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Jambay Lhakhang


Jambay Lhakhang was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, on the same day as Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was built with the reason to subdue evil spirits and spread the Buddhism in the country. It is one storied building with main statue as Maitreya, framed on either side by Four Bodhisattvas. On one side of the doorway leading into the main shrine there is a painting of the historical Buddha and, on the other, a painting of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. The circumambulation path walls are covered with paintings of the Thousand Buddha’s and decorated by a long row of prayer wheels. The central figure in the ancient inner altar is Jampa, the Buddha of the future, with his feet on an elephant. This is the oldest part of the oldest chapel in Bhutan. The entry to the chapel is protected by an iron chainmail that was made by Terton Pema Lingpa. Above the entry is the statue of Guru Rinpoche sitting in this alcove and meditating, leaving behind a footprint. It is said that under the lhakhang there is a lake with several sacred texts and artifacts hidden by Guru Rinpoche. The sanctuary of Kalachakra, the wheel of time is on the right of the main Sanctuary forming the right side of the courtyard (north). It was built by Jigme Namgyal or his son Ugyen Wangchuk at
the end of the 19th century. The deity who symbolizes Kalacakra is colored dark blue, with 32 arms, one yellow leg and one red leg. The left side of the courtyard (south) is Guru Lhakhang was founded by the Jakar Dzongpon, Tsondru Gyeltsen, in the middle of the 19th century. The main statue is of Guru Rinpoche flanked by images of Avalokiteshvara and Amitayus, the Buddha of long life. Above the complex main entrance (east) is the Sangye Lhakhang. This ‘temple of Buddhas’ was founded by the 2nd King, Jigme Wangchuck. The main statues represent the Buddhas of the Seven Ages. One of the most spectacular festivals in Bhutan, the Jamey Lhakhang Drup, is staged here. A fire dance or mewing is held in the evening to bless the infertile women so that they may bear the children. Another late-night rite is the naked tercham (treasure dance), normally performed at midnight. The sacred necked dance is performed in the mid night and a photograph is strictly prohibited. The exact time for the rituals and dances are not available as the astrologer has to decide on the timing of the dances just minutes or hours before the auspicious minutes. All the people and the guests jump and run under the flames to get themselves purified from their sins and evil deeds. The master or the lama of the temple says, if one could attend this festival, he or she is protected from ill luck and misfortunes are removed for the entire year.

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