Ogyen Thekchen Choeling / Zangdopelri Lhakhang


Ogyen Thekchen Choeling, popularly known as Zangdopelri lhakhang, is in Depu village in Trong gewog under Zhemgang district. Depu is located on a farm road that leads to Tagabe village from Tingtibi, a small town which is approximately 30 km from Zhemgang towards Gelephu.


Prior to the construction of the present temple, Ogyen Thekchen Choling was built on a 45 decimal land and it operated as a shedra (monastic school). The 9th Gangtey Trulku Kunzang Pema Namgyal Rinpoche initiated the renovation and contributed fund to rebuild the temple. The renovation started on 11th November 2012. Sonam Phuntsho, a prominent businessman from the Tama Dung lineage in Trong Gewog also made a generous contribution towards the reconstruction of the temple. Gangtey Trulku renamed the newly built temple as Zangdopelri lhakhang, and the temple is looked after by the Gangtey monastery in Wangdi Phrodrang.

The new temple also serves as a dratshang (monastery) to serve the community, and the relics from the old temple were reinstalled in the new temple. The main relics include the statues of Guru Pema Jungney, Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara, the deity of Compassion), and Oepamay (Amitabha).

Beside the temple, there are small concrete houses: one is occupied by the Khenpo who is the head of the temple, and the rest are for pilgrims and visitors whenever there are religious ceremonies in the lhakhang. Adjacent to the khenpo’s cottage, there are small houses for monks who help the Khenpo and look after the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The old Ogyen Thekchen Choling lhakhang which was built in the traditional design with mud, stones and timber forty years ago was dismantled, and in its place a four-storey temple was constructed using both modern and traditional design. The main altar is on the first floor and the fourth floor is a Lungta phrodrang. A small room containing a prayer wheel is attached to the temple.

The first floor of the monastery houses the statue of Lama, Yidam and Khando: Guru Rinpoche in the center, Khadro Dorji Phagmo on the left, and Tandin on the right respectively. The second floor houses Chenrezi Munsel Dolma (Avalokiteshvara), the deity of compassion, and the principal deity Oepamey (Amitabha) is on the third floor.

The temple has a large courtyard where the religious activities and festivals are performed, and the villagers also use the space to chant prayers in the evening.

Social and Cultural Functions

The community organizes tshechu, performs rituals, chants prayers, and makes offerings on auspicious days to gain merits, to have a successful harvest, and to keep peace and prosperity in the community. The village community sponsors smaller religious and cultural activities, but the big events are always supported by Gangtey Trulku. The Khenpo and the monks perform funeral rites and other rituals in the temple. Some of the rituals that are organized at the temple are:

  • A ritual on Duechen Ngazom (Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana) is conducted on the 15th day of the 4th Bhutanese month
  • A ritual on Zhabdrung Kuchoe (the death anniversary of Zhabdrung Rinpoche) is performed on the 10th day of the 3rd Bhutanese month. This ritual was conducted ever since the establishment of the temple


Khenpo Tshering Wangdi, Principal, Zangdopelri lhakhang


Alok Subba, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2017

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