Changangkha lhakhang in Thimphu is closed for tourists from June 7, according to Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).

TCB officials said the lhakhang would be closed for the next three months to tourists, as there are maintenance works going on. “We are constructing a ticketing booth.”

Officials said the monastery is closed for the safety of the tourists and that there are also some important rituals being conducted.

The official said the quality of the infrastructure of the lhakhang is poor and there is limited parking space.

He said the lhakhang would, however, remain open for local visitors as children born in Thimphu are brought to lhakhang for blessings.

“The lhakhang is considered a spiritual home to children born in Chang valley,” he said. “But it might not be safe for the local visitors too.”

A monk with the lhakhang, Pemba Tshering, said most tourists visiting the lhakhang are from the region.

He said there have been issues of increased waste and violation of cultural and religious norms such as taking pictures in prohibited areas and often dirtying the areas.Pemba Tshering said the number of tourists visiting the lhakhang varies with the seasons.

Meanwhile, TCB stated that a certain fee would be introduced with the reopening of the lhakhang for visit for both the regional and international tourists. “The fee will be used for management and maintenance purposes,” an official said.

Dem Zam