 7th and 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar, the community organizes a three-day ritual every year for the well being of the community.

The community has a strong sense of ownership of the temple. Each household takes the responsibility of taking care and organizing rituals in the temple. One household takes care of the temple for one year and passes the duty to another household for the next.


Lopon Sangay Dorji, 2014


Jigme Wangdi, Asst. Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Royal University of Bhutan, 2018.


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