Phurpa Lhamo  | Punakha

Preparation of the state funeral ceremony (purjang) of His Holiness the late 68th Je Khenpo Tenzin Doendrup inside the Punakha dzong has been underway since September 30.

Preparation includes the construction of a Jangchub Chorten in the courtyard of the Punakha dzong.

His Holiness the 68th Je Khenpo Tenzin Doendrup passed away on the auspicious 15th day of the second month of the Male Iron Rat Year in his residence in Dodena, Thimphu. His Holiness was 95.

The purjang ceremony is going to be on November 7 coinciding with the descending day of Lord Buddha.

Tango Dorden Buddhist University Khenpo Nima, said that purjangs of Je Khenpo were always held inside the Punakha dzong.

His Holiness’s kudung, which is at Tango, Thimphu would be brought inside the Kuenray lhakhang at the Punakha dzong on October 31.

The Jangchub Chorten is being prepared with local earthen bricks prepared from various holy and sacramental substances. The bricks were prepared at the Tango Dorden Buddhist University and brought to Punakha earlier this month.

“Soil, which is used for the construction of religious statues, holy water from across Bhutan were used to make the bricks,” Khenpo Nima said.

From Punakha 60 individuals—five each from 11 gewogs and five from Khuruthang thromde, have volunteered for the construction beside the 45 De-Suups, who are former monks.

A volunteer from Goenshari gewog, Tshering, 61, said that being involved in the purjang ceremony of His Holiness was a rare opportunity.

He added that despite it being almost harvest season, he wanted to help in the dzong.

“There are around 22 people staying inside the dzong because they come from far. Those who live nearby go to guard their fields at night and return to work the next day.”

The 45 De-Suups stay in a dratshang structure near the dzong. Meals and refreshments are provided by the Zhung Dratshang. The volunteers work inside the dzong between 8am and 5pm.

De-Suup Phurba Namgay said that there were around 125 former monks from across Bhutan who wanted to volunteer. “The requirement was only 45 so the rest were not called. The volunteers are businessman, shopkeepers, or vendors.”

Punakha dzongkhag administration and the Zhung Dratshang are managing the preparations.

The purjang would be telecast live on Facebook or on national television.