Lopon Yonten Phuntsho’s book, which was published with support from His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, contains rare pictures from the royal collection.In 12 chapters, the book covers late Gyalyum’s ancestry to early childhood and her spiritual contributions to the country during her life.
Gyalyum was the Queen Mother of His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden passed away on August 24, 2003 at her retreat residence in Dechenchholing.She was 92 years old.
Ashi Phuntsho Choden was a descendant of the Tamzhing Choeje nobility.Known as the Myo family, the lineage saw an unbroken succession of extraordinary personalities, who shaped Bhutanese history over the centuries.
Ashi Phuntsho Choden was born in 1911 at Wangdue Choling Palace to Chumed Zhalgno Dasho Jamyang of the Tamzhing Choeje family and Ashi Decho, daughter of Ashi Yeshey Choden, who was the sister of Druk Gyalpo Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck.
At the age of 15, Ashi Phuntsho Choden was enthroned as the Queen of the second Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck.In 1928, at the age of 18, she gave birth to the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
From an early age, Ashi Phuntsho Choden received a traditional education, including lessons on Buddhism.She received teachings, empowerment, and reading transmissions in the Drukpa Kargyu, Karma Kargyu, Dujom, Peling, and Nyingthig traditions from renowned Buddhist lamas.
Ashi Phunstho Choden built a legacy of religious institutions, established spiritual learning centres, and preserved the rich imagery that formed a core of Bhutan’s religious history.
Ashi Phuntsho Choden was the first devotee to renovate the Kurje lhakhang in Bumthang, along with the wall-size images of the Guru Tshengyed.At Prakhar Nagtshang in Chumed, she built the Kudung chorten of Thugsey Dawa Gyaltshen, and an image of Jo Jampa.
Ashi Phuntsho Choden established great monuments like the National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, which she built in memory of her son, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Ashi Phuntsho Choden also provided support to Buddhist heritage outside Bhutan.She built the Namgyal Choling lhakhang in Darjeeling, and the Dongag Choling lhakhang in Phagpa Shingkum in Nepal.