Dado Tsen, the Deity of Haa

Of the increasing number of foreign tourists visiting the temple, the caretaker said, most are fascinated by the lake and the mermaid (tshomen), which is believed to have the power to grant wealth to devotees.

Dado Tsen, the Deity of Haa (Source: www.kuenselonline.com)

 

It is not as big or as well known outside the dzongkhag as its twin, but to the locals, Lhakhang Nagpo (most call it Nam) is no less sacred.

Locals said that they do not differentiate between the two temples.

Dado Tsen - one of the most ferocious deities of the valley

Gomche, 60, from Haatoe said that the temple is the residence of one of the most ferocious deities of the valley, Dado Tsen.

“The temple is as much part of our lives as is the Lhakhang Karpo,” he said.

A five-minute walk above Lhakhang Karpo, the renovation of which was mired in controversy, which also added to its popularity, is a single-storey black temple ribbed with a red band.

Near the temple are two sets of stupas resembling the three mountains, which the locals believe are the embodiment of three Bodhisatvas: Jampelyang on the right, Chenreyzig in the middle, and Chhana Dorji on the left.

Caretaker Dorji, a local from Samar, said the walls have remained, as they were built, untouched and intact.

“The structure is not altered at all,” he said. The debri (mural paintings) are covered in curtains, he said, appear faded or in some parts damaged. Some mural paintings by the door are freshly painted but water leakage had damaged it.

The temple stands at the foot of the Chenreyzig Mountain below a gold painted cliff that is believed to the mandala of Yeshey Gonpo. The main statue is Jowo (Buddha) Shakya Muni, flanked by the statues of Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Tourists flock to see the wealth granting mermaid (tshomen)

Of the increasing number of foreign tourists visiting the temple, the caretaker said, most are fascinated by the lake and the mermaid (tshomen), which is believed to have the power to grant wealth to devotees.

“They make lots of offerings to the lake and the mermaid when we tell them one could be blessed with good fortune,” he said.

The history of how the temple was built is not certain. Haa Lam Neten Jampel Dorji said that the temple was built at the same time as Lhakhang Karpo, the more popular one of the two in the 7th Century.

“All stories or myths point to one conclusion that the temples were built like the Jampa lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu lhakhang in Paro through the magical powers of King Songtsen Gampo,” he said. ‘However, there are no written records.”

As the night draws close, Dorji returns with a packet of flour and prepares for the evening rituals. The woods above the temple remain silent as if the guardians are waiting to be appeased.

 

By Tshering Palden in Haa (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared on Kuensel.

 

 

 

 


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