Mochu Phuntsho Dargayling Lhakhang


Mochu Phuntsho Dargayling Lhakhang (Wylie. mo chu phun tshogs dergyas gling lha khang. Dzongkha. མོ་ཆུ་ཕུན་ཚོགས་དར་རྒྱས་གླིང་ལྷ་ཁང་) is a community temple (Wylie. dmangs kyi kyi lha khang, Dzongkha. དམངས་ཀྱི་ལྷ་ཁང་), located in Mochu village under Sangbay Gewog in Haa. To reach the temple, one has to travel from Haa Dzongkhag Administration for about 55 km towards Sambey-Gakling tri-junction. From this tri-junction, one has to take the left road until one reaches a junction after crossing the bailey suspension bridge. The left road leads to Gakiling Dungkhag and the right to Mochu village. A drive of about 7km through the right road takes one to the Mochu village. The temple is at a walkable distance from the village.

Above the area where the temple is located, there is a lake called Baytsho, the hidden lake and the seat of  the local deity. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche hid several treasures in the lake. It is believed that Tertoen Sherab Mebar in the 15th century (locals call him Pangbi Lam) visited Baytsho to discover treasures. Beytsho is linked to Rangtse Ney in lower Haa and Pangbisa in Paro.


The construction work of the temple began in 1980 corresponding to the Iron Monkey year and was completed in 1982 corresponding to the Water Dog year. The need for a temple was realized when Gem Tshering[1] observed that the villagers did not  have a temple to conduct proper rituals or offerings. Gem Tshering then consulted with the villagers to assist him in constructing a temple in the village. The villagers fully supported his initiative and also appointed Tshering Norbu as the main carpenter for the construction of the temple. The villagers provided voluntary labor services as well as monetary contributions. The collective efforts of the villagers (Wylie. phun sum tshogs. Dzongkha. ཕུན་སུམ་ཚོགས) and with the aspiration for the flourishment of Buddhism in the village (Wylie. dar zhing rgyas pa’i gling. Dzongkha. དར་ཞིང་རྒྱས་པའི་གླིང་), Gem Tshering decided to name the temple Phuntsho Dargayling (Lam Tshering Nidup,  personal communication, December 23, 2021). The statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Amitayus, and Avalokitesvara were installed in the temple. Ap Penjor, 72 years old now, served as the temple caretaker and took care of the temple till 2007. From 1982 to 2007, the temple was managed privately by the family of Ap Penjor. After Ap Penjor retired, the temple was handed over to the villagers.

In 2008, the temple was damaged by an earthquake. For the reconstruction of the temple, the Gewog administration and the government released funds amounting to almost 1.5 million ngultrums. The reconstruction works began in 2013 and within a year, the temple was brought to its previous glory. In 2014, through collective contributions of the villagers living within and outside the village, a sertog or golden pinnacle (Wylie. gser tog. Dzongkha. གསེར་ཏོག) was donated and installed on the newly reconstructed temple. This donation was to commemorate the birth anniversary of the Fourth King and the 70th Je Khenpo of Bhutan. The old sertog was small and was installed on the butter-lamp-house after the newly donated pinnacle was installed on the temple (Penjor, personal communication, December 16, 2021).

In 2020, the temple received a generous donation of  statues of Guru Tshokhor Sum – Guru Rinpoche, Khando Yeshe Tsogyal, and Khando Mandarava, Chagtong Chentong – Avalokitesvara with thousand hands and eyes, and Guru Tongku – one thousand one hundred eleven statues of Guru. The donation was made by a committee chaired by Dasho Tshering Tobgay, the former Prime Minister of Bhutan, and also by the government.

Until 2020, the temple was entirely managed by the temple caretakers and the villagers. The villagers requested the Monastic Body to assign a lam to the temple. The current abbot, Lam Tshering Nidup was appointed as the first abbot of the temple by the Monastic Body.

Architectural Style

The temple is a two-storied traditional structure built with stone, wood and cement with CGI roofing. In the surrounding of the temple, there is a stupa, a butter-lamp-house, and a kitchen. The ground floor of the temple is used for preparing sacrificial cakes during rituals, and sometimes it is also used as a guestroom for the temple lam. On the first floor, except for the wall which has the main altar, the rest of the walls has shelves that contain the one thousand one hundred and eleven small statues of Guru Rinpoche which were donated in 2020. On the main altar, the main statues of Guru Tsokhor Sum (Wylie. gu ru gtso ‘khor gsum, Dzongkha. གུ་རུ་གཙོ་འཁོར་གསུམ) i.e. Guru Rinpoche in the central, Khando Mandarava on the right and Khando Yeshe Tsogyal on the left are placed. On the right side of Guru Tsokhor Sum, there are small statues of Guru Rinpoche, Amitayus, and Singhamukha and on the left, there are small statues of Buddha, Avalokitesvara, Guru Dorje Drolo, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. There is a small concealed shrine that houses the local diety, Baytsho Mentsho (Wylie. sbas mtsho sman mtsho, Dzongkha. སྦས་མཚོ་སྨན་མཚོ). There is a set of Kangyur – the translated words of the Buddha.

Social and Cultural Functions

Mochu Phuntsho Dargayling Lhakhang celebrates religious events as follows:

  • On the 8th , 9th and 10th days of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar; there is a commemorative prayer service dedicated to Chenrizig, Tshapamey and Phub which are sponsored by the villagers.
  • On the 10th day of the third month of the Bhutanese Calender coinciding with the Zhabdrung Kuchoe, there is a commemorative prayer service sponsored by the villagers.
  • On the 15th day of the fourth month of the Bhutanese calendar coinciding with the Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana, there is a commemorative prayer service sponsored by the villagers
  • On the 10th day of the fifth month of the Bhutanese calendar coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, there is a Trelda Tsechu sponsored by the villagers.
  • On the 4th day of the sixth month of the Bhutanese calendar coinciding with the First Sermon of Lord Buddha, there is a Drubchen ceremony sponsored by the villagers.
  • On the 27th day of the ninth month of the Bhutanese calendar coinciding with the Descending Day of Lord Buddha, there is a commemorative prayer service sponsored by the villagers.


Ap Penjor, former temple caretaker, Mochu village

Tshering Nidup, Current Lama, Sambaykha, Gewog

Lam Trakii, former Lam Neten, Haa Dzongkhag

Ugyen Namgay, Honorable Member (Haa district), National Council of Bhutan


Sherub Tenzin, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, 2021

[1] The main person who coordinated the construction of the temple