Pawangla Ney


Pawangla Ney is located above the gewog centre in Lamtang village in Goshing gewog under Zhemgang district.  Lamtang is approximately 8km drive from Pantang on the Tingtibi-Pangbang highway (towards Lingmipong). It is about thirty-minute walk uphill from Goshing gewog centre to reach the main site. The closest heritage site of the ney is the Goshing Trong temple, which was built around 1913 on a 20 decimal land. The temple was built by the villagers through woola (voluntary labor contribution).


According to oral sources, Pawangla ney is believed to have existed since time immemorial. It was discovered and revealed as a ney by Lam Sangay from Goshing in the twentieth century. However, it was only in 2015 that Dowai Lama, follower of Peling Thuksey Rinpoche from Bumthang along with the group of high ranking officials from Zhemgang district administration recognized it as a sacred site.

According to a hundred-year old woman in the region, the ney is believed to have existed way back when people started settling in the region. The oral sources provide two accounts of how the ney came to be named. Firstly, the very name Pawangla ney is due to the presence of white striped bats known as pawang by the local people in the region.  The other possible significance of the ney is because of the presence of a local deity known as Manmo. The locals describe manmo as a nine-headed snake with a human body. The manmo is believed to have meditated inside the cave and have attained enlightenment. The oral accounts state another supposition of the presence of a lake and a dragon inside the cave, but the villagers have neither seen the lake nor encountered the dragon inside the cave.

The informants mentioned that two of the main deities (Dongdongbara Nagpo and Pawangla Singyerepa) reside at Goshing Trong lhakhang. When the temple was affected and damaged by heavy rainfall, the main deities Dongdongbara Nagpo and Pawangla Singyerepa moved to a different location. The female deity Pawangla Singyerepa was said to have moved to Pawangla and the male deity Dongdongbara Nagpo was believed to have moved to Dongdongbara located on the opposite mountain of the Pawangla ney. The locals describe that the male deity has a face that is half black and half white and also has horns, whereas the female deity is adorned with a tiara.

The community feared that the temple might lose its sanctity, so the community initiated the renovation and roofed the lhakhang, approximately 50 years ago. The fund for the renovation was made through personal contributions. Unfortunately, the major renovation could not be carried out because the rain had caused the roof to completely collapse and as a result, the main relic, the statue of Zhabdrung Rinpoche and other statues were buried inside the lhakhang.

The Sumthrang lama from Bumthang suggested the community not to shift the temple to a different location because 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 people believe that both the deities would return to Goshing Trong lhakhang once the renovation is completed.

According to local beliefs, the ney is considered to be very sacred. When there is an archery tournament, the village archers visit the ney and seek blessings before the archery tournament, and it is said that they usually win the tournament.

The importance of the ney is because of its landscape and unique topographical hallmark in the regions. The ney is situated on a steep mountain, and it is centrally situated and one can get a wonderful vista of the surrounding villages. Basically, from Pawangla ney, one can see Lamtang village on the left, Trong village on the right, Wangling at the back and Khawangbi in the front.

Geographical Description

Pawangla ney is located on a high mountainous landscape, and has a unique topography. The paths are steep and sloppy covered with sharp rocky edges.

Currently, there are no evidence of religious treasures discovered at the ney, but in the coming years, the locals are planning to explore it. There are possible accounts of ten more caves above the ground, which are said to be interconnected.

The main cave, Pawangla, has uncountable white striped bats deep inside the cave beyond the reach of human eyes, and the murmuring echoes of bats are heard from a distance in the cave. The white striped bats represent supernatural forms to the visitors and people say that they have never left the site. The bats do not affect the people and animals in the region, unlike other bats which are believed to cause desecration and bring bad luck to the people.

Dowai Lama, 48, from Lamtang village frequently meditates at the sacred site and the ney benefits the visitors to follow the path of truthfulness and live a life of prosperity and in harmony with nature.

The most sacred and significant site at the Pawangla ney is the Termapong chorten facing Wangling village and the locals believe it to have existed for more than a hundred years. Termapong chorten is considered significant because people believe that it has treasures that are undiscovered.

Currently, the ney is being looked after by Dowai lama, the Tshogpa and the gewog administration in Goshing community. The community is in the process of appointing a permanent caretaker for the ney once it is officially recognized by the central monk-body. Then it will be an important heritage site in the region.

Social and Cultural Functions

Currently, Dowai Lama recites prayers and makes offerings on auspicious days at the ney. However, in times of need, the village community initiates cleaning and maintenance of the sacred site. At present, some of the rituals organized at the ney are:

  • A Choetruel Dawa ritual is observed on the 10th day of the 1st month of the Bhutanese calendar. Dowai Lama meditates on this auspicious day to obtain merits for the community, to bring a successful harvest to the village, and to keep peace and prosperity in the community.
  • Lhabab Duechen is observed to mark the significance of the descending day of Lord Buddha on the 22nd day of the 9th month of the Bhutanese calendar. Dowai Lama recites prayers on this auspicious day for peace and prosperity in the region.


Zangpo, Tshogpa, Goshing gewog


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

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