Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

Gomphu Kora Lhakhang in Trashiyangtse is in dire need of maintenance. Walls have developed cracks from the several earthquakes in the past and wooden planks and pillars are damaged by insects. To prevent accidents, visitors are restricted to seven people at a time.

The lhakhang, believed to be more than 360 years old, is one of the most visited lhakhangs in eastern Bhutan including by pilgrims from other dzongkhag and tourists.

The caretaker, who is referred to as a dzongpon, Tenzin, is worried that a strong earthquake would damage the lhakhang with its  sacred relics. A proposal to renovate has been made.

Trashigang lam neten, Ngawang Tenzin, said he proposed to the Trashiyangtse dzongkhag administration and the Department of Culture (DoC) to renovate the lhakhang as soon as possible.

He said officials from the DoC inspected and recommended them to replace the wooden parts. “However, with major cracks all over the walls, the dzongkhag has appealed to the DoC to study again.”

It was learnt that lhakhang has been renovated several times, but the wooden planks kept rotting.

Trashigang lam neten said that although he is not sure about the approved budget for the renovation work, they are told that DoC is discussing the budget with the government and Gross National Happiness Commission.

He said since the government is facing shortage of funds due to Covid-19, they are also exploring for an alternatives like seeking donation from Kholongchu Hydro Energy Limited to renovate the lhakhang.

Dzongpon Tenzin said Gomphu Kora Lhakhang used to be the winter residence of some 70 monks of Trashigang rabdey. The popular Gomphu Kora tshechu, a unique local festival, is also held at the lhakhang.

He said devotees from eastern dzongkhags came to visit the lhakhang, especially to attend Gomphu Kora on the 10th day of the second lunar month because of its religious and cultural significance.

It was believed that several prominent religious personalities have undertaken pilgrimage to Gomphu Kora. The grandson of Lhasay Tsangma, Gongkhar Gyal, was the first person who built a small shrine at Gomphu Kora.

In the 14th century, Terton Pema Lingpa visited and enlarged the existing shrine. Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk, the grandfather of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, renovated it in the 15th Century. It was expanded and renovated by 4th Desi Gyalsey Tenzin Rabgye.

Edited by Tashi Dema