Tshaldang Lhakhang


Tshaldang lhakhang is located above the village farm road at Tshaldang village in Nangkor gewog, Zhemgang dzongkhag. It is approximately 56 kms from Zhemgang Dzong. It can be reached by a farm road from Buli village.

The oral sources say that there used to be a small lake just below the village, because of that the village was called as Tshothang (the plain of the lake).  Over time the place came be known as Tshaldang, and hence the temple is also referred to as Tshaldang lhakhang. Outside the temple perimeter are the open paddy fields and village houses.


According to oral sources, the temple is believed to be 45 years old, probably built in the 1970s. Prior to 1970s, there was no temple in Tshaldang village. Most of the rituals were conducted in the neighbouring village of Nyakhar. When there was a death in the community, the people of Tshaldang had to go to Nyakhar village to conduct the death rituals, which was onerous on the community. Under Lama Choni Lhendup’s guidance, the villager decided to conduct the rituals in the open paddy field in the village on rotation. Later, the lama decided to build a temple in Tshaldang to ease the burden on the villagers.

Lama Choni Lhendup built the temple on his property. A villager named Jyatsho donated the fund and the villagers contributed labour for the construction. The temple was consecrated by Lama Terchong of Tali Gonpa. On the request of the villagers, it was consecrated the second time by Khenpo Darzer, a Tibetan, when he visited Bhutan The temple has not been renovated since the initial construction. The villagers had a plan to expand the temple, but the government disallowed the reconstruction because of the government’s policy to preserve the old and sacred heritage. The temple does not have a Serthok (golden pinnacle) as yet; however, people are making monetary contribution toward the installation of a serthok on the temple.

Earlier, the temple was cared for by the villagers on rotation, but the lama decided to end this practice because the villagers found it difficult to manage the temple. Therefore, the lama appointed Tsipa Sangay Dorji to be the caretaker of the temple, and to this day Tshipa Sangay’s family is the caretaker of the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is a two-storey traditional Bhutanese building with extensive wood work and stones. The main altar is on the first floor and the ground floor is empty.

The main relics in the temple include Guru Nangsi Zilon (Guru Rinpoche in semi-wrathful form) and his two consorts Mandarawa and Yeshey Tshogyel. On the right side of Guru is Chenrezig (Buddha of Compassion), Chukchizhay (11-faced Avalokiteshvara), and Dragpo Tachung Barwa (wrathful form of Guru) on the left. There are also numerous small statues which were donated by the people in the name of the deceased.

The Goenkhang (temple of the protective deities) has Palden Lhamo, Madza Damsum, Ekajati, Dorjelegpa (Vajrasadhu) and Za (Rahula) as its main deities. The painting of Tungsha (the Buddhas of confession) is on the right side of the altar. Unlike other wall paintings, the hands in the painting are without any ornaments, and it is believed to be significant by the villagers. A painting of Jebang Nyernga (Guru and his 25 disciples) is also there along with the painting of Dewachen or Sangay Oepamey’s Phodrang (Sukhavati, the paradise of the Buddha Amitabha).

Social and Cultural Functions

During the Yar Ngo (10th day of the Bhutanese calendar) and Mar Ngo (25th day of the Bhutanese calendar) of every month, five households in the village come together to conduct rituals. On these two particular days, they perform the ritual called Khandu Nyingthi (Homage to the dakini)

From the 6th – 8th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar, the villagers recite the Bum (Buddhist scripture of one hundred thousand verses) in the temple.

Every year, a Nyungney (prayers and fasting) is conducted from the 8th to the 10th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar for 3 days followed by a tshechu of Norbu Jamtsho (homage to the spiritual teacher).

On the 15th day of the 4th month of the Bhutanese Calendar, the gomchens (lay practitioners) perform Karling Zhi Thro, the ritual of the dead in the temple.

On the 4th day of the 6th month of the Bhutanese Calendar, coinciding with Drukpa Tshe Zhi, (first sermon of Lord Buddha), the village men sponsor a ritual called Apa pai chodpa (the ritual of Men).

On the 22nd day of the 9th month of the Bhutanese calendar coinciding with Lhabab Duechen (the descending day of Lord Buddha), the village women sponsor a ritual called Mali Amai chodpa (the ritual of the ladies of the houses).

On the 12th to the16th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar, the villagers celebrate Choedpa. This particular festival is celebrated in many villages of Kheng.

The temple is a significant part of the community, and thus, the 21st day of the funeral rites of the dead is always conducted in the temple.


Leki Wangdi, temple caretaker, Tshaldang

Tshewang, villager, Tshaldang


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

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)