Tagma Dungkhor Lhakhang


Dungkhor lhakhang in Tagma village is next to Tagma Eulpa temple. It was constructed by Tagma villagers, and was sponsored by three people namely: Pem Dorji, Pem Gyeltshen and Kesang Dorji. It is located approximately 15 kilometers away from Tingtibi town. Dungkhor lhakhang is connected by a 500-600m feeder road that branches off the Zhemgang-Gelephu highway.


Dungkhor lhakhang was built in the late 1960s. According to the caretaker Dorji, Tagma villagers faced many afflictions such as diseases and sicknesses, thus, Pem Dorji, Pem Gyeltshen, and Kesang Dorji went to seek advice from Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji Rinpoche (1904-1987) in Kalimpong. Rinpoche told them that Tagma village faces three mountains: Berti on the left, Zhemgang in the middle, and Yoebilaptsa on the right, which according to Bhutanese belief is a bad omen. To overcome these problems, Rinpoche instructed them to build the Dungkhor lhakhang, and therefore, Pema Dorji, Pem Gyeltshen and Kezang Dorji collaboratively sponsored the building of a Dungkhor lhakhang.

After the completion of Dungkhor lhakhang, the consecration was presided over by Khenpo Karpo Thukten Tenzin (1934-2017), a heart disciple of H.H Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji Rinpoche in 1970, Iron Male Dog year of the Bhutanese calendar.

Architecture and Artwork

The Dungkhor lhakhang is a one-storey square house built in the traditional Bhutanese architecture with woodwork and stones. In front of the entrance of the lhakhang, there is a wall painting of the Four Guardian kings ( ཡུལ་འཁོར་སྲུང་, the god of the Ghandhavas, འཕགས་སྐཱེས་པོ་, the god of the Kumbhandas, སྤྱན་མི་བཟང་the god of Nagas, རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས, the god of the Wealth).

Inside the Dungkhor lhakhang, there is a large prayer-wheel (Dungkhor), hence the name. In the  small shrine room, there is a statue of Phurpa (Vajra Kilaya) in the middle surrounded by Jampelyang (Manjushri) on the right and the Zhabdrung on the left.

The walls are painted with the Wrathful Manifestation of Heruka, Wrathful deities, protector deity Za (Rahula), Guru Rinpoche with his two consorts, the King Trisong Deutsen and Khenchen Boddisattva on either side. There are also paintings of Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904) and White Tara on the right, Zhabdrung Rinpoche on the left of Guru Rinpoche, and also paintings of the Tempa Tshokhor (Buddhas of the Past, Present and Future). The three sponsors of the Dungkhor lhakhang are also represented on the wall.

Social and Cultural Functions

Most of the social functions held in the lhakhang are similar to the celebrations held in Tagma Eulpa Lhakhang. Gomchens (lay practitioners) and monks conduct the monthly rituals for the wellbeing of the community. Whenever there are social functions and rituals, the village community of Tagma and Tingtibi collect the necessary items to organize the ceremony.

They perform three important rituals every year:

  • AZhingdrup is conducted annually on the 17th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar. People invite Tang Rinpoche Choenyi Rangdrol to conduct the Zhingdrup ritual.
  • A Tshechu, or one-day ritual offering to all deities is held on the 15thday of the 5thmonth of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • On the 15thday of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar, another one-day Tshechu prayer is conducted in the temple.


Dorji, 80, caretaker, Dungkhor lhakhang

Jamtshola, 72, Tingtibi Town


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

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