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Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang, Paro Overview

At an altitude of 2285 meters, the Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang with its rare golden chorten peak in the shape of an umbrella is quite a rare architectural digest in Bhutan. Chorten is a Tibetan term meaning ‘Stupa’ and is a significant religious monument built to represent the physical presence of Lord Buddha.

Nestled on the hilly edge of Paro and Dopchari valleys across the bridge on the Paro Chhu, this temple observes Tibetan Buddhism. It forms “geometric promontory” between Do Chhu and Paro Chhu and you can clearly see the confluence of the rivers en route to the National Museum of Bhutan. The temple stands as repository of Drukpa Kagyu School against the brown hilly backdrop.

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Architecture of Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang

Conceived as mandala, the temple has three floors connected by steep vertical ladders. The Ground floor depicting ‘hell’ has meditation halls of five Buddhas with forms of Rinpoche, Thangton Gyelpo and Avalokiteshvara. Second level depicting ‘earth’, a state between rebirth and death, has Bardo to interior walls and Mahakala with and numerous wrathful and peaceful deities on exterior wall. The third floor depicting ‘heaven’ has Tantric deities namely Kalachakra, Guhyasamaja, Mahamaya, Vajravarahi etc represented on exterior wall.

History of Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang

With close historical and cultural association with Jangsa villagers in Paro, the stupa monastery was built in c. 1421 (in 1421 or 1433 according to different sources) by ‘Chagzampa’ Thangtong Gyalpo, a noted Tibetan lama famous as ‘Leonardo da Vinci of the Himalayas’ who built around 8 iron bridges in the country. The word goes round that his idea of building such an unusual shaped chorten on ‘frog-shaped’ nose of hill was to proclaim victory of Buddhism while immobilizing demons (Sadag) or wrathful serpentine force (Lunyen).

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