Friday, May 10, 2019

How did the famous place name Chukha came into existence?

Well, when Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo came to Chukha to build an iron suspension bridge, a critical bridge for Bhutan, a local demon called Sinmo Lokringma stood at the confluence of Wangchu River and the stream that flows down the village of Bjogchog and confronted the Drupthob. The demon started unleashing horror by engulfing all the waters through her mouth and then forced it to flow upwards, a scene that is enough to make any beholder unconsciousness and die.
However, for Drupthop it is a pleasure to meet such demon that comes his way in person so that he can tamed or eliminates easily. At that instance of seeing the demon showing hypnotism, the Drupthob miraculously brought down a meteoric iron that hit the demon and got tamed at Wangkha and told if she further tries to rebel he will throw her like Awa (stools). The place was actually called Awakha but later deviated to Wangkha. Later, the demon pleaded Drupthop to release her and promised not to harm anyone.  The Drupthop noticing change in behavior made Sinmo Lokringma the local deity of Wangkha.

Drupthop than constructed the iron suspension bridge over Wangchu that benefitted the people greatly.
In 1783, when Samuel Turner visited Bhutan, he described the Chukha bridge in detail and was full of praise for the architect. 
In his writings he said that he had crossed the chain bridge called Chuka-Chaz-zum that stretched over the Thimphu River, a short distance above the castle of Chukha.
Awed by the engineering marvel, the English officer lavishly praised the architect, Thangtong Gyalpo and credited the genius, who deservedly ranks high upon the rolls of fame.
 “In a nation where no records are kept to perpetuate the memory of the achievement of genius, and in which the minds of the people are remarkably prone to superstition, perhaps more than a century may not be necessary, to defy the author of a great work. Thus it is, said that the bridge of Chukha is reckoned to be of more than mortal production. No less a being than Dewta Tehuptehup could possibly have contrived so curious a piece of mechanism.

The name Chukha was therefore derived from Chu Kha (water mouth) based on water that was swallowed through the mouth by the demon.

The cliff Namtharjak was blessed by Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo, and later after more than 500 years Chukha hydro project was established at this place, which is driving the economic of the country today.
Learning this story, I was very curious to know the look of the Sinmo and was hunting for her image for quite some time. Recently, I have visited Wangkha Lhakhang and I am very happy to find Sinmo Lokringma statue there. In fact that was the main and oldest relic of the monastery, other statues were added later.
(Sinmo Lokringma)
If you happen to travel through Wangkha, you may as well visit Wangkha Lhakhag and come in face to face with the local deity.
(Wangkha Lhakhang)
(with Wangkha Lam)

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