Thendrel Choeling Monastery/Thanglajong Lhakhang


Thanglajong Lhakhang is community-owned temple located at Thanglajong village, Trong gewog (block), Zhemgang district, which is at an elevation of 964 m. The turnoff to Thanglajong is approximately 6 km from Community Police Centre, Tingtibi on the Tingtibi – Panbang highway, with a further 3 km of feeder road. It is a one-story temple built in traditional Bhutanese architecture, with a pinnacle atop the building.


According to informants, the name Thanglajong refers to the plane area (thang refers to the plane, jong refers to place), the place was named Thanglajong because the landscape of the place is planer compared to Zhurphel, which is located approximately around 3kms above the Thanglajong community.

The local history states that, in olden times, at Thanlajong, there resides a khylp (taxpayer) of Zhurphel which later expanded to multiple householders. Gradually, when the household number got raised in Thanglajong, the community proposed for the need of Lhakhang at Thanglajong to the Trong Gup (blockhead), Rinchen (2002-2004), to overcome distance and hardship visiting other nearby Lhakhang. Tanglajong Lhakhang was built in 2008, under the sponsorship of Royal Government of Bhutan, though the proposal, budgeting, and other paperwork was done by Gup Rinchen, the construction of the Lhakhang was carried out in 2005 by Dorji Wangchuck, who was the Trong gup (blockhead) after Rinchen got retired from the blockhead post in 2004.

The temple was built to fulfill the need of the Thanglajong community to make worships, offerings and to perform rituals for the benefit and good fortune of the community, as they do not owe a temple in their community. In olden times, before the construction of the temple, householders of Thanglajong has to visit Zhurphel Lhakhang for performing rituals, offerings and other religious activities.

In 2015, the community and Khenpo Rela Wangchuk, from Tseldang, Zhemgang initiated the construction of an inner chapel (mgon khang) of Gyenlhatsen (pholha; a male guardian deity) in the temple. It is believed that the population of men is more in Tsanglajong compared to Zhurphel, because of the presence of Gyenlatsen being a male guardian deity, and population of women is more in Zhurphel because guardian deity of Zhurphel community is Menma (female guardian deity.)

Architecture and Artwork

The one-storied temple was built in traditional Bhutanese design with stone, mud, and woodwork, and is used for performing rituals and offering. The main relic or the statue of the temple is chos longs sprul gsum (Padmasambhava, Avalokiteshvara and Buddha Shakaymmuni), other statue includes the founder of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to the left of main statue and Vajarapani to the right.

The wall paintings of the temple include an eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara with a thousand eyes and arms (Chugchizhey Chagton Chentong) to right of the entrance and the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche to the left. The cycle of Zhitro Lhatshog (the hundred peaceful and wrathful deities) is painted at the entrance wall of the inner chapel.

Social and Cultural Functions

The temple is used as a place of religious activities for the community. The community coordinates; a fasting practice called Nyungne in the first Bhutanese lunar month, a monthly ritual (tse chu) on 10th day of the month, Tsogsbum once in a year which is coordinated mostly by Khenpo Rela Wangchuk, and other rituals like death anniversary of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (Zhabdrung Kuchoe) in the third Bhutanese lunar month, Descending day of Lord Buddha in ninth month of the Bhutanese calendar are also performed.

Pema Tshering, caretaker and Priest of Thanglajong Lhakhang
Tshering Wangchuk, villager and community elder, Zurphel, Trong, Zhemgang

Researcher & Photographer
Kinzang Dorji, Asst. Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, RUB, 2018

(Click on the Thumbnails to view the Photo Gallery)