Tsimdrok Tashicholing Lhakhang: Artifacts and relics unearthed from the ruins of Tsimdrok Tashicholing lhakhang in Chaling under Shongphu gewog have been safely put away in Trashigang dzong. “It has been moved to the dzong for safety reasons,” Sakten trulku, Sangay Dorji, who spearheaded the excavation work, said.
Items of huge historical and religious significance were discovered during the excavation of the lhakhang, which had remained buried for over 300 years. It included statues of Dorsem and Tempa that dated back to centuries; a gem (chhu shay me shay), a necklace of Chongzee and a broken dzee (cat’s eye) were also found.
Nine small chortens (stupas), old rusty farming tools and chipped mud butter lamps were also discovered. Sangay Dorji said that three dilapidated chortens discovered within the premise of the lhakhang was also dismantled in presence of police, dratshang, gewog and dzongkhag officials. Trulku Sangay Dorji said, since the shedra in the locality was still under construction, it was dangerous to keep the precious items without enough protection.
“These have all been stored under the care of dratshang in the dzong,” Sangay Dorji said. Trashigang rabdey, lam neten Jigme Chophel confirmed that the relics from dismantled chortens, as well as from the ruins, have been with his rabdey. “It’ll all be kept here until we can find a suitable and safe place in Chaling,” he said. Trashigang dzongda, Lungten Dorji, said they have maintained a detailed inventory of the relics, in presence of dratshang, dzongkhag, gewog and the trulku.
The lhakhang, according to Namthar Pagsam Yodhingema, was a birthplace and home to Gyalse Ganapati, who assumed post of Desi and Je Khenpo simultaneously in 1705. Gyalse Ganapati was born in 1685 to father Yoenpo Dorji and mother Karma Lhamo in Pemachen, present day Chaling in Trashigang. Gyalse Ganapati was enthroned as reincarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s son Jampel Dorji after rigorous spiritual confirmation.
The 337-year-old goenpa remained buried after his death at the age of 25 in 1710 at Kitoong lhakhang of Shar Khotakha in Wangduephodrang, amid a political turmoil. Groundwork for the excavation of the site, with intentions to restore as potential archeological site, began in 2007.