Lingtoe Lhakhang


Lingtoe Lhakhang (temple) is beautifully located on the top of a hill in Dangdung village in Langthel gewog, Trongsa district. It is an hour’s walk to reach the temple from Dangdung village.


Lingtoe temple is said to have been built by the Drukpa lama Mipham Tenpai Nima (1567–1619), the father of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, in the 16th century. When Mipham Tenpai Nima reached Lingtoe village in search of a temple location, he is said to have been carrying nine Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel statues with him. This attribution is a problem, however, as Zhabdrung was born in 1594 as the son of Mipham Tenpai Nyima, and it is doubtful there would have been statues of him.

Wherever the truth lies, the story goes that he asked the statues whether he could establish the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in that location. Among the nine statues of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, one statue nodded his head, thus telling him to take his seat there. Mipham Tenpai Nima decided that Lingtoe would be a good place, and he built the temple according to the prophecy of the Zhabdrung’s statue; today this statue is considered a sacred relic of the temple. Although this story has a chronological problem, it is the story that locals narrate.

When the construction of the temple started, there was no sign of water, making it difficult to build the temple. Mipham Tenpai Nyima offered prayers to celestial beings and the protective deity of the country, saying that if his real destiny were to have religion flourish in Lingtoe, there should be water there the following day. As he wished, the next day there was water. Today a small pond is located approximately 50 meters to the right of the temple; this is considered a drupchu, holy water.

In the past, the Dangdung community was wary of the family of Lingtoe because of its fearsome protective deity, Pekar Gyep (Pekar Gyalpo), the deity of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Pekar Gyep could cast evil on those who challenged the Lingtoe temple family. People fell sick and had other undesirable misfortunes in their life. The Dandung community subsequently cursed and slandered the family of the Lingtoe, and due to this pressure, the Lingtoe family was obliged to abandon the temple and move to Dangdung Village.

Oral history says that while the Lingtoe family was in Dangdung Village, the deity Pekar Gyep manifested in various ferocious animals, such as a tiger, lion, leopard, and bear. These animals used to chase away those who passed by Lingtoe temple, making for a difficult journey from Lingtoe, as it is a main trail to Bumthang. The Dangdung community then relented and requested the Lingtoe family to take care of Lingtoe temple; thus, the family continues to own the temple to this day.

There is still a belief that Pekar Gyep continues to cast misfortune and assault people. Whenever people of Dangdung fall ill, they visit Lingtoe temple and give offerings to appease Pekar Gyep.

Architecture and Artwork

In the past the temple had only two storeys, built in the Bhutanese traditional architectural structure style with wood, mud, and stones. The first floor was used solely as the main chapel, and the ground floor was the residence for the caretaker/owner.

Aum Tshering Lhamo, the present caretaker, has expanded the temple to three storeys. She and her entire family live on the ground and first floors, and the second floor is now used as the chapel.

The main relic in the chapel is a self-talking (sung-jon) statue of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the center surrounded by small statues of Jetsun Drolma (Tara); Guru Rinpoche; Buddha Shakymuni; Karmapa Zhanag Rinpoche; and Karmapa Zhamar Rinpoche.

Social and Cultural Functions

Lingtoe is now a private temple belonging to Aum Tshering Lhamo and her family. Her ancestors moved in just after the foundation of the temple. According to Aum Tshering Lhamo, in the past the temple was very important for the Dangdung community. The monk body of Trongsa owned the temple, and the villagers, and Lingtoe family had to pay taxes of butter, cheese, incense, rice, and other items in kind. This practice has since been abolished, however.

There are no big events or festivals in Lingtoe temple other than morning and evening offerings. Aum Tshering Lhamo’s great grandfather Dodou, however, started three ritual events:

  • 7th month of the Bhutanese calendar: Gonpo Kangsha, summer offering and confession to Gonpo (Mahakala)
  • 9th month: Gonpo Selchod, offering to deity Gonpo (Mahakala)
  • 12th month: Lochod, annual offering by the family

It appears there are no fixed days to perform these rituals; the dates are predicated on the family’s convenience.


Aum Tshering Lhamo, caretaker/owner, Lingtoe, 2014
Ap Tshewang Dorji, farmer, Dangdung village, 2014
Lopen Kuenzang Dorji, Senior Research Officer, Royal Academy for Performing Arts, 2014


Karma Phuntsho. (2013) The History of Bhutan. Noida-London: Vintage books Random House India.


Sangay Thinley, Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, 2015

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