Tashi Thongmon Lhakhang


Tashi Thongmon lhakhang or Wamling Gonpa Tashi Thongmon (as the residents call it) is nestled against a cliff above Wamling village at an elevation of 2033m. It is a one-story temple built on a rock unlike other temples and the huge rock on one side forms a natural wall. The temple is an hour’s walk from the village farm road that connects Wamling and Shingkhar geog (administration) office. Tashi Thongmon temple is close to Tshokiling Shedra, the 7th Namkhai Nyinpo Rinpoche’s monastery and Wamling Gangdar Pong temple.


According to oral sources, Tashi Thongmon in Wamling is the replica of the original Tashi Thongmon lhakhang in Tsari, a pilgrimage place located in Southern Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh. This private temple was built in 1952 by a carpenter Rinzin, who also painted the wall murals inside the temple. Ankey (a lay practitioner) and his wife Leymo from Wamling village funded the construction of the temple. Umze Pemala, a chanting master of the 6th Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche of Tibet consecrated the temple.

The oral sources say that Ankay and his wife went on a pilgrimage to Tsari Rongkor at the limits of  Southern Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh. During their visit, they happened to visit a temple on a cliff called Tashi Thongmon with its foundation laid on rocks. The main statue in the temple was Lord Buddha, and Lama Norbu Gyamtsho was the caretaker then. Both Ankay and Lemo desired to build a similar temple back in their village, on a rock with the same name and statue, to bring peace and prosperity in the village. Accordingly, when Ankey and Leymo returned from Tsari pilgrimage, they built a similar temple in Wamling village. This is how the Tashi Thongmon lhakhang in Wamling village came to be established. The temple was dedicated to the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.

Architecture and Artwork

This one-storey temple has three small rooms built in the traditional Bhutanese style. The temple is built of wood, stone and mud. The temple is unique because it is nestled against a rock that forms a natural wall of the temple. In the entrance is a prayer-wheel that contains the prayers of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), the god of compassion.

On the walls are paintings of Guru Rinpoche with his two consorts, Buddha and the thirty-five Buddhas of Confession, the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594-1651), and a painting of Longchenpa (1308-1363), the 13th century Nyingma master (who was the incarnation of Princess Pema Sal, the daughter of King Trisong Deutsen of Tibet).

The main statues include the Buddha of the Three Times (Lord Buddha; Jampa or Maitreya, the future Buddha; and Marmezey, Dipankara) and the Buddha of the past. Khandu, a sculptor from Hephug monastery at Shaba, Paro is said have made the statues in the temple.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple plays a significant role in the village community. It is a place to perform rituals for the well-bring of the people and also a place where funeral rites are conducted. People offer statues in the name of the deceased, as recommend by the astrologer, to bring peace to the dead. The village pray at the temple to accumulate merit and cleanse their negative deeds of the past, present, and the future.

The Mishi lama (who presides the death ritual) Geleg coordinates the recitation of hundred thousand mantras of Oepamey (Amitabha) in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar. The Wamling community and people from nearby villages contribute to conduct this long life prayer. The recitation of Oepamey (Amitabha) mantra is organized by the villagers on rotation. This temple follows both the Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingma tradition of Buddhism.


Pema Dendup, Geleg’s younger son, monk, Mindroling monastery, Dehradun, India

Thinley Gyeltshen, caretaker, Geleg’s older son

Karma Zangmo, caretaker’s wife


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

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