Berti Lhakhang


Berti or Bertang Lhakhang is located 45 kms from Zhemgang main town, on the road to Tingtibi and Gelephu. The temple and the village can be seen from the Zhemgang-Gelephu highway that winds along the Mangdechu river, about 3 kilometers before Tingtibi town. A 5 km feeder road from Tingtibi town leads to Berti village. The village is on a gradual slope and the temple is constructed in the heart of the village and down below the village is the Mangdechu river.


Berti temple or Bertang lhakhang was constructed in 1990 by Guthuwa from Berti (he passed away in November, 2016). Shamba (a 63-year-old man), the caretaker since the initial construction of the temple, said that the owner wanted to a build a temple in Berti because the village had no temple to conduct religious and other social activities. Secondly, he wanted to build a temple in memory of his father-in-law who had passed away. Therefore, Guthuwa funded the construction and the community contributed their labour in the construction of the temple. Shamba said it took two years to complete.

Originally, the Berti community once lived at Chabang village, a one-day walk from the present village towards the north. Berti was used for cultivation and as a pasture land in the past. In the 1920s and 1930s, some villagers from Chabang started to settle at Berti because people could easily reach the dzongkhag administration for official work and other personal activities. It was also easier for them to interact with people from nearby villages. Gradually, the Chabang villagers relocated to Berti. At present Chabang village looks bare and desolate, except for the Chabang Temple.

Initially, the temple was constructed on a 10 decimal area, but the community started growing and the space became a challenge, especially during the rituals and gatherings. The founder made an additional donation of 30 decimal land to the community for the expansion and renovation of the temple. In the spring of 2017, the temple was being renovated with the help of the villagers and financial assistance from the government.

Architecture and Artwork

Berti temple is a one-storey building in traditional Bhutanese architecture with extensive woodwork, mud and stones. The community contributed the fund to install the statues and the wall paintings in the temple.

The main relic inside the temple is the Buddha Shakyamuni donated by RinzinWangdi (Shamba’s younger brother). On the left side of the Buddha, statues include Rig Sum Gonpo (three Buddhist Protectors), Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), Chukchizhay (11-faced Avolokitesvara) (donated by Rakpa), Jampelyang (Manjushri, the god of wisdom) and Chagna Dorje (Vajrapani). On the right side of the Buddha is Guru Rinpoche. Namgyel from Berti donated the statue of Dorje Sempa (Vajrasattva) and the Berti community presented the statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

The walls of the temple were decorated by the painter and carver Dorji Tshering who came from Kurtoe (Lhuntse). On the request of the Berti temple founder Guthuwa, Dorji Tshering made small “bas reliefs” of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion with eleven faces (chugchizhay) on two walls of the temple. This is a really unique composition.

Social and Cultural functions

Berti Lhakhang does not organize big annual rituals or social events, only monthly rituals on auspicious days of the months are performed for the well-being of the community. From the Berti community, one or two households take the responsibility to conduct a one-day event on rotation. Lama Khando, a follower of Namkhai Ningpo Rinpoche of the Nyingma tradition and the gomchens (lay-practitioners) perform the rituals.

  • On the 10th day of the 2nd Bhutanese month, a one-day ritual offering to Guru Rinpoche is conducted, and the people of Kheng call the offering Preula Chodpa. Tshering Wangmo and Ap Dorji sponsor the one day Tshechu prayer in the temple.
  • On the10th day of the 3rd Bhutanese month, Pelzom and Nyontela coordinate the ritual on the Zhabdrung Kuchoe (the death anniversary of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namygal).
  • Damcho and Lekey Wangmo sponsor the ritual on Duechen Nga Zom (the Buddha’s parinirvana) on the 15th day of the 4th Bhutanese month.
  • On the 10th day of the 5th Bhutanese month, Shamba and his family coordinate the Tshechu prayer on Guru’s Thrungkar Duechen (the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche).
  • On the 4th day of the 6th Bhutanese month, Karchung and Wangzom organize the ritual on Drukpa Tshe Zhi (the first sermon of the Buddha).
  • On the10th or 15thday of the 8th Bhutanese month, Dorji Lhamo and Chungmo sponsor a one-day liturgy.
  • Rinzin Wangdi and Chungki sponsor a one-day ritual offerings on Lhabab Duechen (the descending day of Lord Buddha), which falls on the 22nd day of the 9th Bhutanese month.
  • And finally on the 10th day of the 10thBhutanese month, Pema Zangmo sponsors the Trelda Tshechu prayer.


Ap Shamba, 63, caretaker, Berti


Sangay Thinley, Lecturer, College of Language Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.

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