Neten Dorji | Trashigang

Residents of about 37 households in Bratsa village in Toedtsho gewog, Trashiyangtse are using the outreach clinic (ORC) in the village to conduct their monthly rituals and perform funeral rites.

Without a lhakhang in the village, villagers request health officials to conduct rituals in the ORC, about few kilometres away from the village. It is not always they get the permission to use the ORC.

A villager, Dorji Gyetshen said it has been more than five years since they requested for a lhakhang. Villagers have identified a place to construct a lhakhang and has even received the Landowner certificate from the Land commission of Bhutan.

The ORC, villagers said, is small and do not have enough space for monks to perform ritual and prayers. “During auspicious days, we have to travel long distances to pay our offerings,” said a villager, Norbu Choezom. “We have raised issues in the gewog level meetings and during high official visits.”

The village conducts three community rituals in a year. “If we don’t perform rituals on time, the disease and unusual things occur to villages,” said Norbu Choezom.

Villagers claim that except for the Braktsha village all other villages in the gewog have community lhakhangs.

Sertsho Bratsa Tshogpa, Tharchen Yoezer said villagers raised the issue to him and the gewog several times.  “We discussed the need of a lhakhang in every gewog meeting. The need  is very genuine, people always put up the issue during the meetings,” he said.

Toedtho gup Dechen Wangdi said that the gewog administration is well aware of the issue and they are waiting for permission from the Ministry of Home and Culture.

“We planned to construct a lhakhang in 2011, but after the ministry stopped the permission of new constructions of lhakhangs in the country, we could not begin the work,” gup said. “We allocated a budget in the 2019-2020 financial year,  but without the permission, the budget has been diverted to other activities.”

The gup said they expect to get the permission during this financial year as they allocated Nu 0.20 millions to build the lhakhang. “We have requested permission from the ministry several times routed through the dzongkhag administration,” the gup said.