Rawathang Lhakhang


Rawathang lhakhang is located in the south of Zhemgang town and is approximately 120 kms away from Zhemgang town, on the road to Bardo gewog. It is 45 minutes’ drive from the road junction of Bardo and Shingkhar.

Rawathang lhakhang (Temple) is a community lhakhang located at the top of Bardo village. It is approximately 15 minutes’ drive from the village. The place is serene without a single household in sight, and it is surrounded by a beautiful forest. When asked, no one in the village seems to know why the temple is called Rawathang lhakhang.


According to the oral source, a Buddhist practitioner named Lama Kuenzang Wangdi built the one-storey temple; unfortunately, no one knows the date of the construction. After Lama Kunzang Wangdi’s demise, his descendants inherited the temple, but the last descendant Ap Bachola could not carry out even the basic maintenance and renovation because of his unstable financial situation. Therefore, he handed over the temple to the community with the hope that the temple would not only benefit the community, but that the community would also manage the everyday running of the temple and take care of its maintenance work.

The informant said that in the early 2000, with prior permission from the Zhung Dratshang (Central Monastic Body), the temple got a major revamp under Sonam Phuntsho’s leadership (Ex people’s representative in the parliament), and the villagers made the monetary contributions for the renovation. The renovation involved reconstructing the temple into a two-storey traditional building to create enough space to conduct community festivals and rituals.

In the same year, the Royal Government of Bhutan bestowed a financial aid of Nu. 400,000 and the villagers made an additional financial contribution to restore the paintings in the temple. Again, Sonam Phuntsho coordinated and oversaw the restoration of murals in the temple.

At present, the temple is looked after by a caretaker, who is appointed from the villagers for a period of 1-3 years. His sole responsibility is to recite daily payers and also to help the villagers to conduct various rituals and festivals in the temple.

Architecture and Artwork

The temple is a two-storey traditional Bhutanese building. The main altar is on the first floor that consists of only one room and the ground floor is used as storage.

The main relics of the temple are Guru Tsho Khor Sum (Guru- Rinpoche and his two consorts Mendarawa and Yeshey Tshogyel), Drol-Jang (Green Tara), and Chenrizig (Avalokiteshvara). There is also a Buddha statue, which was donated by Leki Dawa, one of the villagers working in the Armed Forces.

On the right side of the altar, there are wall paintings of Guru Tshen Gye (Eight Manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava) and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. On the left side, the wall painting consists of Chenrizig Kukhor.

Social and Cultural Functions

The caretaker recites the daily prayer for the well being of the villagers. Apart from the daily prayer, as part of community annual program they organize a week long Nyungne (Meditation and fasting Practice) in the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar. The community also organizes a 5-day yearly community festival (mangi tshechu), which is performed by lay-practitioners from Bardo village and nearby villages. This rimdro is conducted in the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar and the villagers make the monetary collection to organize such event. On that day, all the villagers gather in the temple and get blessings from the relics and the local deity to dispel illnesses from their families, and to bring peace and happiness in the community.

The community worships the local guardian deity called Gonpo Maning, a specific form of Mahakala with full devotion and loyalty. Villagers worship him with so much devotion, and when they face problems, challenges, or illnesses they go to the temple to seek his support and his blessings.



Sonam Phuntsho, 67, ex-Chimi (ex-people representative)


Chencho Tshering, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2018  

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