East Bhutan Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang

East Bhutan- Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang

Author: TG Contributor
Date: 2020-03-06

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Jangtsa Dumgtseg Lhakhang [zlum brtshegs lha khang] is a Buddhist temple in western Bhutan. The temple is famous as it is in the form of a chorten, very extraordinary in Bhutan. It is situated on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopchari valley, crossways the bridge from Paro. The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a rare repository of the Drukpa Kagyu school.


According to a local legend, the Lhakhang was build by the saint Thangtong Gyalpo to subdue a "serpentine force" that was placed at the foundation of the chorten. A different legend says that Lhakhang was built on the head of a demoness.[3] According to a Bhutanese source it was built "on the nose of a hill that looks like a frog in order to work against Sadag (earth-owning spirit) and Lunyen (powerful naga spirit). It is believed that the hill, by which the temple is built, is a black vicious snake moving downwards."


The Lhakhang is situated across the Paro Chhu River on the opposite bank of the Paro town where it forms a "geomantic promontory" linking the Paro Chhu and Do rivers. It is situated on the road to the National Museum of Bhutan in Paro.


The stupa-temple was build in 1421 (other sources say 1433) by an reputed Tibetan lama named Thangtong Gyalpo (1385–1464), also called as Chagzampa, who is remembered for his building of some eight iron bridges in Bhutan. The motive for building a temple in chorten form is because it is said to immobilize demons and proclaim the victory of Buddhism.

In 1841, the 25th Je Khenpo, Sherab Gyeltsen restored the temple with the aid of local villagers, thanking the donors by carving their names on tree trunks which form the columns of the ground floor.


The Lhakhang is conceived as a mandala, with different stories (three floors) equivalent to the different levels of initiation. The three floors are said to signify hell, earth, and heaven. It is in the shape of a chorten with a white tower on top, rare in Bhutan. The monastery contains many steep ladders to reach different levels. Lhakang contains a massive collection of Buddhist paintings and iconography, alleged to rival those of any Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The ground floors hold the Five Buddhas of Meditation and forms of Avalokiteshvara, Guru Rinpoche, and Thangton Gyelpo. On the second floor are depictions of Mahakala on the outer wall with hundred peaceful and wrathful deities and Bardo on the interior wall, the intermediary state between death and rebirth. On the third floor of Dungtse Lhakang are Tantric deities. Depicted on the outside wall are Guhyasamaja, Vajrabhairava, Cakrasamvara, Hevajra, Kalacakra, Vajravarahi, Hayagriva and Mahamaya. This is the five-deity mandala of the Shangpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Khyunpo Naljor. A well-known master of the Nyingma and Sakya schools, he was also a major contributor to the Shangpa Kagyu and his own line of teachings became known as the "Tong luk" or Tang Tong Gyalpo tradition of the Shangpa. Indoors walls are depictions of the 84 Indian saints and Tibetan saints like Marpa, Milarepa (which has a majestic looking statue dedicated to him) and Gampopa.

Bhutan Postal Corporation Ltd. has issued a philatelic first-day postcard of this Lakhang valued at Nu 10.

To the east of Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang there is a much older temple, known as the Jangtsa Palnang Lhakhang, which is held to be one of the 108 border taming [mtha' dul] temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo.

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