Dungbi Lhakhang


The temple is located in Tashi Dingkha village, which is about 23 kilometers south of the main town of Trongsa towards Zhemgang. The temple is three kilometers from the main highway and can be reached on foot or by car. Dungbi Lhakhang was named after the name of its location, which is also called Dungbi.


To date, no written records have been identified regarding the origin of Dungbi Lhakhang. However, according to the village elder Agye Kencho Tashi and Am Changma, the caretaker of the temple, it is said that the Choetse Droenyer Ugen Dorji, also well-known as Droenyer (Chamberlain) Tashi Dhingkhap, built a one-story temple in the early 20th century at the site. His main aim in building this temple was to atone for his sins, which he committed during the 19th century civil war.

Droenyer Tashi Dhingkhap was originally from Dungsam in Eastern Bhutan, and served as the attendant to the Wangdue Dzongpoen. He then became the Droenyer of Wangdue Dzong before becoming the Droenyer of Choetse Dzong under the reign of the 1st King Ugyen Wangchuck. The King rewarded him with a large plot of land, where he constructed a large house called a Ngagtshang (religious noble family manor).It is said he was very powerful when he was in the position of Droenyer. However, at present there are only ruins of the Ngagtshang,and his family owns nothing. It is said that after he retired from his post, the Droenyer lived in a Tsamkhang (retreat) quite far above the Ngagtshang. His eldest son Kalzang lived in the Ngagtshang with his wife and two sons. They used to have several servants, but the servants united and conspired to kill the family. One night they killed Kelzang, his wife and two sons, and then took away all the wealth and set the Ngagtshang on fire.

The Droenyer died in his retreat, and his younger son Dorji offered those plots of land to Ashi Phuntso Choedron, the Senior Queen of the 2nd King. The Queen in exchange rewarded him with a plot in Radi, Tashigang, and he spent his life there with his family. Later, Ashi Phuntso Choedron presented those plots to her nephew Dasho Drukpoen. At present, those plots belong to the daughter of Dasho Drukpoen, Tashi Dingkha Ashi, who lives in Tashi Dingkha.

Architecture and Art Work

The one-story temple was built in traditional Bhutanese architecture with woodwork and stones. The main statues inside the temple represent the Three Bodies of the Buddha as Oepagme (Amitabha), Chenrezi (Avalokiteshvara) and Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). There are also statues of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Chana Dorji (Vajrapani).

The wall paintings represent the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession, the three protectors Chenrezi, Jampeyang and Chana Dorji (Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani, respectively), as well as the Eight Emanations of Guru Rinpoche.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple is looked after by the family of Agye Ugen Tenzin, though it serves as the community temple for rituals. The temple hosts two main events each year. Firstly, on the 10th day of the 2nd month of the Bhutanese calendar, lay practitioners (gomchen) perform a Tsechu for the welfare of all villagers. During that performance, villagers offer the meals and any additional requirements. Secondly, in the 12th or 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar, a Nyungne (fasting and prayers) is performed. All required things for this ritual are offered by villagers themselves.


Agye Kencho Tashi, Taktse village, 91 years old in 2014

Am Changma, caretaker of Tashi Ding Dungbi Lhakhang, Tashi Dingkha village


Tenzin Dorji, Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, 2014

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