Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan
Monasteries and convents are common in Bhutan.
Both monks and nuns keep their heads shaved and wear distinguishing maroon robes.
Their days are spent in study and meditation but also in the performance of rituals honoring various bodhisattvas, praying for the dead, and seeking the intercession of bodhisattvas on behalf of the ill.
Some of their prayers involved chants and singing accompanied by conch shell trumpets, trumpets made from human thighbones, metal horns up to three meters long, large standing drums and cymbals, hand bells, temple bells, gongs, and wooden sticks.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Zangdopelri Monastery
- 2 - Ngang Lhakhang
- 3 - Yonphula Lhakhang
- 4 - Ura Monastery
- 5 - Tharpaling Monastery
- 6 - Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery
- 7 - Talo Monastery
- 8 - Tala Monastery
- 9 - Shingkar Monastery
- 10 - Samtenling Monastery
- 11 - Phajoding Monastery
- 12 - Paro Taktsang
- 13 - Pangri Zampa Monastery
- 14 - Rigsum Monastery
- 15 - Jambay Lhakhang
- 16 - Choedrak Monastery
- 17 - Lhodrak Seykhar Dratshang
- 18 - Lhodrak Karchu Monastery (Bumthang)
- 19 - Lamay Monastery
- 20 - Kurjey Lhakhang
- 21 - Kunzangdrak Monastery
- 22 - Nalanda Buddhist Institute
- 23 - Yongla Monastery
- 24 - Wache Dzong
- 25 - Dechen Phodrang Monastery
- 26 - Trongsa Dzong
- 27 - Trashigang Dzong
- 28 - Thowadra Monastery
- 29 - Gangteng Monastery
- 30 - Tamzhing Monastery
- 31 - Tango Monastery
- 32 - Tang Rimochen Lhakhang
- 33 - Lhuntse Dzong
- 34 - Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang
- 35 - Könchogsum Lhakhang
- 36 - Sobrang Monastery
- 37 - Rinpung Dzong
- 38 - Chimi Lhakhang
- 39 - Nyimalung Monastery
- 40 - Chagri Monastery
Zangdopelri Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. It was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan.
Ngang Lhakhang is a Buddhist monastery in the Choekhor Valley of central Bhutan. It is located not for from Draphe Dzong, which was the residence of the Choekhor Penlop who was ruling the valley before the Drukpa conquest in the 17th century. Also known as the “Swan temple”, Ngang lies on the right side of the valley. It is a private temple, built in the 16th century by a Tibetan lama named Namkha Samdrip, who also built Namkhoe Lhakhang in the Tang Valley. Today it is a residence and in 2004 was enlarged with four guest rooms.
Yonphula Lhakhang is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. It is situated in the Eastern District of Bhutan. The Lhakhang or monastery in Yonphula has been founded by Tantric Master Lama Karpo Rinpoche alias Lama Tshewang Penjor. He was the disciple of Tertoen Dudjom Lingpa Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji, who named him as Lama Karpo. Before he actually met with his karmic Master, Lama Karpo went to Tibet to learn and master the Tantric practices. There in Kongbu, Tibet, he has mastered and directed him by his master therefrom to visit his Karmic Master Dudjom Rinpoche. Lama Karpo Meditated in Paro Taktshang. While meditating in the cave, where Guru Rinpoche has meditated, from Guru’s statue, he heard a clear voice. He was said to have astonished by this and felt himself in illusion. But, later he found to have talked to him by that very Guru Rinpoche’s Statue. Subsequently, same Guru Statue voiced out to him for another time and during that time he did conversation with the statue. In later years, he went back to Trashigang and founded Yonphula Monastery. It is approximately 2700 meters above the sea level. It is few km away from the yonphula domestic airport. Currently, the abode is headed by Lama Jigme Tenzin, son of Lama Karpo. There are approximately 100 gomchens. They perform periodical rituals and other related religious rituals. There is a Meditation Center where many Gomchens do meditate for minimum of three years. After that, they are known to be tshampas or Yogi. They follow the Nyingma Tersar religion. It performs its annual Tshechu in the 10th day of 3rd month of Lunar calendar every year. It is called Trelda Tshechu.
Ura Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Tharpaling Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery
Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery is a Buddhist monastery in the small Himalayan country of Bhutan. The nunnery is located in Zilukha overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It is popularly known as the Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.
Talo Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in the hills above Punakha, Bhutan.
Tala Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Shingkar Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Samtenling Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Phajoding Monastery is a Buddhist monastery near Thimpu in Bhutan. It was one of the richest and most decorated monasteries in the country however due to neglect, it was listed in 2010 by the World Monuments Fund as an endangered cultural monument.
Paro Taktsang, is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.
Pangri Zampa Monastery
Pangri Zampa Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
Rigsum Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.
The Jampa Temple or Temple of Maitreya is located in Bumthang (Jakar) in Bhutan, and is said to be one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 CE on a single day, to pin down an ogress to earth forever.
Choedrak Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, located at an altitude of 3,800 metres, not far from Tharpaling Monastery in Bumthang District. Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated at this spot.
Lhodrak Seykhar Dratshang
Lhodrak Seykhar Dratshang is a Buddhist monastic school in Bumthang (Bhutan) near Jakar city. The name means Golden Temple. The school was established in 1963, deducated to Marpa Lotsawa.
Lhodrak Karchu Monastery (Bumthang)
Lhodrak Kharchu Monastery is a Buddhist Nyingmapa Monastery of Jangter Tradition based in Bumthang District Central Bhutan. The monastery overlooks Jakar Dzong and the valley of Jakar town.
Lamay Monastery or Lamay Gonpa is a Buddhist monastery in Bumthang, Bhutan. It is located four kilometers above the Jakar Dzong and was built by the Trongsa Penlop, Sonam Drugel, the great-grandfather of King Ugyen Wangchuck in the 19th century. Wangchuck restored the building and it was used as the residence of his two daughters. The palace’s main tower was destroyed due to structural problems. Today the building houses the Forestry Institute.
Kurjey Lhakang,སྐུ་རྗེས་ ཡང་ན་ གུ་རུ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་གི་ ཞབས་རྗེས་ also known as the Kurjey Monastery, is located in the Bumthang valley in the Bumthang district of Bhutan. This is the final resting place of the remains of the first three Kings of Bhutan. Also, a large tree behind one of the temple buildings is believed to be a terma that was left there by Padmasambhava.
Kunzangdrak is a Buddhist sacred site in the Tang Valley of central Bhutan. It lies at an altitude of 3,350 metres in the hollow of a cliff. Guru Rinpoche and his disciple Namkhai Nyingpo are said to have meditated here at the end of the 8th century. The current temple, however, was established in 1488 by Pema Lingpa. Aside from Pema Lingpa’s living quarters, the site consists of three temples, the Wangkhang, which has the main statue of Avalokiteshvara with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands,Özerphug, the meditation cave of Pema Lingpa’s son, Tuksey Dawa Gyeltsen (ཐུགས་སྲས་ཟླ་བ་རྒྱལ་མཚན) and the Khandroma Lhakang, which contains a gilded copper statue of Pema Lingpa.
Nalanda Buddhist Institute
Nalanda Buddhist Institute (NBI), also known locally as Daley Goenpa or Dalida, is a Buddhist monastic school (shedra) in the western part of the Punakha District (Dzongkhag) in Bhutan. It is below Talo Monastery and above Walakha, about a 25-minute drive from the main highway to Punakha. The name Nalanda means “insatiable giving”.
Yongla Monastery is a Nyingma Buddhist monastery in Pema Gatshel in Bhutan and is located at Yongloa on top of a mountain and is seen when one goes through the national highway linking Samdrup Jongkhar and Pema Gatshel. Although Yongla Goenpa was founded by Yongla Lam Dorji in 1736 but the monastery was originally founded by Kheydrup Jigme Kundel in the 18th century. Kheydrup Jigme Kundel was instructed by Jigme Lingpa to find a destination that resembled that of Tsari in Tibet which looked like a ritual dagger (Phurpa). This was a move to spread the teaching of Jigme Lingpa. Jigme Kuendel reportedly travelled from Tibet through Bumthang looking for the destined place until he reached the present day Yongla accompanied by Khandro Dechen Gyalmo. When he asked the Khandro if this was the place prophesied by his master, the Khandro said, ‘Yong Yong’, meaning ‘Yes, Yes’, thus the place was named Yongla. Jigme Kuendel then meditated in this place and spread his teachings and then built a meditation center at the place. A nunnery was also built at the same place due to increase in popularity of Kuendel’s teaching. The Lhakhang that is seen now was built around the 1980s and a total of 16 successive Lams have served as the abbot of Yongla Gonpa.
Wache Dzong is a dzong in Bjena Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. The dzong was built in the 13th century by descendants of Sangdag Garton, son of Phajo Drugum Zhigpo. Reconstruction works for the dzong was started in 2011 by Khenpo Dorji and was later consecrated by the Je Khenpo on 7 January 2015.
Dechen Phodrang Monastery
Dechen Phrodrang. meaning “Palace of Great Bliss”. is a Buddhist monastery in Thimphu, Bhutan. It is located to the north of the city.
Trongsa Dzong is the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan, located in Trongsa in Trongsa district, in the centre of the country. Built on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River, a temple was first established at the location in 1543 by the Drukpa lama, Ngagi Wangchuk son of Ngawang Chhojey. In 1647, his great-grandson Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, constructed the first dzong to replace it, called Chökhor Rabtentse Dzong with a shorter version of Choetse Dzong. It was enlarged several times during the 18th century; the Chenrezig Lhakang was built in 1715 and a whole complex, including the Maitreya (Jampa) temple, was added in 1771. The dzong has since been repaired on several occasions; it was damaged during the 1897 Assam earthquake and underwent extensive renovation in 1927 and 1999.
Trashigang Dzong is one of the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan, located in Trashigang in Trashigang District of Bhutan. The fortress was built in 1659 to defend against Tibetan invasions. The dzong hosted a monastic community besides acting as the central administrative center of the Trashigang District, before they were shifted due to the ongoing restoration.
Thowadra Monastery is a cliffside Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Tang Valley of Bumthang District, Bhutan. Thowadra means “high rock”, given its location and altitude of 3,400 metres (11,200 ft).
The Gangteng Monastery ,generally known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. located in the Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. The Monastery, also known by the Gangten village that surrounds it, is in the Phobjikha Valley where winter visitors – the black-necked cranes – visit central Bhutan to roost, circling the monastery three times on arrival and repeating this circling when returning to Tibet. The Monastery’s history traces to the early 17th century and back to the prophecies made by the well-known Terton Pema Lingpa in the late 15th century.
Tamzhing Lhündrup Monastery in Bumthang District in central Bhutan is the most important Nyingma gompa in Bhutan. Its temple and monastery are remarkable for their direct connection to the Bhutanese tertön and saint, Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) and his tulkus. It is now the seat of Sungtrul Rinpoche, the current speech incarnation of Pema Lingpa.
The Tango Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) to the north of the capital city of Thimphu in Bhutan, near Cheri Mountain. It was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century and built in its present form by Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688. In 1616, the Tibetan lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated in its cave. The self-emanated form of the wrathful Hayagriva is deified in the monastery. It belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Tang Rimochen Lhakhang
Ta Rimochan or Ti Rimochen is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan belonging to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located near the village of Misethang in the Tang Valley east of Jakar. A stupa gate marks the road leading to it.
Lhuentse Dzong is a dzong and Buddhist monastery in Lhuntse District in eastern Bhutan. It lies on the eastern side of the Kuri Chhu and is perched on a spur at the end of a narrow valley.
Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang
Jangtsa Dumgtseg Lhakhang [zlum brtshegs lha khang] is a Buddhist temple in western Bhutan. The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan. It is located on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopchari valley, across the bridge from Paro. The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu school.
Könchogsum Lhakhang, also known as Tsilung, is a Buddhist monastery in central Bhutan.
Sobrang Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Ura Gewog, Bhutan. It is one of the most important Bhutanese monasteries as descendants from its lineage include Pema Lingpa and hence the Wangchuck Royal family.
Rinpung Dzong is a large dzong – Buddhist monastery and fortress – of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District, Bhutan. It houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Chimi Lhakhang, also known as Chime Lhakhang or Monastery or temple, is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District, Bhutan. Located near Lobesa, it stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529) who built a chorten on the site.
Nyimalung Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in central Bhutan, not far from Prakhar. The monastery was founded by Doring Trulku in 1938, a lama who originally came from Dartesedo in Kham in eastern Tibet. The monastery underwent restoration in 2002. The monastery, home to around 100 monks is especially noted for its talented musicians and its large thangka, devoted by the Japanese, which attracts pilgrims to a festival in the 5th lunar month.
Chagri Dorjeden Monastery, also called Cheri Monastery, is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan established in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the founder of the Bhutanese state.