Pising Zowa Chagdor Lhakhang


Pising Zowa Chagdor lhakhang popularly known as Pisingna Lhendup Choeling lhakhang is a privately owned temple. It is located in Shingkhar village behind the Shingkhar Dung’s (lord) house. The temple is above the farm road and the Shingkhar Primary School is below the temple, about thirty minutes’ walk from the temple.

It takes approximately 45 minutes to to drive from Thrisa village to Shingkhar.


Local informants say that the name of the temple, Pising Zowa Chagdor, comes from the name of the carpenter Zowa Chagdor and the blue pine (Pising) wood used in the construction. The exact date of the construction is unknown since there is no written record of the history of the temple.

According to Kunley, (45, the caretaker’s son) his grandfather Chagdor and another another grandparent Karma built the temple to benefit the community because there was no temple to conduct religious, cultural, and other social functions. The informant said that meme (grandfather) Chagdor served as a carpenter to the Royal Government of Bhutan during the time of the first king Ugyen Wangchuck, which means the temple is probably built in the early part of the 20th century. Meme Chagdor was also a mask dance teacher and an astrologer in Shingkhar village, and he is believed to have crafted the masks that are in the temple today.

Architecture and Art Work

The temple is a two-storey house built in the traditional Bhutanese architecture with two painted pillars on the first floor, and a ladder that goes up from the ground floor. The temple is made out of wood, mud, stone and bamboo.  The ground floor is used as a storeroom and the altar room is on the first floor. There are two small dungkhors (prayer-wheels) at the entrance of the first floor.

In the altar, the main relics include statues of the Buddha and Jampelyang (Manjushri, the deity of wisdom). Next to the altar is a beautifully painted box with the statue of Drukpa Kunley, also called the the Divine Madman (16th century). In front of the altar is a medium size prayer-wheel of Dorsem (Vajrasattva) and Tshepamey (Amitayus, the Long Life Buddha). The faded wall paintings depict Guru Tshengay (the 8 manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Dorsem (Vajrasattva), and Drukpa Kunley.

Social and Cultural Functions

This private temple serves an important role in Shingkhar village, it is a place to conduct annual rituals and other offerings. The community congregates at this temple to pray for peace and prosperity of the village. The following functions are conducted in the temple with support from the village community, the gomchens (lay practitioners) and gelongs (monks) perform all the rituals in the temple.

  • A Moenlam Chenmo (great prayer festival) is conducted from the 10th-12th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • A ritual called Zhingdup karju Kangshag (a ritual of expiation for the dead) a Kagyu tradition practice is conducted from the 14th-16th day of the 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • A ritual called Lama Gongdu (the quintessential sublime vision) and a feast for the protective deity Palden Lhamo are conducted on the 4th day of the 6th month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • A prayer to Tshepamey (Amitayus, Long Life Buddha), deities, and Dharma Protectors are held on the 10th day of the 8th month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • On the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar, the Lama Gongdu (The quintessential sublime vision) is again performed.
  • On other days of the months, people come with offerings to the guardian deity Palden Lhamo.


Sonam Dema, 72, caretaker, Shingkhar

Kunley, Sonam Dema’s son, 45, Shingkhar


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

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