His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra left for India today to preside over the salang or groundbreaking ceremony to construct a Bhutanese Lhakhang and Moenlam Chhenmo (great prayer) in Rajgir in Bihar, India.

Accompanied by three Lopons of the Zhung Dratshang, the Laytshog Lopon, the Yonten Lopon and the Tshoki Lopon and senior officials from Dratshang Lhentshog, His Holiness will conduct the salang tendrel on November 11, coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, is expected to grace the foundation laying ceremony, according to the programme details shared with Kuensel.

The government of India in 2010 provided a two-acre land near a hot spring in Rajgir to construct a lhakhang and guesthouse for Bhutanese pilgrims.

The National Housing Development Corporation Ltd (NHDC) prepared the tentative design of the lhakhang and the guesthouse based on the Bhutanese architecture.

His Holiness will also preside over a week-long Moenlam Chhenmo for the first time in Rajgir starting from November 12.  

More than 2,500 monks from various dratshangs and religious institutions across the country left for Rajgir on November 7 and 8 for the Moenlam Chhenmo.

“We hired 46 Indian passenger buses to ferry monks from Phuentsholing to Rajgir,” Zhung Dratshang’s general secretary Passang told Kuensel over the phone from Phuentsholing.

Passang said that 33 buses left on November 7 and 13 buses yesterday to Rajgir. Along with the monks, the DeSuung office also sent 120 deSuups for crowd control and safety during the great prayer ceremony. 

The Moenlam Chhenmo will conclude on November 18.

Both groundbreaking and Moenlam Chhenmo ceremonies are major events to celebrate the 50 years of Indo-Bhutan friendship.

Rajgir is the place where the Buddha taught the transcendent perfection of wisdom at the Vulture Peak, sixteen years after his enlightenment. Rajgir is about 80km drive from Bodhgaya.

His Holiness will also visit Bodhgaya Stupa on November 20 and consecrate Bhutan temple the next day.

On November 22, His Holiness will conduct Goenpoi Tongshog, thanksgiving offering to the protecting deities, near the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya.

His Holiness and the entourage will return on November 23.

Rinzin Wangchuk