Jatshabi Lhakhang


Jatshabi is a private lhakhang, owned by Lopen Phuntsho and his family. It is located at Jatshabi, consisting of just one household under Shingkhar gewog. It is connected by a feeder road and takes approximately 4.5-hour drive from Zhemgang main town. From the road end, the temple is 1.5-hour walk through the beautiful valley of Yombung and Jatshabi.


The date of the establishment of the temple is unknown. According to oral sources, a Buddhist practitioner named lama Kelzang had built the temple, and that the temple is more than a century old. Not long ago, Yombung lama from the Yombung temple near Shingkhar village renovated the lhakhang, and he expanded the temple to create space to conduct rituals and other religious events. The wall paintings in the temple were also restored at the same time. Unfortunately, the owner does not remember the exact year of the renovation. He says that the renovation was probably done more than 20 years ago, which approximates to the late 1990s.

Initially, the temple and the living quarters were adjoined. Later, the owner of the lhakhang constructed a house with the help of his father in-law. The family, now, lives in the house that is set apart from the main temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The lhakhang is a two-storey traditional building made of wood and stones. The religious objects in the temple are statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The lhakhang has beautiful wall paintings of Guru Tshengay (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Oepamey (Buddha Amitabha), Gyalwa Rig Nga (the Five Buddhas of Wisdom), the Zhabdrung, and Chukchizhay (11-faced Avalokitesvara).

The guardian deity of Jatshabi temple is Palden Lhamo (Shri Devi/Mahakali). In times of sickness, or any problems that the villagers face, they always seek the protection of the guardian deity.

Social and Cultural Functions
The temple is the centre of the community’s social and cultural activities. The owner hosts a number of religious activities every year.

The biggest event is the Lhabab Duechen (the descending day of Lord Buddha), which falls on the 22nd day of the 9th month of the Bhutanese calendar. The people from nearby villages sponsor this event, and the lay practitioners from the village perform the ritual.

On other days, the owner is responsible for the daily rituals and offerings.


Lopen Phuntsho, 64, owner, Jatshabi


Chencho Tshering, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.

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