Nestled on the edge of a hill between the Paro Valley and the Dopchari Valley, across the bridge of Paro is a Buddhist temple called Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang. Located in the western Bhutan, Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang has hyped the interest of travelers with its unique structure. The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan. The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu School. According to a local legend, the Lhakhang was built by the saint Thangtong Gyalpo to subdue a “serpentine force” that was located at the foundation of the chorten.
Built in 1421 by an eminent Tibetan Lama named Thangtong Gyalpo, later renovated in 1841 by the 25th Je Khenpo, Sherab Gyeltsen, Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang is a three storeys temple. The Lhakhang is conceived as a mandala, with different storeys (three floors) corresponding to the different levels of initiation. The three floors are said to represent hell, earth and heaven. Tourists while visiting Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang can see a massive collection of Buddhist paintings and artifacts which can give competition to any Tibetan monastery. The ground floor holds the Five Buddhas of Meditation and forms of Avalokiteshvara, Guru Rinpoche and Thangton Gyelpo. On the second floor are depictions of Mahakala on the outer wall with hundred peaceful and wrathful deities and Bardo on the interior wall, the intermediary state between death and rebirth. Whereas the third floor of Lhakhang houses the tantric deities. To get a better look of painting and statue inside Lhakhang, visitors are advised to carry torches since its bit dark. The outer walls of Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang has the murals of depicting the five deity mandala of Shangpa school of Tibetan Buddhism There are many legends which revolve around Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang the famous one being about the foundation of the Chorten near the temple. As per another traditional legend it says that the Lhakhang was built on the head of a demoness. According to a Bhutanese source it was built “on the nose of a hill that looks like a frog in order to counteract Sadag (earth-owning spirit) and lunyen (powerful naga spirit). It is said that the hill, by which the temple is built, is a black vicious snake moving downwards.” Further ahead of Lhakhang is a much older temple named by Jangtsa Palnang Lhakhang which is said to be one of the 108 border taming temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo.
Located at the periphery of Paro Valley housing astounding collection of buddhist artifacts and painting depicting the ancient legend of Buddhist religion, Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang is a must visit place to get an in-depth knowledge of Buddhism.
The astonishing legend and vast collection of Jangtsa Dumtse Lhakhang can be enjoyed by the tourists throughout the year.