The beautiful magnificent white washed monastery designed as a stupa which adorns Katmandu is known by most of the tourists even if they haven’t visited. For those tourists who haven’t been to Nepal can see the replica of the gigantic stupa in Punakha Valley, the former capital of Bhutan. Perched on the ridge amidst the lush alpine forest overlooking the picturesque valley of Punakha, Toebesa and Wangdue Podrang on the periphery of the former capital is the pictorial Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang. Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang is a nunnery complex which is built on a site popularly known as Omolatsekha.
Blessed by H.H. the Je Khenpo, Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang is a double storied monastery, a chorten or stupa resembling Nepal’s boudhnath stupa. During consecration of Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang the event was attended by His Majesty the King, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, members of the royal family along with hundreds of people from Punakha. Initiated by Yab Ugen Dorji in 2008, the lhakhang was offered to His Majesty the King and the people of Bhutan. Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery houses one of the largest bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig Chagtong Chentong), the main deity of lhakhang along with other statue which includes those of Guru Padmasambava, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The 14ft bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara was entirely made by the skillful hand of Bhutanese artist from the Dharma industry in Benjima. Crafted by the ‘lost wax method’, the gigantic statue of Avalokiteshvara was completed within a timeframe of six month and was the first major project of Dharma industry. Consisting 70 rooms, Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting. The awe-inspiring sight of white washed lhakhang gleaming amidst the emerald green forest has mesmerized many tourists while the unique feature, which is the skillfully crafted black marble block surrounding the stupa has ensnared the heart of many travelers. The marble block depicts the image of the 84 Mahasiddhis, 16 Arhats, and the great lamas of Drukpa Kagyu lineage. Surrounded by miniature prayer wheels, the serene ambiance with the pictorial view of the adjacent valley has made Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang a sojourn for the travelers who relish being amidst an idyllic place.
The sound of distinct humming of morning prayers, with the alluring aroma of traditional incense radiates an aura of tranquility in Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang. Witness the finest Bhutanese craftsmanship in the replica of Nepal’s Boudhnath while learning more about the lifestyle of Bhutanese nun during the visit in Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang of Punakha.
The beauty of Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang can be relished throughout the year since every season has its own charm.