Wamling Phu Lhakhang


Wamling village is located about 3 hours’ drive from Buli village, and it is connected by a newly paved road that goes through a dense forest. The village is nestled on a beautiful gradual slope at an elevation of 1700m, and down below the road flows the Chamkhar chhu that converges with the Mangde Chhu downstream in Phangkhar. Wamling gewog has many religious places and Wamling Phu lhakhang is one of them. Wamling Phu lhakhang is attached to a traditional house and it is a 30-minute steep climb from the road after Wamling Pong lhakhang.

Wamling Phu lhakhang is a privately owned temple, however the Department of Culture has recorded this temple as Wamling miser mang gi gonpai lhakang (temple of the community). It is not exactly a community lhakhang per se, but the community does hold rituals and social gatherings in the temple, and the locals popularly call this temple as Phu lhakang (Phu in local language is mountain where gonpas and retreats are built).


The date of the temples’ establishment is unknown; however, the oral sources say that the temple was probably established by Lopen Dawa Tshedrup (slob pon zla ba tshe grub).

Aum Gyembo Zangmo, the present owner of the temple recalls her grand parents’ narrative about lopon Dawa Tshedrup. He got the name Tshedrup because he was an accomplished practitioner of the deities of longevity (tshe lha). The story says that while lopon Dawa Tshedrup was meditating, the local deity Tsen (btsan) would visit him in the form of a python, the python would not leave lopon Tshedrup’s side until the lopon blessed the python by touching its head. This is how the locals remember Lopon Dawa Tshedrup’s accomplishment of his practices and his meditative power.

At one point, an unknown lama was the caretaker of the temple before it passed down to Aum Gyembo’s grandfather Meme Lepo, probably in the 1960s. Her grandfather bequeathed the temple to her mother, and later she inherited the temple from her mother. Locals believe that initially the current temple might have started as a small meditation place with gomchens (lay practitioners) practicing with Lopen Dawa Tshedrup. Later the temple was extended to what it is today. There are two chortens (stupas) in front of the temple. One is believed to be the kudung chorten of Lopen Dawa Tshedrup, where his holy remains are embalmed, and attached to the temple is a kitchen and the owners’ house.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is a two-storey traditional Bhutanese house, the lower part of the house is built of stone and mud, and the upper part is entirely structured out of wood. It looks like a conventional house from the outside. There are three rooms on the upper floor, which are used as a kitchen, a torkhang (a room where sacrificial cakes, torma, are prepared), and the main shrine room.

In the main shrine, there is a statue of Chenrezig (11-faced Avalokteshvara), which was a gifted by the first king to start a Nungney (fasting and prayer ritual). It is the main nangten or the main relic of the temple. Besides, there are also a foot-high statues of Buddha, Green Tara (Droljang), Namgyalma (Uşņīşavijayā), and a Dorji Sempa (Vajrasattva) in the altar. In addition, there are also small statues of Guru Pema Jungney, the great saint Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), and a deity of longevity, probably all three inches tall.

On the left side of the shrine, there is a wooden box which holds a Lhasa printed set of the Prajnaparamita in 100.000 verses (Bum) and other holy scriptures. It is believed that the Bum text has recited miraculously to Lopen Tshedrup. Lopen Dawa Tshedrup’s Usha (his hat) and Choegho (his robe) are also preserved as sacred relics. The whole wall on the right side has a new painting of Kagyue Serthreng, the lineage of Kagyue masters with Dorji Chang (Vajradhara) as the central figure. And on the the right hand side of the shrine wall is a painting of Tshering Namdru, the six symbols of longevity.

The wooden structure and the paintings inside the temple were damaged by the rain, so the beams were replaced about ten years ago and the new paintings were brought from Thimphu to replace the damaged paintings.

Social and Cultural Functions

Earlier, a Choekhor was conducted once a year to bless the village and the people, but the practice has stopped now.

The temple conducts rituals depending on the need of the people, for both sick and deceased people of the community.

A Bum recitation is conducted every 1st or the 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar.

A Dechen Zhingdrup (Sukhavati practice) is organized annually depending on the availability of monks, fund, and support from the villagers. It is conducted either on the 10th or the 15th for three days in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar.

In addition, Yarngo and Marngo, a practice in dedication to the triple gem and sentient beings are also held monthly. However, these rituals and practices cannot be performed at times due to financial and manpower shortages.

The rituals are organized and coordinated by Aum Gyambo’s family with minimal support from the villagers. The gomchens of the village and monks from Tsokiling shedra perform the rituals on the organizers’ request. Tsokiling shedra has more than thirty monks and khenpos, and it belongs to Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche whose seat is at Bumthang Lhodrakarchu.


Aum Gyembo, 52, Wamling

Meme Thinley Gyeltsen, 78, Wamling


bzhal rdzong cha ’dus shing mkhar rged ’og wam gling mi ser dmang gi dgon pa’I lha khang du rten gsum dngos spyd sogs je ltar bzhugs pa’I khra deb (n.d.) Bhutan: Department of Culture.


Sonam Nyenda, Associate Lecturer, College of Language Cultural Studies, Taktse Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.

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