Chakharzur Lhakhang

Category: Temple Address Trongsa

It is located below the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway, just below the Karma Drupde Pelmo Chokyi Dingkha nunnery. It is about 25 km from the main town of Trongsa towards Zhemgang, and about a five minute walk below the main road. It is a two-storey temple built in traditional Bhutanese architecture, with a tower.
According to informants, Chakharzur temple was built in the 16th century by the father of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The father of the Zhabdrung is known in Bhutan as Yab Tenpai Nyima in Bhutan (‘Yab’ is an honorific term used for father).
stone where the sun and the moon were tied with a chain can be seen near the temple, but the chain is now missing from the temple.
Chakharzur Lhakhang was built in accordance with a prophecy given by Guru Rinpoche to Yab Tenpai Nyima. The construction of the temple was hindered by the local deity called Phorgo, who every night destroyed any progress made during the day. This reportedly persisted for more than three weeks. Then Yab Tenpai Nyima, in order to avoid the destruction caused to the temple during darkness by the local deity, is said to have used his supernatural power to tie the sun and the moon to a stone with a chain. He thus managed to build the temple in a single day with the help of the Dakinis. The stone where the sun and the moon were tied with a chain can be seen near the temple, but the chain is now missing from the temple.
The bell, which is now located on the ground floor, and a statue of Tara (Jetsun Dolma) were taken to Samchoeling Palace during the time of King Jigme Wangchuck, the second king of Bhutan. However, the bell was returned to the temple after the sound of the bell was heard many times without anyone ringing it. The statue was also returned after people found it always facing towards the temple, even after its position was changed many times. It was after the king came to know about this that he commanded the bell and the Tara statue be returned to Chakharzur temple.
When King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan, renovated and enlarged Thimphu Dzong in the 1960s, GyalyumPhuntsho Choden (the senior queen of the second king) commanded an architect working in Thimphu Dzong named Pabi to enlarge Chakharzur Lhakhang. Chakharzur Lhakhang is located near Kuenga Rabten Palace, which was the winter residence for the King Jigme Wangchuck. The construction materials, such as cement, sand, planks and workers, were sent from Thimphu Dzong. Gyalyum Phuntsho Chodenalso initiated the construction of a medium-sized traditional building below the temple with four large prayer wheels inside.

Architecture and Art work

The entrance gate of the temple is made of wooden blocks, and is simple and small without any decoration. The two-storied temple was built in traditional Bhutanese design with stone, mud and woodwork. The temple is surrounded by a wall made of stone and mud around two meters high and one meter wide.

The ground floor has two rooms. The outer room is blessed with wall paintings of atonement, peaceful and wrathful deities, and the deities of long life. This outer room is used for performing rituals. There is also a medium-sized bell hanging near the entrance, and the temple keeps a medium-sized cymbal made from copper by YabTenpai Nyima in a cupboard. At the first floor entrance, there is a small room where the caretaker lives and prepares his meals.
The inner room of the ground floor consists of a small altar with a sacred statue of Tara (Jetsun Dolma)and thirteen volumes of Buddhist scriptures containing a hundred thousand verses donated by the first monarch of Bhutan, King Ugyen Wangchuck. In the inner room where the altar is located, the main statue is the Buddha Shakyamuni. To the right of the Buddha statue, there is a statue of Yab Tenpai Nyima with his hand print on a stone the size of a hand’s palm, followed by thethree protective Bodhisattvas (Rig Sum Gonpo): Avalokiteshvara, Manjusri and Vajrapani. To the left of the Buddha, there is a statue of Lama Ngagi Wangchuk (16th century), the great grandfather of the Zhabdrung, followed by statues of Guru Padmasambhava and Zambala (the deity of wealth). The wall paintings behind the statues depict mostly the Kagyu Lineage, and to the left of the entrance there is a wall painting of the protector Dudsolma believed to have been painted by Yab Tenpai Nyima himself.
Source : Bhutan cultural Atlas

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