Ogyen Choling Lhakhang


Ogyen Choling lhakhang is located above Tsaldang and Nyakha village in Nangkor gewog, Zhemgang dzongkhag. It is approximately 56 kms from Zhemgang Dzong. It can be reached by a farm road from Buli village.

Ogyen Choling Lhakhang was a private temple that belonged to Lama Choni Lhendup. It is said that Lama Choni Lhendup’s mother, Mani Dema, requested the Gangteng Tulku to take over Ogyen Choling lhakhang, and even Lama Choni Lhendup who built the Lhakhang was worried too because the temple had many paintings, relics and statues. Therefore, when Lama Choni Lhendup passed away, the temple was offered to the 9th Gangteng (Gangtey) Tulku, Kunzang Rigdzin Pema Namgyal.


Ogyen Choling Lhakhang was built in 1968 and it has an area of over two acres of land that was once owned by the late Lama Choni Lhendup, who was known in the community as Memey (“grandfather”) Lama. The temple was named as Ogyen Choling by Memey Lama’s father who was a tantric practitioner. The main statue in the temple was that of Guru Rinpoche and both Lama Choni and his father believed that the temple was a secret abode of Ogyen Guru Rinpoche. Earlier in Tshaldang and Nyakhar villages there was no temple as big as Ogyen Choling. The villagers of Tshaldang and Nyakha funded and contributed labour for the construction. People say that villagers of Tshaldang village conducted their rituals in Ogyen Choling lhakhang until Lama Choni Lhendup built another temple in Tshaldang village in the 1970s.

The architectural design of Ogyen Choling lhakhang is said to have been brought from Gangteng lhakhang in Phobjikha valley, Wangdue district. The artist Lhatu who worked at Gangteng lhakhang gave the blue print of the Gangteng lhakhang to Lama Choni Lhendup, thus Ogyen Choling lhakhang was built in the same design as Ganteng lhakhang. The monastery started with a Gomde (Spiritual Community) and later established an undergraduate monastic institution with 16 monks. They follow and study Pema Lingpa tradition, popularly known as Peling tradition.

Today, Lama Tshampa Galeg is the lama of Ogyen Choling lhakhang and he is responsible for managing all cultural and social functions, and other rituals in the monastery.

The temple was never renovated, but another temple was built attached to the old temple in the 1980s to accommodate more monks and also to create a space for learning.

Architecture and Art works.

The temple is a two-storey square Bhutanese building. The ground floor of the old lhakhang functions as a kitchen and there is a room for the caretaker of the temple, and the caretaker is usually a monk.

The other temple, which was built the 1980s has a ground floor which multi-functions as a store and also as a place to offer butter lamps during the 1000 butter lamp offering prayers. Different masks are also hung on the walls in the store room.

The shrines are on the top (first) floor of the buildings. In the main altar of the old lhakhang, there are Choe Long Trulsum (Body, mind and speech) statues with Buddha Shakyamuni placed in the middle, Guru Rinpoche on the left and Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) on the right.

In the new temple, the altar has statues of Guru Rinpoche in the middle, Buddha Shakyamuni on the right, and Phurpa (Vajrakilaya) on the left. The other statues in the temple are Terton Pema Lingpa, Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The statues of Ekajati (protectress of teaching), Maza Damsum and the local deity Dralha Khorchung are in the Goenkhang (chapel of the Dharma protectors) on the left side of the altar. The Kanjur (108 volumes of Buddhas teaching) and Tenjur (commentaries on works of Buddha in 225 volumes) are placed on the right side of the altar. There is a small chorten in front of the altar that contains the bodily remains of Lama Choni Lhendup.

The wall paintings include the Eight manifestation of Guru Rinpoche, the Tungshag (thirty five confession Buddhas), the Tshelha Namsum (the three deities of longevity: Amitayus, White Tara and Namgyalma), the Lineage of the Buddha Amitayus, the paradise of Buddha Amitabha, the cycle of Sampa Lhendup (wish fulfilling deities), the Neten Chudrug (16 Arhats), the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Gyalchen zhi (four guardian kings), Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Guru Tsokhor Sum (Guru Rinpoche in the middle, Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal on the right and Khandro Mandarava on the left), the Zhithro Dampa Rigjai Lhatshog (42 peaceful and 58 wrathful deities of the Bardo) and a Buddha Amitayus mandala.

There is a chorten built adjacent to the temple as an antidote to suffering, diseases and famine. It is said that this chorten has got Rigsum Gonpo statues placed inside it (Chenrizig /Avaloketeshvara) in the middle, ( Jampelyang /Manjushri) on the right and (Chana Dorji /Vajrapani) on the left.

Social and Cultural Function

Many religious ceremonies, rituals and festivals are conducted at the lhakhang led by Lama Tshampa Galeg, the head of the local lay-practitioners (gomchens);

  • During the Yar Ngo (10thday of the Bhutanese calendar) and Mar Ngo (25th day of the Bhutanese calendar) of every month they perform the ritual called Tongchoe (1000 butter lamps offering), the Khandu Nyingthi (Homage to the dakini), Rigzin Duepa and rituals of the Lama Norbu Jamtsho (homage to the spiritual teacher) are conducted on a rotational basis.
  • Nyungne (Fasting and prayers) is conducted from the 8th-10th day of the 7thmonth of the Bhutanese calendar.
  • Tshechu (annual festival of masks dances) is organized between 7th-10thday of the 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar.


Leki Wangdi, monk, caretaker of Tshaldang lhakhang, Nangkor, Zhemgang.


Dorji Phuntsho, Assistant Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, 2018.

Pema Wangchuk, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, 2018.

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