Thrisa Gaden Choeling Lhakhang


Thrisa Gaden Choeling lhakhang is located in the south of Zhemgang town and it is approximately 132 Kms away from Zhemgang town, on the road to Shingkhar gewog. It is 45 minutes’ drive from the road junction of Thrisa and Shingkhar.

Thrisa Gaden Choeling lhakhang is the only community temple in Thrisa village, and it is located above the village, approximately 10 minutes’ walk up from the village. The temple is a two-storey traditional building surrounded by a few households. No one in the village seems have any idea why the temple is called Thrisa Gaden Choeling lhakhang.


No written record regarding the construction of the temple is available, nor do the local people have much idea about when it was built. However, the informant’s oral account states that the two-storey temple was constructed by forefathers of the village to carry out community rituals and festivals. He emphasized that the temple was built to serve the community from the time of its establishment.  Thought no written record exists, however, there is a statue that was donated by the the first King of Bhutan. Thus, it could be deduced that the temple was probably built in the early part of the 20th century.

According to the informant, in the year 1990, the villagers made monetary contribution to renovate the temple.  Thus, under Sonam Phuntsho’s (Ex people’s representative in the parliament) leadership, the temple’s timber and rafters were replaced and the temple was renovated successfully. Again, in the year 1998, with financial support from the community, the relics of the temple were restored, and in 2011, Drupthop Kuenzang Lhawang, a villager, initiated and sponsored the gold plating work on the statues.

At present, the caretaker is appointed from the villagers for a tenure of one to three years. His responsibility is to recite daily payers and 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 when rituals and festivals are conducted.

The main relics of the temple are Guru Tsho Khor Sum (Guru Rinpoche and his two consorts Mendarawa and Yeshey Tshogyel) and Guru Tshen Gye (Eight Manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava). There is also a statue of Chukchizhey (Avalokiteshvara with Eleven heads) donated by Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk, the 1st King of Bhutan, with an understanding that the villagers would conduct an annual week-long Nyungne (Meditation and fasting Practice).  A statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was donated by a monk named Tashi Dhendup with financial support from the villagers and civil servants from the village working in other parts of the country.

On the right side of the altar, there are wall paintings of Guru Padmasambhava, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and a host of wrathful deities. On the left side there is wall painting of a host of peaceful deities, thus, creating a set of Karling Zhi khro deities.

Social and Cultural Functions

Besides the daily prayers and offerings made by the caretaker, the community organizes its annual week-long Nyungne at the temple (Meditation and fasting Practice) in the 4th month of the Bhutanese calendar.

The community conducts its annual four-day festival (Mangi tshechu) from the 15th to the 18th of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. Lay-monks from Thrisa and other nearby villages perform the tshechu and the villagers make monetary contributions to sponsor the event. During that day, all the villagers gather in the temple and get blessings from the relics to dispel illnesses and to bestow the community with peace and happiness.

Another tradition that is practiced in the village is called Choekhor, whereby the villagers carry a full set of Buddhist scriptures and go around the village to bless the place with a good harvest of maize. This is organized in the 3rd month of the Bhutanese calendar.


Sonam Phuntsho, 65, 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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