An old Buddhist Temple in the valley rest to the straight front view of Paro Taksang. The Temple holds the key of merit accumulation for the Paro Taksang pilgrimage visitors. The local inhabitants believe and narrates, “If the Temple is not visited during the visit to Paro Taksang, the merit accumulation by visit to Paro Taksang is not complete”.
Around 1610 Lama Kathog Rigzin Chenpo (a Lama from Kham Kathog of Tibet) arrived to Bhutan. Lama Kathog Rinzin Chenpo came across ruins of a small Buddhist school Temple built by the enlightened Gelong Ma Pelmo, located in the valley straight view from Paro Taksang. Lam Kathog Rinzin Chenpo felt for reconstructing the Temple. He along with his follower Tshongpon Gembo planed to reconstruct a new Temple with a big statue of Lord Buddha. Lam Kathog Rinzin Chenpo indentified a location on the ruin to build the statue of Lord Buddha. He then offered prayers to the Triple Gem on the location identified. The lama placed his red scarf on the ground after the prayer and stayed there for a while. He forgot to take his scarf on his return to residence. The next morning when he visited the site again he found his red scarf blown off few meters away. In belief of prophecy, he decided to build the statue where his red scarf was found in the morning. He along with Tshongpon Gembo constructed a new Temple with a storied tall statue of Lord Buddha in the center of altar. The statue of Lord Buddha stands on the location where he found his scarf next day. The location where he initially planned and prayed was protected and kept clean by constructing a small lifted flower garden.
The history above is recorded as narrated by elderly local peoples. Documented history is not found at the time of writing this article.
The Temple also has marvelous paintings on the inner walls. Yeshey Goenpo and Pelden Lhamo with a Tsimara are the guiding deities of the Temple. An annual festival of the Temple is held on tenth and eleventh of every second month of the Bhutanese calendar by religious ceremony displaying the Temple Deities with mask dance. The temple also houses various hand written religious texts, man sized statues of Guru Rinpoche, Tsipami, the first Zhabdrung, Je Sherub Gyeltshen & Chatong Chentong, thousand small Buddha statues and some Thankas. The Temple is owned by the descendants of the Tshongpon Gembo.
The Temple being a seat of Gelong Ma Pelmo people often come to perform “Nyung nyes” (I don’t know the English term). The Temple kitchen is in ruins and result inconvenience to the sponsor of “Nyung nyes”.
The Temple roof was replaced with CGI sheets in 1995-96. Minor repairs to the Temple have become necessity and being carried out. However the Temple needs major renovation. My visit to the annual festival of 2011 made me feel the great need of a Temple Kitchen and requirement for Temple renovation.
The descendant’s wealth detoriated with time. In early nineties the land and properties are divided amongst the living descendants and started living separately with their own families. The Temple’s responsibility was left to the one living in the house of Tshongpon Gembo. Presently the descendant living in the house is a woman in early forties with five children and an old husband. The eldest has joined monkhood last year and three are school going and the youngest is just four years old. The husband is an old man and his earning efficiency has become very less. The ability of Temple renovation by them is out of question now. None of known Tshongpon Gembo’s descendants are wealthy enough for renovation.
A local shop keeper turned out to repair the verandah of the Temple. In the difficulty odds a simple kitchen is being constructed by the Temple owner. The four century old Temple needs to be preserved and protected for the wellbeing of the sentient beings, local inhabitants and the descendants of Tshongpon Gembo. Proper complete adequate renovation will require funds from outside.
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