Khomling Lhakhang


Khomling Lhakhang is located in Taktse village, which is about 23 kilometers south of the main town of Trongsa towards Zhemgang on the Trongsa-Gelephu Highway. The temple is about 3 kilometers from the main highway. A paved farm road now connects the highway with Taktse village, but the temple can only be reached by foot – it is a walk of approximately 15 minutes to the temple from the road in Taktse village.

Khomling Lhakhang was named after the location at which the temple was erected. Today it is better known as Peling Lhakhang to the students and teachers of the Institute of Language of Culture Studies (ILCS), as it served as one of the winter residences of the great treasure discoverer Pema Lingpa in the 15th century.


There is not any written record which discusses the origin of Khomling Lhakhang, but oral history on the topic does exist. According to Agye Kencho Tashi, a village elder, and Tashi Dorji, the caretaker of the temple, it is said that Pema Lingpa began the foundation of Taktse Lhakhang while he was visiting Taktse village one winter. However, NelungpaSherab Lhendup, the second Trongsa Penlop, completed the temple and took it over without asking Pema Lingpa, who went back to Bumthang in summer. Pema Lingpa found out about the Lhakhang completion when he came back to Taktse and unhappily said to Nelungpa, “I have enough leisure time to erect another temple if you are happy with your own deeds.”

We have a discrepancy here, asin accordance with the oral tradition, Pema Lingpa met the second Trongsa Penlop Nelungpa and had a discussion about Taktse Lhakhang. However, historically, Pema Lingpa died in 1521 and Nelungpa Sherab Lhuendup was appointed as the second Trongsa Penlop in 1667 when the first Penlop Choegyal Migyur Tenpa became the third Desi. There is a 146-year gap between the death of Pema Lingpa and the year of appointment of the second Trongsa Penlop. Therefore, particulars of this oral history of the temple must be taken with a degree of skepticism.

Further oral history exists regarding the site and the Khomling Lhakhang. It is said that Pema Lingpa headed towards the area of Khomling riding a horse, and decided to reside near Sangchu Gang. At Sangchu Gang, his horse kicked against a rock and caused the river to flow. Sangchu Gang means “the place of secret water,” and this implies that the secret water source was seen only by Pema Lingpa and his horse. Pema Lingpa made a residence close to Sangchu Gang, and named the place Khomling, which means “the garden of leisure time.” The name given to the site was in reference to his comment to Nelungpa that he had leisure time to erect another temple.

Today, we can still see a large flat stone where Pema Lingpa had poured offering water, the location of toilets and the cremation ground provided by him. According to Agye Kencho.

Tashi, who was ninety-one years old as of 2014, there was once a small house with a bamboo roof at the site. An old man and an old woman used to live there and take care of the house, and they used to go for alms carrying a Tara statueon the old man’s back while the old woman went ahead of him singing a song of Alepeand wearing a ceremonial scarf. When it rained heavily, they used to cover the statue with a hat in order to protect it from any damage.

In the early 20th century, the Choetse Droenyer Ugen Dorji, also known as Droenyer Tashi Dhingkhap, built a one-storey temple above Pemalingpa’s residence. His aim for building this temple was mainly to atone for his sins, which he committed during the 19th century civil war.

Architecture and Art Work

The one-storey temple was established in traditional Bhutanese architectural style with woodwork and stone. The shape of temple is similar to Tashi Dingkha’s temple, as it was constructed by the same sponsor, Droenyer Ugyen Dorji.

The main statues in the temple are the Buddhas of Three Times. There are also statues of Tara, Pema Lingpa, and the protectors Gonpo Maning and Palden Lhamo. The wall paintings represent the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession, the Kagyu Lineage with Zhabdrung Phunsum Tsogpa, and the Assembly Deities of Avaloketeshavara.

Social and Cultural Functions

Though this temple belongs to a private family, it serves as a community temple for rituals, and hosts two main events each year. The first event occurs on the 10th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar, when lay practitioners (gomchen) perform the Gongdu Tsechu. During that performance, villagers of Takse and Uesa serve the practitioners all three meals and provide them with all necessary items. The second event is on the 18th day of the 6th month of the Bhutanese calendar, when lay practitioners perform the Lhamo Tsog gya. All necessary items for this ritual are also offered by Takse and Uesa villagers.


Agye Kencho Tashi, Taktse village, aged 91 in 2014 Tashi Dorji, caretaker of Khomling Lhakhang for more than 35 years, Taktse village, 2014

Researcher & Photographer

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

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