Perched on a ridge above the capital city Thimphu in the south-east district of Motithang is the oldest fortress like monastery of Bhutan called Changangkha Lhakhang. Built in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet, Changangkha Lhakhang is known as the spiritual home of the children born in the Chang Valley. Located at half an hour walking distance from the main city Thimphu, Bhutanese parents visit this oldest monastery, Changangkha Lhakhang to get auspicious name for their newborns. Changangkha Lhakhang is not just a historical monument but serves as a great centre of the religious Buddhist teaching which have intrigued the interest of travelers visiting Thimphu.
Located near the Motithang Takin Preserve, Changangkha Lhakhang is surrounded by the alpine forest creating a visual treat for the travelers. Changangkha Lhakhang consists of the three main parts. The first area of Changangkha Lhakhang is reserved for the female monks or nun. The area where the nuns reside shows an astounding panoramic vista of Thimphu Valley with a backdrop view of the hilly terrain of the mystical kingdom Bhutan, it is sight which has attracted many travelers towards Changangkha Lhakhang. The second part of the lhakhang is where the remains of the Guru Rinpoche are preserved. It is also the heart of the Changangkha Lhakhang. Lastly the third part which is located in the inner most section of lhakhang which is the most important part of the Changangkha Lhakhang. While venturing through the corridors of Changangkha Lhakhang visitors can observe the murals which adore the walls of lhakhang. The central statue of Changangkha Lhakhang is Chenresig in 11-headed manifestations. Visitors may also observe the fact that the books in the temple are larger in size than usual Tibetan texts. Apart from being famous as a historical monument, parents traditionally come here at Changangkha Lhakhang to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity Tamdrin. Children are blessed by a phurba (ritual dagger) and given a sacred thread. The central courtyard of lhakhang is adorned by the magnificent sculpture of tshomen (mermaid) which is an example of the astounding skill which Bhutanese artists are endowed with. The golden and black prayer wheels along the kora just add up to the charm of Changangkha Lhakhang. If the tourists are lucky they might even witness the annual masked dance festival tsechu which begins with an appraisal to the local deity “Domsap” during their visit of Changangkha Lhakhang.
Immerge yourself in the serenity of the idyllic place while being mesmerized by the panoramic vista of capital city Thimphu enclosed by the mountainous Himalayan valley. Far from the hustle of the monotonous life, Changangkha Lhakhang shows the magnificence and serenity which the land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan houses.
The lhakhang stay open from 6am to 6pm and tourist should plan their visit between these hours since after or before these timing outsiders are not allowed inside Changangkha Lhakhang.