Tshangkha Lhakhang


Tshangkha Lhakhang is located on the Thimphu-Trongsa highway in Tshangkha village, which is about a 45-minute drive from Trongsa town. From the highway in Tshangkha village, it is a five minute walk up to reach Tshangkha Lhakhang above the village. Tshangkha temple is a two-storey mud building surrounded by small prayer wheels.


The place where the present temple is located was reportedly dominated by evil spirits in earlier times, but it was blessed at an unknown date by Lopen Golay from Tshangkha, who gained wisdom and power through mantras from the monastery of Mindroling in Tibet.

In 1701, Choezang, who served as a Trongsa Chamberlain during that period, was the first to construct a building on the holy site. This building was a one-storey mud temple, housing the customary statues, scripture and stupa to consecrate the building as a temple. Choezang also included the protector Dudsolma in the inner chapel, and offered religious objects and wall paintings. In 1785, Lopen Tshultrim Tharchen, who was serving as a Dorji Lopen in the central monastic institution, further embellished the temple with paintings of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, and statues of the protective deities Palden Lhamo, Gonpo Maning and the local deity Draktse Gyelpo in the protectors’ temple (gonkhang).

In 1961, villagers dismantled the temple in order to upgrade it into a two-storey mud house under the coordination of Peljor, who was Drakteng Warden (Nyep). However, they did not do the proper rituals to placate the protective deities, and the protectors’ chapel was damaged during the dismantling of the temple. This is believed to have caused an untimely death for young villagers and extensive damage to village crops. In the midst of this misfortune, the villagers summoned the help of the protective deity Damchen Dorji Lekpa with the help of a local medium(choejong), who has a special relation to the deity. The deity told them that their misfortune occurred because of their careless dismantling of the temple. In order to bring peace back to the village, the deity told them to reconstruct the temple, and to make regular offerings to the local deity of the sacred site of the temple. After the instructions given by the protector Damchen Dorji Lekpa, people constructed the present two-storey mud temple with the protective deities’ chapel exactly as it was earlier. They thereby resolved the calamities, and harmony and peace were restored.

Architectural and art work

The temple’s altar contains statues of Lord Buddha, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Paintings inside the temple mainly depict peaceful and wrathful deities, as well as a beautiful depiction of Guru Rinpoche’s paradise, Zangdokpelri. Near the altar, the protectors’ chapel can also be seen. This temple belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism.

Social and cultural functions

The temple has a number of functions for the community throughout the year. The temple belongs to the village community, who organizes rituals on the 8th, 10th, 15th and 30th days of every month. Additionally, the temple is the venue for two additional events each year. On the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th days of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar, the village holds a fast and prayers called Nyungne. On the 10th day of the 6th month of the Bhutanese calendar, the community performs a ritual called Lungdum.

The temple also provides a venue for both social and religious gatherings of the Tshangkha community, and it is a good platform for interactions which preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the village.

While belonging to the community, this temple is looked after by the Central Monastic Body. However, the caretaker is a monk appointed by the village. The monthly salary of the caretaker is contributed by each household. The current caretaker (as of 2014) is from Trashigang district.


Ap Lodey, village elder, Tshangkha village, 86 years of age as of 2014

Researcher & Photographer

Sangay Phuntsho, Asst. Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture

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