LICENSED_bhutan-3062.jpg Gangte GoembaThumbnailsGangte GoembaGangte GoembaThumbnailsGangte Goemba

Gangte Goemba enjoys the valley’s prime chunk of real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley. The extensive complex consists of the central goemba, monks’ quarters, a small guesthouse and outlying meditation centres. During a visit to the Phobjikha valley, the 15th-century treasure-finder Pema Lingpa prophesied that a goemba named gang-teng (hill top) would be built on this site and that his teachings would spread from here. Pema Thinley, the grandson and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, built a Nyingma temple here in 1613, and the larger goemba was built by the second reincarnation, Tenzing Legpey Dhendup. The current Gangtey trulku (reincarnation), Kunzang Pema Namgyal, is the ninth reincarnation of the ‘body’ of Pema Lingpa. The tshokhang (prayer hall) is built in the Tibetan style with eight great pillars, and is one of the largest in Bhutan. The inner sanctum houses the funeral chorten of founder Tenzing Legpey Dhendup. Much of the interior and exterior woodwork of the 450-year-old goemba was replaced between 2001 and 2008 due to a beetle infestation. A three-day tsechu is held here from the 8th to 10th day of the eighth lunar month (September/October), with cham (religious dances) and the hanging of a large thondrol on the final day. A nearby shedra offers a nine-year course in Buddhist studies. The long white building on the hill to the north of the goemba is Kuenzang Chholing, a drubdey (retreat and meditation centre for monks) that was started in 1990 by the Je Khenpo. The normal period of meditation is three years, three months and three (sometimes seven) days, during which time the monks remain inside and eat food passed in to them by another monk.

Lonely, Planet (2012-06-21). Bhutan Travel Guide (Country Travel Guide) (Kindle Locations 3132-3146). Lonely Planet. Kindle Edition.