Goshing Trong Lhakhang


Goshing Trong lhakhang is in Lamtang village in Goshing gewog under Zhemgang district. Lamtang is approximately 8km drive from Pantang on the Tingtibi-Pangbang highway (towards Lingmipong). Pantang is located on the highway towards Pangbang and is accessible by all the villages under Phangkhar gewog. Pantang has commercial shops, gewog office, primary school, agriculture extension office, veterinary clinic and a Basic Health Unit.


According to oral sources, Goshing Trong lhakhang is built on a 20 decimal land and the community constructed the temple through woolah (voluntarily labor contribution). There is no record of its foundation; however, the oral source said that it was constructed roughly around 1913. Now, the temple is listed under Zhung Dratshang (central monastic body) and is looked after by the community.

The informant said that firstly, the lhakhang was believed to have been constructed to counter the increasing number of shamanistic and animistic beliefs among the villagers, which hampered the teaching of Buddhism in the region. Secondly, it was built as a protection against leprosy, a disease that affected many villagers. Thirdly, the temple was also constructed with the hope to provide psychological well-being to the villagers.

The oral source also mentioned that there is a sacred place popularly known as Pawangla Ney, which is 2km away from the lhakhang, and this ney attracts visitors from different places. Pawangla ney is believed to have existed since time immemorial; only later it was discovered and revealed as a ney by Lam Sangay from Goshing.

The importance of Goshing Trong lhakhang is because of it being a center point for the four gewogs of Phangkhar, Goshing, Nangla and Jokha. The lhakhang serves as a place to conduct all social and other cultural functions for the nearby communities.  The main relic of the lhakhang is a statue of Zhabdrung Rinpoche made of sandal wood.

The community personal contributions and initiated the roof renovation of the lhakhang about 50 years ago. Unfortunately, the major renovation could not be carried out because the rain had completely damaged the roof and as a result the main relic, Zhabdrung Rinpoche and other statues were buried inside the lhakhang.  Sumthrang Rinpoche from Bumthang was believed to have suggested the community not to renovate the lhakhang completely, or shift it to a different location because the renovation would affect the sacredness of the lhakhang and then people would suffer from various illnesses. It was also said that the temple would lose the main relics which were buried inside the lhakhang.

The caretaker of the lhakhang is chosen through open competition by the villagers and it is based on the performance of three consecutive years of the caretaker. The present caretaker has served for 14 years.

Architecture and Artwork

Goshing Trong lhakhang is a one-storey traditional building with two rooms. It is made of mud, stones and wood, which were contributed by the community. The main room serves as an altar that contains the main relic and the religious ceremonies are conducted in the other room.

The statues in the main altar are Sangay Toenpa (the historical Buddha) in the middle, Zhabdrung Rinpoche on the right, and Tshepamey (Amitayus) on the left. There is a small prayer wheel at the main entrance of the temple. There are wall paintings of Guru Tshengye (Eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche) on the left, Zhabdrung Phuensum Tshogpa on the right wall, and the painting of Sipai Khorlo (Wheel of Life) at the front.

The community also built a two-storey prayer hall below the main temple five years ago. The new building is built in modern design and it is used for religious ceremonies. Inside the new building, there are collections of different masks related to different religious ceremonies. The complex also has three guest rooms built in the traditional design for the visitors. The guesthouse is managed by the community and every household of Goshing gewog volunteers to look after the welfare of the visitors. The caretaker of the lhakhang and the caretaker of the guest house change every three years.

The temple also has a large courtyard in front of the main building where the religious activities and festivals are performed, and the villager also use the space to chant prayers.

Lam Neten of Panbang presides over the religious ceremonies from the top floor of the new building, which overlooks the courtyard of the main lhakhang.

Social and Cultural Functions

The community organizes tshechu, rituals, funeral ceremonies, prayers, and 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 the different social and cultural activities at the temple. The caretaker invites monks from Panbang and Shimpling Dratshang under Panbang Zhung Dratshang to perform funeral rites and other rituals in the temple. Some of the rituals that are organized at the temple are:

  • A Choetruel Dawa ritual is observed on the 10th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • Reading Choebum (religious texts) is held from the 10th to the 15th day of the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar every year. Every household in the community has to contribute Nu. 300 for the special occasion. This practice of reading Choebum and monetary contribution was there for a very long time.
  • Tshechu is performed to mark the significance of the Buddhist practices from the 13th to the15th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. The community and the villagers from nearby villages sponsor the event and they come to the temple to witness the Tshechu also. The families of the civil servants contribute Nu. 1000 and the villagers make a mandatory contribution of Nu. 300 to organize the tshechu.


Gomchen Norbu Jamtsho, caretaker


Alok Subba, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa, Royal University of Bhutan, 2018

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