Religion: The Brokpa (highlander) community of Merak and Sakteng has come together to construct one of the biggest choeten in eastern region, a Jalung Khashor choeten.

To be constructed at Merak, the choeten, which will be bigger than the Choeten Kora in Trashiyangtse, will span over 2.75 acres of land with its 108 smaller choetens placed in all four corners. The choeten will be surrounded by a tshokhang and a few necessary infrastructures.

The identified site is below the gewog center and close to the tourist campsite. When complete the choeten will be a three-storied structure and rise 101 feet from the ground.

According to people involved in the project, the primary Nangten (relic) would be 1,000 Tsepamey (God of Longevity) statues, which would be placed inside the main choeten. The choeten will also house statues of different prominent Buddhist gods/figures like the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung.

“The Buddha statue would be positioned in the east direction to flourish his teaching with every sun ray,” the project coordinator, Lam Rinchen, said. “To symbolize the introduction of Cheod Tsee Luk Ney, the dual administrative system, Zhabdrung’s statue will be placed to the south.”

Lam Rinchen said Guru Rinpoche’s statue would be placed in the north side to remind how he subdued evils to bring peace in the country. The western side would be occupied by Thujey Chenpo statue. It prays for the generations beyond to be born in paradise or the Nubchog Dewachangi Zhing Kham, he said.

The project is being initiated and partly funded by the seventh reincarnation of Thukten trulku, who has so far contributed Nu 400 million (M) for the construction of dratshangs around the country. The trulku contributed the seed money of Nu 100,000 and has further committed Nu 1.1M.

The people of Merak and Sakteng also contributed about Nu 2.9M. Meanwhile, the project committee members are also hoping for financial support from the visiting high-end tourists who visit the two remote gewogs.

To commemorate the 60th Birth Anniversary of The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the Salang Tendrel of the Choeten was held on October 28. The project is expected to complete by 2020.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang