Jangchup Peling Gonpa (also Drengzhing Lhakhang or Bongzam Lhakhang)


Jangchup Peling Gonpa, locally known as Drengzhi or Bongzam Lhakhang, stands at 2156 m above sea level and is located in Drengzhing village, 12 km from Trongsa town. This village is accessible via a 5 km rough road past Bjeezam Primary School. It is then a ten minute walk from this road to the temple, which is surrounded by a few households.

The place where the temple stands today once had a tshamkhang (hermitage), and later it was enlarged to a lhakhang. Although its exact contruction date is unknown, the tshamkhang was built by Lam Neten Matrog (real name unknown) about 300 years ago.


Jangchup Peling Gonpa was first known as Bongzam Lhakhang, for the name of the place where the lhakhang stands today. It later became known as Drengzhing Lhakhang, named after the village. According to local tradition, Lam Matrog, who was then Lam Neten (head abbot) of Trongsa, visited the place and constructed a tshamkhang about 300 years ago. When Lam Matrog passed away (date unknown), the villagers built a two-storey temple on the place where this hermitage stood.

In 2012, the government gave 700,000 ngultrum for the renovation of the lhakhang, with most of the money used for wall paintings. Painters and carpenters were hired for the work, and local villagers also helped without any payment. The Gangtey Trulku consecrated the temple on 27th November, 2014, upon completion of the renovations.

The lhakhang has been looked after by Sinphu Lama Dendhup and his forefathers.

Architecture and Artwork

Jangchup Peling Gonpa is a two-storey temple built in the traditional Bhutanese style. There is a Drolma (Tara) lhakhang on the first storey, established by Ashi Phuntsho Chogron Wangchuck (1911–2003), the senior queen of the 2nd king. The altar has Drolma (Tara) as the main statue, and beside her are the Twenty-one Taras. On the right wall of the lhakhang is a wall painting of the Thirty Five Confession Buddhas, and on the left wall is a painting of the Twenty-one Taras. On the left side of the altar there is also a wall painting of Avalokitesvara with One Thousand Hands and Eyes (Chagtongchentong).

The caretaker’s room and storerooms are separate from the Drolma Lhakhang. A stair beside the door leads to a 2nd storey and the main lhakhang, but a newly added extension between the two storeys serves as the lama’s residence. At the top of the stairs are two rooms, with one used for the preparation of torma (ritual cakes); the other is the temple’s main chapel.

Above the door of the lhakhang is a wall painting of the Three Buddhas of Three Times (Duesum Sangay Marmey Dzed Dipamkara: Buddha of past; Sakyamuni Buddha of present; and Jowo Jampa Màitrey: Buddha of future).

On the left side of the entrance, there is a goenkhang (chapel for the protective deities) with a wall painting of Palden Lhamo, which is covered with a blue silk cloth. Beside it there are paintings of Dungkar Pezang, the village deity (Yuelha); Drakpa Dorji, the birth deity (Kyelha); Norbu Zangpo, the local deity of the place; and other deities. The wall paintings are all covered with a cloth.

On the left side of the room is the altar and the main statue of Avalokitesvara with One Thousand Hands and Eyes (Chagtongchentong), donated by the First King, Ugyen Wangchuck (1862–1926). There are also statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Guru Rinpoche and his two consorts. A statue of Buddha Amitayus (Tshepame), donated by a lay practitioner named Sangdha, and a statue of Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig) are also present on the altar.

On the left side wall of the altar are wall paintings of the Zhabdrung and Kagyu lineage holders. Next to the Zhabdrung are paintings of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha Amitabha (Oepame) in his paradise of Sukhavati (Dewacen, Blissful Pure Land).

On right sidewall of the altar and beside the entrance are wall paintings of Kangtshog Lhatshog, Dorji Lingpa and his lineage holders. Opposite to the altar is the seat of the abbot. On the right side of this seat are wall painting of Rigsum Goenpo (the Protectors of Three Families: Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara); Jampelyang (Manjusri); and Chana Dorji (Vajrapani). Beside them is a wall painting of a red Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig Gyalwa Gyatsho).

To the left side of the seat are paintings of the Tshelha Nam Sum (Three Deities of Longevity: Tshepame (Amitayus); Drolkar (White Tara); and Tsuktor Namgyalma (Ushnisha Vijaya); as well as paintings of Pema Lingpa and Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam.

A set of the Buddhist canon is also placed on both sides of the altar. This was donated about 15 years ago by villager Khenpo Sonam Tobgay, who currently resides in Bumthang.

There are also sets of the collected works of the great Tertoens, Dorje Lingpa (1346–1405) and Pema Lingpa (1450–1521); an old set of Buddhist scriptures containing one hundred thousand verses, which was completed during the time of the second king, Jigme Wangchuck; and a Gyetonpa (Prajnaparamita in eight thousands verses).

Beside the lhakhang stand two large prayer wheels built by the villagers. On the other side of the lhakhang, there is a drupchu (holy water), which is said to have been there when Lam Matrog visited. A man named Sandha from Tangsibji told the caretaker and villagers that the drupchu was blessed by Guru Rinpoche, and they should take care of it. This was told in accordance with what he had heard from the choechong (protector). People take stone baths there, and it is said to heal stomach, back, and knee pain, along with various diseases.

The golden pinnacle that sits atop the lhakhang was donated by Dasho Nagphey, a former national master of dances (champoen chichab), and his relatives.

The temple had minor damage to its walls during the 2011 earthquake. The wall below the lhakhang has required frequent reconstruction, as it has been damaged time and again.

Social and Cultural Functions

The community takes care of Jangchup Peling temple. They practice the Dorji Lingpa tradition of Nyingmapa because of Lam Dendhup and his forefathers, who practiced Dor Ling. Dorji Lingpa is said to have visited Sinphu, and Lam Dendhup is the abbot of Sinphu.

  • 6th–9th days of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar (every 2nd year): Mapemai Nyungne, “fasting and prayer”; on alternating years the Kangyur is recited for five to seven days instead; both are organized by the community
  • 10th day of the 2nd month: Ritual organized by the community
  • 10th day of the 5th month: Ritual sponsored by 8 households
  • 4th day of the 6th month, coinciding with the 1st Sermon of Lord Buddha: Ritual sponsored by 8 households
  • 10th day of the 6th month: Lhaphud, a Bon ritual performed to clear away obstacles and please the local deities
  • 8th–10th days of the 7th month: Ritual organized by the community
  • 22nd day of the 9th month: Ritual sponsored by 8 households
  • 23rd–26th days of the 11th month: Nyungne Jowo Gyamtsho, “fasting and prayer,” organized by the community
  • 10th day of the 12th month: Community ritual


Tshering Phuntsho, 64 yrs old, caretaker


Singye Wangchuk, Asst. Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, 2015

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)