The very heavens watched over our beloved country as His Holiness Chyabje Rinpoche breathed life into the glittering images of our country’s guardian deities who have made remote Dorokha dungkhag’s Gatsheling Lhakhang their home. The serene environs of Dogap village woke up to an extraordinary fervour as holy prayers filled the air, as sacred smoke rose to the morning sky and the bridal sun warmed the steaming earth on December 6, 2017 when our 70th Je Khen Rinpoche Trulku Jigme Choeda presided over the sacred consecration and Tashi Ngasoel ceremonies of our newly built abode of the divine. Chyabje Rinpoche had Himself most graciously performed the Saa-Lhang Tendrel ceremony some three years ago.

It was early dawn but the courtyard was already filled with people, of all ages and occupations, who had travelled from across the gewogs and beyond to partake of an event they will always remember with joy and gratitude. High lamas from near and far, local priests, senior government officials, heads of royal courts of justice from dzongkhag and dungkhags, heads of service forces, chairpersons of Samtse’s gewog administrations, local schools, dessups, volunteers and cultural performers provided a special impetus to the rare occasion.

The idea of our new Lhakhang was born in rather difficult circumstances when the modest old Lhakhang built by Dorokha’s first Dungpa, then called SDO, late Dorji Thinley, and looked after with loving care over many years by late Lam Tshering from Bartsham, was severely damaged by the 2011 earthquake. Having gone through many stages of planning and several changes, the symbol of our most fervent prayers stands high and holy and blesses all sentient beings in all realms.

We owe our gratitude to the Royal Government, past and present, Dratshang Lhentshog, Dzongkhag, Dungkhag and Gewog administrations, past and present, for the generous budgetary support and in-kind contributions. We owe a deep sense of gratitude to our contributors from across the country who offered voluntary donations as well as precious items dedicated to this special national monument. The contractor went out of his way to build a Lhakhang that he is proud to have been a part of.

Our magnificent Lhakhang, built at approximately Nu 30 million, including public donations, is a living embodiment of many people’s love and prayers. Our traditional artists and craftsmen have imprinted their remarkable skills and deep faith as they built the sacred statues and painted the walls and columns, object by object, brush-stroke by brush-stroke, with delicate care and devotion. They have built zhingkham here for us.

The execution and completion of this precious institution of our pride might have been a different story had it not been for the extraordinary determination, dedication and hard-work of our Lam Tshering Yangzog and Dungpa Karma Jurmi. We are most grateful to them for their inspiring leadership, exemplary service and sacrifices.

Above all, we, the people of Dorokha Dungkhag are deeply indebted to His Holiness Chyabje Rinpoche for fulfilling our heart’s prayers by blessing our Dungkhag with rare visits even in the midst of many engagements each vying for priority of Rinpoche’s attention. We offer our sacred prayers to the Triple Gem for the blessings of long life, good health and bliss for our most revered Chyabje Rinpoche forever.

It is my hope and my prayer that the sacred ceremonies and prayers performed by His Holiness at our Gatsheling Lhakhang will bless our Country, King and People and lead us to ever higher levels of peace, prosperity and happiness in our beloved Druk Yul and beyond.

It is my prayer too that the all-embracing sublime energy so abundantly generated by the blessings of our revered Chyabje Rinpoche and the vision of our sacred Lhakhang will inspire my fellow-citizens of Dorokha Dungkhag to rise to a higher level of national consciousness, mutual trust and harmony.

Prayers for ever…

Thakur S Powdyel

Royal Thimphu College