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Changangkha Lhakhang, Thimphu Overview

The Changangkha Lhakhang is an ancient temple situated at a distance of around 1 km from the downtown Thimpu. The temple was built in the 12th Century on a site which was chosen by the founder of the Drukpa Lineage in Bhutan, Phajo Drukgom Shigpo. This one is a traditional Bhutanese monastery which is miraculously suspended like a castle on a ridge over the central Thimpu mountain ranges.

This ancient temple has large prayer wheels along with incredibly huge Tibetan texts and very fine interior murals. Tamdrin is the protector deity of this temple and people from Thimpu visit this place to name their newborn babies, as it is considered to be the spiritual home for the children who are born in the Chang valley.

The temple opens for the visitors quite early in the morning and entry is prohibited after dark. The best time to visit the monastery is right after the sunrise, and during this time, one can specifically avoid crowds and also experience the most picturesque views from its courtyard.

Changangkha Lhakhang

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Sightseeing at the Changangkha Lhakhang

  • There is a huge portrait of the king upon entrance which is very beautifully made. Everyone is supposed to bow down in front of it as a token of respect.
  • An intricate statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in here is a major attraction. The sculpture is carved very precisely and is a marvel to behold.
  • A statue of Chenrezig having 11 heads and a thousand arms is another highlight of this sacred temple. The way it is carved is phenomenal.
Changangkha Lhakhang

The Architecture of the Changangkha Lhakhang

The monastery is a fortress perched on a ridge above central Thimphu. The naming ceremony takes place at the inner sanctum where children are blessed by a ritual dagger phurba and given a sacred thread. Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of compassion, is the central statue inside the temple which stands tall with his manifestation of a thousand eyes & hands, and eleven heads. The statue is made up of bronze with a plating of gold. 

The metal prayer wheels scripted with black and golden colour mark the entrance to the Lhakhang. It is perched on a cliff like a fortress and overlooks the valley. It is divided into three parts. The first section is exclusively for those who have made meticulous efforts to learn the Buddhist teachings by heart. The other two sections are dedicated to Guru Rinpoche and his works. They also serve as a meditation hall for the monks.

Changangkha Lhakhang Architecture

The golden coloured roof capped on the top look absolutely beautiful at night. The design is not too complex and is in accordance with the traditional Bhutanese architecture. The mountains in the background make this site picturesque and serene. Taking out a few minutes from one’s day to spend some time here is perhaps the best utilisation of time which one can think of.

Changangkha Lhakhang Architecture

History of the Changangkha Lhakhang

Built-in 12th century, Changangkha Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in the country. The site on where it is built was chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, a revered saint who came to Bhutan from Ralung in Tibet. Parents come here with their children to get blessings from the protector deity Tamdrin and also to give them auspicious names. Although its foundation work started in the 12th Century, Shigpo’s son continued with the work till the end of the 13th Century.
Changangkha Lhakhang

How To Reach Changangkha Lhakhang

Located next to the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan and National Folk Heritage Museum, one can hire a cab from any part of the town to reach the Changangkha Lhakang.

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