Tashi Choeling Lhakhang / Duenmang Lhakhang


Tashi Choeling Lhakhang, popularly known as Duenmang Lhakhang, is located at Duenmang, in Nangkor Gewog, Zhemgang Dzongkhag. It is a small village consisting of 31 households. Duenmang village can be reached by taking the Tingtibi -Pangbang -Praling road. From Praling, an hour and a half walk downhill leads to the famous Duemang hotspring (local Duenmang Tsachu), and then cross the Mangde Chu, another five-hour walk uphill leads into Duenmang.

Another route leads to Duenmang village. From Dagphel, drive south on the Tali-Buli farm road until Tshaldang village. From there another three-hour walk leads to Duenmang Lhakhang. The temple can be seen from a distance, distinctly situated below the village.


No written record regarding the origin of the temple is available thus far, although the oral sources say that the temple was built sometime in the 1850s.

According to oral sources, the people of Duenmang went to present their offerings to the 2nd Choedrak Lama, Jurme Choe Rangdol (of Tibetan origin). The Lama had come to Duenmang hotspring from Choedrak, Bumthang. The villagers presented gifts, and then proposed for a construction of temple in Duenmang village. The lama accepted the idea and conducted the ground breaking ceremony, and later consecrated the temple after it was completed. As per the informant, the Choedrak lama named the temple Tashi Choeling (Tashi means Auspicious and Choeling, the land of Buddha Dharma), and he prophesized that the Buddha Dharma would flourish in Duenmang village.

All the relics (Kuten Sungten) including an antique bell, were brought from Tharpaling, Bumthang. The relics include the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni, Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), Chukchizhay (Ekadasamukha /11 faced Avalokitesvara), Guru Nangsi Zilnon (Guru Rinpoche in semi-wrathful form), Dorji Sempa (Vajrasattva), Tara (Jetsun Drolma), Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and a set of Bum (sacred scriptures of one hundred thousand verses).

The temple was renovated thrice since the initial construction. The date of the first renovation is not known, but the latter two were done in 1985 and 1989 respectively. The renovations included the extension of the temple and the repainting of wall murals. The serthok (golden pinnacle) on the roof was installed around 2012, funded by the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. The Jangtrul Rinpoche, Karma Tsendrup Ngosar Wangpo (he was born in Tsirang in 1999, and he is the 3rd reincarnation of Jangtrul Rinpoche. He lives in Sikkim.) of the Karma Kagyu Lineage inaugurated the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is a two-storey traditional building with the main altar on the first floor and a storeroom in the ground floor. A small detached hut is used as a kitchen.

The statues in the main altar include Buddha Sakyamuni in the center, Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) and Chukchizhay (Ekadasamukha /11 faced Avalokitesvara) on the left, and Guru Nangsi Zilnon (wrathful form of Guru) on the right.  The other statues in the temple are Chador Tungpo (wrathful Vajrapani), Guru Singye Dradrok, Jetsun Dema (Tara), and another small statue of Avalokitesvara. The statues of Mahakala (Yeshey Gonpo), Damchen Dorji Lekpa, and Magen Chamdrel are in the Goenkhang (altar of Dharma protector) on the right side of the altar. Many small statues are there inside the temple, and some were offered in the name of the deceased by their relatives.

The wall paintings include Guru and his two consorts (Guru Tshokor Sum) surrounded by Guru Tshengay (the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), the Jangchub Tungshak Lhatsho (Buddhas of Confession), Sangay Oepamey Chokor Sum (Buddha Amitabha, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani) in Zhingkham Dewachen (paradise of Sukhavati), Dorsem (Vajrasattva), the Zhithro Lhatsho (the 42 peaceful and 58 wrathful deities), and also the great 14th century master Kunkhyen Longchenpa. Besides these murals, a painting of Choedrak lama is also there on the wall.

In addition to the statues, there are three prayer wheels (2 big, 1 small), a big bell, and the seat of Jangtrul Rinpoche in the main hall.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple does not have a monk body and is solely looked after by gomchens (lay practitioners) and the community. The gomchens follow the Nyingthik and Peling traditions of Nyingma Buddhism.

The temple organizes rituals on Yar-Ngo (10th day of the Bhutanese month) and Mar-Ngo (25th day of the Bhutanese month) every month. During the Yar-Ngo, the gomchens (lay practitioners) perform the rituals of Rigthir, Ugyen Pema Jungnay (Rigzin Duepa) and during the Mar-Ngo, they perform a ritual of Khandro Yeshey Tshogyel.

The temple also conducts Nyungney (fasting and prayers) in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar for three days.

A ritual called Choedpa (offering) is performed every year for 3 days from the 14th to the 16th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. During this event, a Gadpopai Cham is performed twice, one on the 14th midnight and another on the 15th day around 2.30 pm. This dance involves two elderly men (one dressed as a woman), and a group of young boys to symbolize children of the two elderly people. The Gadpopai cham is believed to have been transmitted from Sumthrang temple in Bumthang.

The rituals are sponsored by the four groups of villagers on rotation: madpay, sholing, toedpay, barpay. Earlier, the caretaker used to go into the village to ask for donation for the rituals. But during Ap Phochen’s tenure as the caretaker (2004 to 2010), the village households were divided into four groups (as mentioned above) and now they sponsor the rituals on rotation. The rituals are mostly performed by the gomchens.

The caretaker is solely responsible for making the daily offerings and ritual (Soelkha) to the dharma protectors. The caretaker does not receive wages, but he is exempted from other community work (woola).

Mr. Wangdi, 58, caretaker, Duenmang
Lama Samten Tashi, 66, death ritual performer, Duenmang
Mr. Rinchen Dorji, 24, Duenmang, student of CLCS


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

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)