Name of Place/Monument : Trashigang Dzong
Name of Founder : Trongsa Penlop, Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the 3rd Deb of Bhutan
Year of Establishment :1659
Distance : 0.5 km drive from Trashigang town
Elevation :1500 mbsl
Festivals :Annual Tshechu (9th -11th day of 10th Bhutanese month) .
Lhakhangs :Lamai Lhakhang, Tshechu Lhakhang, two Goenkhangs, Dupthob Lhakhang, Kuenray Lhakhang, Tshokshing Lhakhang, Dema Lhakhang with 21 kinds of Demas.
Founded according to the prophecies of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Trashigang Dzong was built in 1659 by Trongsa Penlop, Chogyel Minjur Tempa (1659-1676 AD, the 3rd Deb of Bhutan). The Dzong was then named as Trashigang, “the Fortress of the Auspicious Mountain”. There existed Dzongchhungs (Mini Dzongs) at the four cardinal directions that unfortunately do not exist today.
The Dzong has eight different Lhakhangs. These Lhakhangs include Lam Lhakhang in the central tower which is dedicated to Zhabdrung Rimpochhe, the Tshechu Lhakhang with Guru Tshengye, the Goenkhang dedicated to deities Mahakala and Mahakali, the Dupthob Lhakhang for Dupthob Thangthong Gyalpo and other great Buddhist saints, the Kuenray Lhakhang, the Tshokshing Lhakhang which has the lineage of Drukpa, Karamapa, Nyingmapa and Zogchen displayed and the Dema Lhakhang with 21 kinds of Demas.
Drubthob Lhakhang, Chazam, Trashigang
Name of Place/Monument : Drubthob Lhakhang
Name of Founder : -
Year of Establishment : -
Location : Located along Chazam-Trashiyangtse road
Distance : 0.5 km drive from Chazam towards Trashiyangtse
The Lhakhang is associated with the history of Drubthob Thangtong Gyelpo also known as Drupthob Chakzampa. Drupthob Thangtong Gyelpo was a great Tibetan yogi, physician, blacksmith, architect and a pioneering civil engineer who lived in 14th century.
Chakzam or the iron suspension bridge that existed from Lhakhang towards the other side of the Dangmichhu river bank in olden days. This was one of the works of great yogi besides other iron suspension bridges and Lhakhangs built in Bhutan.
Trashigang Dzong also has a Lhakhang dedicated the Drubthob Thangtong Gyelpo.
Around 100 meters above Drubthob Lhakhang is the ruin of Tadzong or watch tower that has been used for the purpose of guarding Trashigang Dzong in olden days. Record shows that as one of the four mini dzongs.
Rangjung Woesel Chhoeling Monastery, Rangjung Trashigang
Name of Place/Monument : Drubthob Lhakhang
Name of Founder : His Eminence Dungsey Garab Dorje Rinpochhe
Year of Establishment : 1989
Annual event : Annual Drupchhen- 13th to 25th day of 12th Bhutanese month
Location :Woesel Chhoeling Monastery sits on a hilltop overlooking Rangjung town from the north.
Distance :15 km from Trashigang town, 0.5 km drive from Rangung town towards Radhi
Rangjung Woesel Chhoeling Monastery was founded by Dungsey Garab Dorje Rinpochhe, son of late H.H. Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpochhe and the wisdom grandson of H.H. Dudjom Rinpochhe. The monastery was established in the year 1989 with the objective to provide conducive haven for the study of Buddha dharma.
Besides daily rituals and monthly Tshechus, annual Drupchhen conducted from 13th -25th day of 12 month of Bhutanese calendar is the biggest event that can be observed in the monastery. Monks also perform mask dances during the last two days of Drupchhen.
Thekchok Kunzang Chodon Nunnery is the nearest monastic branch located at Pakaling, Radhi which is around 12 km drive from Rangjung. It was established in 1993 by His Eminence Dungsey Garab Dorje Rinpochhe to accommodate increasing number of nuns.
Karma Thegsum Dhechenling Monastery, Khaling
Name of Place/Monument : Karma Thegsum Dhechenling Monastery
Name of Founder : The Venerable 8th Zuri Rinpoche
Year of Establishment : October, 2010
Location :The Monastery sits on a hilltop above Trashigang- Samdrupjongkhar highway, overlooking Barshong village of Khaling.
Distance :45 km from Trashigang town; 13km from Yonphula Domestic Ariport; 0.5 km drive uphill.
The monastery originated, when Venerable Zuri Rinpoche visited remote village of Bashong over a decade ago, it is said that several elderly villagers have begged Rinpoche to build a monastery in the vicinity. Later, in 2004 Rinpoche revealed his aspirations of building the monastery to H.H. the 17th Karmapa in India, who not only supported the idea, but also blessed with the name “Karma Thegsum Dhechenling” to the proposed monastery. Commencing the construction works in April 2004 the monastery was consecrated in October, 2010.
Unlike many other monasteries built out of modern construction materials, Karma Thegsum Dhechenling is uniquely and exquisitely designed in traditional Bhutanese style, with beautifully carved woods. Carving on wood includes inscription of mantras “Om Mani Padme Hung” and “Karmapa Chenno” on beams and pillars besides normal traditional Bhutanese carvings. The adoption of Tibetan Thangka painting style is yet another unique feature of the monastery.
Besides many other huge statues and wall paintings, the main shrine houses three large statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava and the 8th Karmapa. Inlaid with gold, the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni is about three storeys high while the other two statues are two storeys high.
A three- storey high Stupa of Victory can be seen near the monastery which was built to remove obstacles and assist in the success of the monastery construction. The construction of the stupa was completed in May 2006. Also, 32 stupas surround the monastery.
Garab Wangchuk Nekhang, Trashigang
Name of Place/Monument : Garab Wangchuk Nekhang (Seat of local deity)
Name of Founder : -
Year of Establishment : Around mid 1650s
Location : Established on the cliff behind the Trashigang Dzong
Distance :150 meters from Trashigang Dzong
The Nekhang is where the local deity, Garab Wangchuk sits. Ever since the Dzong was built, the local or the guardian deity of the Dzong, Garab Wangchuk, is said to have been brought from Lumang, Wamrong, when the Dzong went through troubles of series of invasions in mid 1650s to late 1660s.
It is believed to have protected the Dzong from both internal and external dangers. Even, today, people seek blessings from the deity Garab Wangchuk for success and removal of obstacles.
Bushes around the Dzong and Nekhang are a home for around more than 20 Gorals, locally known as Jhara. They can be observed calmly resting and feeding in the bushes around. Few of the elderly, can even be sometimes observed in the Dzong courtyard. Besides many other animals that the deity posseses, Gorals around the Dzong are believed to be of the deity, Garab Wangchuk.
Merak & Sakteng- the Land of Brokpas
Merak and Sakteng are the two remotest Gewogs (blocks) in Trashigang District where Brokpas, the nomadic yak herders have got to showcase unique culture and tradition. It takes two days to reach Merak on foot from Chaling, the nearest road head (29 km from Trashigang town) and two days to Sakteng from Phongmey, the nearest road head (33 km from Trashigang town). It is a one day’s journey between Merak and Sakteng. The local dialect they communicate with, the dresses they wear, the life style they live, the traditional songs they sing and the dances they perform show how unique they are. Besides, the communities live in clustered settlement with uniquely designed structures.
The communities of the Gewogs depend on livestock for their daily living and for income as well. So called “Drukor”, they barter livestock products, such as butter, cheese, meat and fermented cheese for food grains from low land areas of Radhi, Phongmey, Shongphu, Bidung etc besides selling the products for cash.
“Terchham”, the Naked Dance is the only one of its kind that is being showcased every three year besides other annual festivals where exclusive Achey Lhamo dance and Yak Chham (the Yak dance) could be witnessed.
Given the remoteness and under the custody of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, undisturbed ecosystem of Merak & Sakteng are home for around 18 mammals, 119 birds and 203 plants species.
The beauty of the community is that they live with traditional lifestyle and have rich biodiversity.
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