Wamling Pong Lhakhang


Wamling Pong lhakhang (temple) is located on a ridge above Wamling village.  The temple is named Wamling Pong temple because of its location on a pong (hill in Kheng language). The temple sits at an elevation of 1600m, and it is 45 minutes’ walk up from the Shingkhar community feeder road. This temple is privately owned, and it subsists on donations from private individuals and families.

The temple is located east of Wamling and overlooks the paddy fields. An old mule track that leads up to the temple passes through the lower and upper Wamling village. This is the first temple on this mule track, and then comes five more temples namely Wamling Phu lhakhang, Gangdar Pong lhakhang, Gaden Tashicholing lhakhang, Tashi Thongmon lhakhang, and Tshokiling Shedra.

The Pong lhakhang is located next to a one-storey traditional house with a small vegetable garden. According to oral sources, Wamling village had only five households in the past, and today it has over 75 households. Paddy is the main crop of the village and it is cultivated once a year.


According to oral sources, the temple was established by lama Khampa Nungney from the small Wamtsas temple in Ura, Bumthang. The late Dasho Shingkhar Lam (1928-2014) from Ura, Bumthang was considered to be the reincarnation of lama Khampa Nungney.  It is believed that when this lama Khampa Nungney was visiting the village of Nimshong Phumeythang in Shingkhar gewog, Zhemgang, he saw a rainbow over the valley on the opposite side. The lama visited the site where the rainbow had arched over because he considered this to be a good omen. He then informed the people of the propitious sign and had asked the people of that village to build a temple. The temple came to be known as Wamling Pong lhakhang.

On the contrary, the thoyig (written record) maintained by the Department of Culture mentions that the rainbow was over the village of Nimshong and that the lama was in Wamling village.

The date of the construction of the temple is not recorded, but according to oral sources, it was built during the reign of the first Druk Gyalpo of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, which corresponds to early 20th century.

At one point, the temple used to be an important place of worship, and rituals for the good harvest was performed in the temple every year. Later it was decided that the community temple be moved to Wamling Phu lhakhang.

Architecture and Artwork

The one-storey temple is built in traditional Bhutanese architecture with wood, stone and mud.  The structure sits on raised stone walls held together with mud, and the internal structure is supported by two wooden beams. The temple has one large wooden door facing north and two traditional Bhutanese windows to the west. A small Mani dungkhor (prayer-wheel) is in the hallway at the entrance of the temple.

The temple has a serthok (golden pinnacle) on the roof, and just below the eaves there is a Kemar, a red band. The present owner’s parents had replaced the main beams inside the temple, and later the current owner replaced the shingles with CGI sheets.

On the right half of the wall facing the door are paintings of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) in the center with the 11th century yogi Milarepa on the right, and Marpa (Milarepa’s master) on the left. A little above are paintings of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Tshepamey (Amitayus, Bodhisattava of long life) and Oepamey (Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light).

On the other half of the wall are paintings of Khenlop Choesum (the Bodhisatava Zhiwatso, Guru Rinpoche, and Thrisong Deutsen, the king of Tibet who built the Samye monastery in Tibet) and two of Guru Rinpoche’s disciples in the corner. At the top, there are the Buddhas of the Three Times and Chana Dorji (Vajrapani). There are several paintings depicting the Tshering Namdru (Six Symbols of Longevity), the master Longchenpa, Jampelyang (Manjushri), and Dorji Sempa (Vajrasattva).

The main altar has statues of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) in the middle with Guru Rinpoche and Buddha at the sides. There are several smaller statues of Tshepamey (Amitayus) on the side of the main shrine. The temple follows the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Buddhism.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple served as a place for communal worship in the past, but now it has been moved to Wamling Phu temple. Nevertheless, the temple still organizes the following religious functions:

  • The Kanjur is recited every year during the 3rd and 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar. After the recitation, the Kanjur is taken round the village to bless the place and the people.
  • A Moenlam Chenmo (a prayer of good auspices) is performed for three days in the 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • Kagye Sadhana practice (Astamahasadhana) and other rituals are conducted to appease the local deity, Sumthrang Draktshen.
  • An important ritual which the locals call Thogi Rimdro is performed in the temple for good harvest in the 3rd month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is performed after the seeds are sown. According to the source, it is believed that the deities protect the fields from wild animals.

Gomchens (lay practitioners) and monks from Tshokiling Shedra perform the rituals in the temple. Tshokiling shedra belongs to Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche whose seat is at Bumthang Lhodrakarchu.


Ap Sangpola, Wamling village, Shingkhar gewog, Zhemgang district


Thoyig. (n.d). Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs.


Jigme Wangdi, Asst. Lecturer, College of Language Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017.

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