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Tashichhodzong - Guru Lhakhang consecrated

With major renovations completed recently, the 117-year old Guru Lhakhang in the Tashichhodzong was consecrated on December 9, 2003 by His Holiness the Je Khenpo at a ceremony attended by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck (the new king), their Majesties the Queens and the Council of Ministers .

The Nu 9.7 million renovation project was done by Thimphu dzongkhag in consultation with the national commission for cultural affairs (NCCA).

Except for the lhakhang's chhoekhang which houses the main images, and the main wall, all the old wooden structures of the lhakhang were replaced.

The renovation work was started in March 2001.

The Guru Lhakhang was built by the Thimphu dzongpon, Kunzang Thinley in 1886 under the instruction of Desi Jigme Namgyal.

Tashichhodzong
The Neten Chudrug thongdroel unfurled at the outer wall of the Guru Lhakhang in Tashichhodzong

The lhakhang houses images like the Guru Nangsi Zilnon (complete triumph over all illusory appearances), the Guru Tshengyed (eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava) and the Gongdue Lhatshog (images of Abhipraya Samaja).

The Guru Lhakhang is also known as Lhakhangsarp (new temple) because it was built 114 years after the construction of the Tashichhodzong.

In 1216, Lama Lhakpa Rinchen Gyalpo built the Dho-Ngen (blue stone) dzong on a hill above Thimphu where Dechenphhodrang now stands. The dzong was offered to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal by one of the descendants of Lam Lhakpa in 1641.

The Zhabdrung renamed it Tashichhodzong (fortress of glorious religion) and it served as the summer residence of the Central Monk Body which was established in Punakha. It was destroyed by fire during the time of the 16th Desi, Sonam Lhendup, popularly known as Zhidar in 1772.

Tashichhodzong was relocated to its present site and rebuilt to accommodate both the civil officials and monks. A smaller monastery was built at the original site and renamed Dechhenphodrang.

Between 1962-1969, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck completely renovated and enlarged the dzong. Unlike most other dzongs, Tashichhodzong has two main entrances.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper

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