Sinphu Guru Lhakhang


The temple, a small one-story stone and wooden house, is located at the top of Sinphu village. The village can be reached from Trongsa Bjizam bridge, which has a road check point, by a one and a half hour drive on a farm road.


Sinphu Guru Lhakhang was founded by Palbar, the Chamberlain (Zimpoen) of His Majesty, the Second King Jigme Wangchuck in 1950. At that time, there was only one main temple with a small window (rabsel). A larger window and a golden pinnacle were added to the temple with the help of Karma, a relative of the Sinphu Guru Lhakhang caretaker, Phurpa, and devoted villagers in 1997-1998.

The temple and site have historical connections to Guru Rinpoche, evidenced by rocks and oral history. On the right side of the temple, we can see clearly on a big rock the footprint of Guru Rinpoche. An hour’s walk from the temple on the way to Sinphu primary school, one can also see the hoof print of Guru Rinpoche’s horse on a stone. According to local history, there was a small cave where Guru Rinpoche used to meditate, and this cave is now inside the actual temple. One day, an old woman on her way to fetch water saw Guru Rinpoche as though he were sitting in the cave. The next moment, however, she found a butter lamp there instead. Then, after carefully inspecting the cave, she found the body print of Guru and his two consorts (Guru Tsokhor sum): left Mandarava, middle Guru Rinpoche and right Yeshe Tsogyel. The site was thereby recognized as a sacred place and the temple was built around the cave.

Architecture and Art Work

The one-story temple was established in traditional Bhutanese architectural form with woodwork and stones. Under the porch, two large prayer-wheels have been installed. The main altar was built around the print of Guru Rinpoche’s body. Three statues representing Guru, Mandarava and Yeshe Tshogyel (Tsokhor Sum) were offered by Ashi Wangmo, sister of the second King, in the 1950s.

Inside the temple, you can also find new statutes representing the eight emanations of Guru Rinpoche, three different kinds of scriptures (Prajanaparamita) and several wall paintings. The paintings include the Buddha, the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the great 15th century Siddha Thangtong Gyelpo, the deity of long life (Tseringma) and a few local deities.

Social and cultural functions

The temple is looked after by the family of the chamberlain Palbar, and it serves as a temple for the local community. At present, Phurpa, the younger brother of Karma, is the actual caretaker.

Seven main events are performed annually on site for the benefit of the community:

  1. Nyungne (fasting and prayers)in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar

  2. Saga Dawa (the month of Lord Buddha ‘s birth) in the 4th month, 15th day of the Bhutanese calendar

  3. Teldha (the month of Guru Rinpoche’s birth) in the 5th month, 10th day of the Bhutanese calendar

  4. Drukpa Tseshi (First sermon day of Lord Buddha) in the 6th month, 4th day of the Bhutanese calendar

  5. Sampa Lhuendup (prayers related to Guru) for three days in the 7th month of the Bhutanese calendar

  6. Lhabab Duechen (Descending day of Lord Buddha) in the 9th month of the Bhutanese calendar

  7. Yarngo and Marngo Tsechu (offerings to all deities) on the 10th day and 25th day of every month


Thubpa, Caretaker of Sinphu Guru Lhakhang, Sinphu village, 2014


Lopen Samten, Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, RUB, 2014

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)