Rangtse Tashiling Goenpa


Rangtse/Rongtse Tashicholing Lhakhang  (Wylie. rang rtse bkris chos gling lha khang, Tibetan. རང་རྩེ་བཀྲིས་ཆོས་གླིང་ལྷ་ཁང་) is situated at the top of the sacred Rangtse Ney (Wylie. rang rtse gnas, Tibetan. རང་རྩེ་གནས) in Rangtse village, Gakiling Gewog under Haa Dzongkhag. The name reflects the meaning of “the temple situated on the place of auspicious [sacred] Rangtse [sites].” According to Wangchuk (2016), the oral accounts mention that the Range village is situated at the top of the Rangtse Ney, hence the village derived its name from the sacred site. Mindu (personal communication, December 10, 2021) mentions that the temple is located in the village, and the villagers called it Rangtse or sometime Rongtse Lhakhang. To reach the temple, one has to travel from Haa Dzongkhag Administration for about 55 km towards the Sangbey-Gakiling tri-junction. From the tri-junction, one has to take the left road and after a few kilometres drive, there is a bailey suspension bridge. One has to cross the bridge and drive towards the junction of Rangtse Ney on the left side and Rangtse village on the right side It is 15 km drive from here to reach the village. One has to then walk for about 10-15 minutes upward to reach the temple.

Khandu (2021) states that Gakiling gewog has 77 households and four chiwogs (sub-block) with a population of barely 1937 people. Until 2008, it used to be under Samtse dzongkhag but later it was transferred as a separate gewog to Haa dzongkhag.


According to Mindu (personal communication, December 10, 2021), the temple was constructed in 1996 by one Agay Damchoe. The villagers felt the need for a temple to organize commemorative services on auspicious days in the Bhutanese calendar. The villagers made both monetary and labour contributions to the construction of the temple.

The local deity of the village is known as Baytsho (Wylie.sbas mtsho. Tibetan. སྦས་མཚོ). Until 1996, the villagers experienced poor harvest, bad climate and unexpected deaths of domestic animals. After the temple was constructed, these misfortunes declined (Mindu, personal communication, December 10, 2021).

The temple was destroyed by the earthquakes in 2009 and 2011. In 2017-18, the villagers carried out minor renovation works after they received funds from the Monastic Body and also from the villagers (Mindu, personal communication, December 10, 2021).

There is a possibility that the visitors can be misguided  as Rangtse Tashicholing Lhakhang is  also  the  name of  another temple located near the Gewog office, on the way to the former.  In the early 2000s, Her Royal Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck visited Gakiling gewog and commanded the Monastic Body to construct a temple for the wellbeing of the village people. The Monastic Body provided funds for the construction of the one-storied temple which was also called the Tashicholing Lhakhang. The temple construction work began in 2011 and was completed in 2015. It was consecrated by the then Tshugla Lopen Samten Dorji.

Hence, there are two Tashicholing temples in Rangtse village, one constructed in 1996 and another in 2011.


Architectural Style

The temple originally built in 1996 is a two-storied structure. The ground floor is used to accommodate devotees during the incantation of prayers, and also as a guest room for the devotees. The first floor houses the main altar and relics. As one enters the first floor, on the main altar, one can see the statues of Rigsum Goenpo (Wylie. rigs gsum mgon po. Tibetan. རིགས་གསུམ་མགོན་པོ) also considered as The Protectors of the Three Families, which comprises Manjushri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani. There are smaller statues of Avalokitesvara, Guru Rinpoche, Buddha and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on the altar. On the left side of the altar, there is a statue of the local deity, Baytsho Kathrap.

In a clockwise manner, one can see thangkas of Milarepa, Three Deities of Longevity – Amitayus, White Tara and Vijaya, Twelve Deeds of Lord Buddha, Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Hevajra and other wrathful deities, Vajradhara, Zhabdrung Phunsum Tshogpa, White Tara, Vajrasattava Yab Yum, Tsheringma, Manjushri and Zambala.

A former Dzongda of Samtse Dzongkhag had donated sets of Kanjur – translated words of Buddha (108 volumes), Tenjur – the complete collection of the Buddhist commentarial tradition and Bum – the extensive Prajnaparamita in a hundred thousand verses to the temple.

Below the temple, there is a newly constructed kitchen which is used during commemorative services in the temple.

 Social and Cultural Activities

The temple doesn’t have specific activities. However, if there are people who would be willing to sponsor a ritual, then on every 10th day of the lunar month, on the 4th day of the sixth month coinciding with the First Sermon of Lord Buddha, and on the 22nd day of the ninth month coinciding with the Descending Day of Lord Buddha, the temple organizes commemorative services.



Ap Mindu, villager, Rangtse village



Ngawang Gyeltshen, Associate Lecturer, College of Language and Culture Studies, Taktse, Trongsa



Dzongkhag Administration Haa (2022, January 1). Draft Dzongkhag Disaster

Management and Contingency Plan. Dzongkhag Administration HAA 2017 – Department of Disaster Management. Retrieved from


Khandu, R. (2021). A guide to sacred site of Guru Rinpoche: Rongtse ney. Thimphu:

United Printing Press.

Wangchuk, P. L. (2016). gnas yig kun phan lam ston. Thimphu: Division for Cultural

Properties, Department of Culture.