Baza Guru Dungkhor Lhakhang


Baza Guru Dungkhor lhakhang is located at a distance of 10 minutes’ drive from the heart of Zhemgang town. The temple is located on a slope, overlooking the panoramic view of the Zhemgang settlement.

The temple is a one-storey traditional Bhutanese house with many small prayer wheels (dungkhor) embedded into the exterior wall of the main temple. A flagstone path goes around the temple for people to spin the prayer wheels and circumambulate the temple. Temporary dwellings are built a few meters away from the temple, and the nuns from nearby villages live in those dwellings.


According to oral sources, this temple is believed to be the first Baza Guru Dungkhor in Bhutan, and it was built around 1960s, after the Chinese occupation of Tibet. When China invaded Tibet in 1959, many high lamas fled Tibet and they passed through Zhemgang district. The caretaker Angay Tandin, 89 years old, said that the temple was constructed by Longchoe from Kheng Buli as per the prophecy of the three high lamas namely Chatrel Sangay Dorji (1913-2015), Polo Khenpo Dorje (1896- 1970) and Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987). It is believed that when the three Rinpoches reached the present site of the Baza Guru Dungkhor temple, they declared that a Baza Guru Dungkhor (large prayer-wheel with Guru rinpoche’s mantra) should be built in the future to bless the people of Zhemgang. Therefore, the people of Kherig Namsum (three divisions of Kheng: Upper, middle and lower) jointly built the temple for the wellbeing of the people of Zhemgang and the sentient beings. Aum Kencho Wangmo from Pemaling village in Zhemgang gifted an acre of land to build the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The main relic of the temple is the big prayer-wheel with Baza Guru mantra. The Baza Guru mantra was handwritten by Chatrel Sangay Dorji himself, hence the temple is known as Baza Guru Dungkhor lhakhang. It was consecrated by Chatrel Sangay Dorji and Polo Khenpo Dorje. In the corner is a small shrine with a statue of Guru Rinpoche. The painting on the wall is that of Guru Rinpoche, but the colors have faded. The then people’s representative of Zhemgang, Dasho Sangay coordinated the construction of the temple.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple does not conduct many rituals, or other social functions. The temple organizes monthly rituals on Yarngo, which is the 10th day of the Bhutanese month, and on Marngo, 15th day of the Bhutanese month. The temple is registered under the Dratshang Lhentshog (monk body) of Zhemgang dzongkhag and therefore, the caretaker is appointed by the dratshang on rotation.


Jafag Dorji, villager

Angay Tandin, caretaker


Dawa Zangmo, Asst. Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.


(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)