Religion: The National Housing Development Corporation is building a community lhakhang in the vicinity of the Changjiji housing complex and residents said there is already a community bonding happening.

Construction started in November last year, and some residents are contributing labour while some are planning tokha (free lunch) for the workers. This is because the community feels that a lhakhang would bring a lot of changes and harmony to the community. The community suggested the housing corporation to build one.

A vegetable vendor at Changjiji vegetable market, Kuenzang Wangmo, 55, said the lhakhang would save the trouble for elderly residents of having to walk to other places of worship. She said some visit the chorten near the expressway, which was not safe, as they have to cross the busy expressway. “A friend of mine was injured while crossing the road,” she said.

The construction is also expected to benefit youth, as it will create some temporary jobs. Sonam Tashi, 19, Royal Thimphu College student said he would love to work at the site if the corporation allowed him.

The biggest benefit, residents said would be having a place nearby to perform rituals and other religious ceremonies. “We will have a place to conduct teachings as well as a worship centre,” said Kuenzang, another resident. “An appointed lam would benefit the residents as getting choeps (monks) are difficult.”

The construction is still in its initial stage and Aum Pema wishes to contribute a meal to the workers. She added that even though she is old and can’t contribute labor, she will still put her effort to do something even if it’s carrying a single stone.

NHDCL chief executive officer Ugyen Chewang said that the community lhakhang is expected to serve as a place for receiving blessing, teaching and conduct other religious programmes. “The lhakhang can also be used for activities that promote peace, harmony and social cohesion in the community,” he said.

The Lhakhang, financed by the government, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

By Tshering Dema