Wamling Gaden Tashicholing Lhakhang


Gaden Tashi Choling, Shingkhar gewog, Zhemgang district, is a one-storey temple built on a ridge that overlooks the village of Wamling. It is situated at an elevation of 1700m above sea level and it is opposite to Phu Lhakang. It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk from Phu Lhakang to Gaden Tashicholing temple.


The date and the builder of the temple is unknown. The villagers know the temple by the name Krinpola, but not the person and the year when it was built. According to the informant Angay Sigay Mo, she heard stories that a disciple of the Karmapa (head of Karma Kargyu) called Karma Chogay had established the monastery. The narrative is that when Karma Chogay went back to Tibet, and his teacher the Karmapa asked him the name of the place where he had practiced. Karma Chogay is believed to have said that he had practiced at Krinpola, then the Karmapa advised him to rename the place as Gaden Tashi Choling.

Angay Sigay Mo does not remember the year the temple was renovated, but she does recall requesting for assistance from the Home Ministry to renovate the temple. She also mentioned meeting a Home Minister from Bumthang, probably the then Home Minister Tamshing Jagar (because there are official letters from Lyonpo Jagar in the nearby temples). Taking into account the reference to the Home Minister, the temple was renovated roughly in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and the village community had helped in the renovation of the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is a one-storey traditional Bhutanese house built out of stones, wood and mud. The roof is CGI sheets and on the roof top is a golden victory banner (serthok). It is a one room temple with a small shrine, and in the shrine are statues of Padmasambhava (one is copper and the other is made of clay) and the walls are covered with paintings. A room that is adjacent to the temple is used as a storage and as a kitchen during the rituals.

The wall on the right that faces the shrine depicts Guru Tshengay (the 8 manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava) and two figures, one Nyingma teacher and the other a Kagyu teacher. The painting of a Nyingma teacher has two patrons at his sides, and they could be the founder of the monastery (usually in Buddhist paintings the founders are mostly depicted with their patrons). However, the local history and the painting seem to contradict each other because the oral history states that the founder of the temple was a disciple of Karmapa and Karmapa belongs to Kagyu tradition.

There is a painting of the Buddhas of the Three Times on the right side of the shrine. On the left is Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) in the centre with Green Tara and the lord of wealth (Namthoesay) at the bottom, a painting of Oepamey (Buddha Amitabha) and a white Chenrezig (Avalokteshvara with two arms) at the top.

The left side of the wall has paintings of the three protector deities painted in yellow on black back ground, which is normally seen in the goenkhang (the room of the protective deity). The three deities are Palden Lhamo Magzor Gyalmo (Shri Devi) as the central figure and two other figures at the bottom. On the bottom right, the figure looks like Tsen (local deity) riding a horse, the other one is unidentifiable. On the right wall is a painting of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and at the time of the visit the major part of the wall was under renovation.

Social and Cultural Functions

Gaden Tashi Choling conducts two annual rituals besides the daily offerings to the protector deities.

  • A Dechen Zhingdrup (Sukhavati practice) is held every year in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • A Kangso, an appeasement to the protective deities is held in the 8th month of the Bhutanese calendar.

In addition, small rituals and gatherings are often conducted at the temple depending on the need of the community. The gomchens (lay practitioners) and gelongs (monks) from Tsokiling Shedra (monastic school, belonging to Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche whose seat is at Lhodrakarchu, Bumthang) perform all the rituals at the temple.


Angay Sigay Mo, 86, Wamling


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

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)