Ngang Lhakhang

Build On: 15th century Category: Temple Address Bumthang

Ngang Ihakhang, is a private temple built in the 15th century by a Lama Namkha Samdrup who also built Namkhoe lhakhang in the Tang valley. Lama Namkha Samdrup walked from Lhodrak Kharchu in southern Tibet and settled in north Bumthang but twice the places were not convenient. So he walked down south and when he reached the place where the temple stands today, a beautiful swan or Ngang-ma came flying in circles and landed there. The Lama considered this an auspicious sign and decided to build his residence there.

It is mentioned in the biographyof the 8th Shamar Rinpoche Choekyi Dondrup that he "stayed at Ngang Lhakhang ,consecrated the house of one Lama Ngawang and performed ritual dances and ritual prayers dedicated to wrathful Guru Rinpoche, gave some refuge vows ,saw a footprint of Lama Zhang and the hoofprint of his riding pony and also saw the footprint of Ugyen Guru Rinpoche.....' Unfortunately the footprint referred to above are no longer known toda.

In the late 19th century, the temple was not maintained properly, and at the time of King Ugyen Wanchuck, it was taken over by one of the lama’s collateral lineage. It was restored in the 1970s.

Architectural style and internal relics

The temple which looks like a large farm house, typical of the rural religious architecture, has two storeys and is preceded by a large courtyard.

The lower temple has beautiful statues of Guru Rinpoche as padmakara with his two consorts.

The upper temple is a gonkhang dedicated to protective deities and house the masks for the festival as well as the protective deities images and the three deities of long life (Amitayus, Tara and Usnishavijaya) and houses of footprint of a khandro.

Social cultural function

The community holds a festival from the evening of the 15th day to 17th day of the 10th Bhutanese month. The family members from the two main lineages of Samdang Dung (said to be descendants of the 8th c. Tibetan King Trisong Detsen) who had settled there, and the Ngang Lhakhang Choeje, heirs of Lama Namkha Samdrup, play a central role. In 2004, the owners enlarged their family home adjacent to the temple and added four guest-rooms.

Route to Ngang Lhakhang

A motorable road leading north to the upper Chhoekhor valley has been constructed. The road passes in front of Thangbi and continues on the right bank of the river to the north till opposite Ngang lhakhang. It takes about one hour by car. Before Ngang, on the left bank of the river in the mountain, one can see the ruins of Draphe dzong; it was the residence of the Choekhor Penlop who was ruling the valley before the Drukpa conquest in the 17th century. It is now being excavated and the site renovated by a Bhutanese-Swiss team.

To reach Ngang, one has to cross the bridge on foot and walk for 20 minutes through the beautiful landscape on the left bank of the river. The “Swan temple” is in a lovely location on a knoll, above the river valley and looks from far like a big Bhutanese house. The trail to the Tang Valley via the Phephela pass (3,900m) starts not far from Ngang.

—Bhutan Cultural Atlas

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