Sunday, August 2, 2020

Talo Sanga Choling Monastery (Zhabdrung’s Abode)

Talo Sanga Choling Monastery is one of the famous monastery in the country as the monastery is directly linked to the mind incarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The monastery is commonly known as Talo Geompa. I made a visit (31st July 2019) to pay my deep respect to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s mind incarnations and receive blessing from the sacred monastery.

Perched at an elevation of 2,800 m above the serene hamlet called Talo, Talo Sangacholing Monastery was founded in 1767 by Chogtul Jigme Singye (1742-1789), the fourth reincarnation of Lam Thripa (Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, which literally means the holder of the throne), a title given to Gyalse Tenzin Rangye (1638-1696) as the Gyaltsap (regent) appointed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is located above Punakha valley around 16 KM drive from Kuruthang.

Jigme Drapa (1791-1830), the third mind reincarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel renovated the area and built a temple. He also installed statues that he brought from Samye in Tibet. 

After the completion of Talo Monastery it has served as the residence of the successive mind reincarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Thereafter the temple was renovated by several reincarnations of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel including Zhabdrung Jigme Norbu, the fourth mind incarnation, Zhabdrung Jigme Chogyel, the fifth mind incarnation.

Presently, the Lam and the monks at the monastery were observing 45 days Yerney (summer collective retreat). We offered fruits and butter lamps at the main monastery where Yarney is being observed. The Kundung of the 3rd and 5th mind reincarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was housed there. We received blessing from the walking sticks of the 3rd and 5th Zhabdrung. On request, my travelling Guru Rinpoche statue was connected to all the Nagtens of Talo Monastery. Very happy about it.

Further inside, there is Tshapami Statue. Below the statue on each side there is Namsey Tsherim that is sealed from public display. Like in all other monastery of Bhutan, the interior and exterior of Talo Monastery show the amazing skill of Bhutanese artist while reflecting the importance of culture and religion in Bhutan. All inner walls are painted with Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s images substituting 10,000 Zhabdrung statues as there are no place to place the Statues.

Talo Sanga Choling also house many lhakhangs of which Neten Chudru (Sixteen Arhats) lhakhang is one of them. According to the monk caretaker, the statues and relics at Talo monastery are so many and sacred that it can easily fill up Punakha Dzong.

Further on the left side, after coming down from the main hall and taking left staircase there is Gonkhang (inner Chapel dedicated to guardian deity Talo Gyap). The wall of the first room is fully decorated with different types of patangs (long sword) and Darli dangling all around. Entering inside is the Talo Gyap’s Gonkhang. Here you will see different forms of fearful looking statues (couldn’t recollect the names). Many old and modern captured guns including AK-57 and machine guns are seen here.

Below the monastery there is Zimchu (living quarter) of Zhabdrung Jigme Norbu. We couldn’t able to access the Zimchu as it was locked.

Talo Monastery is an essential Drukpa Kagyu monastery. The Drukpa Lineage stems from the Primordial Buddha Vajradhara.

The panoramic vista of the entire valley and surrounding villages and the high hills beyond Wangduephodrang can be viewed from the monastery. While viewing we saw rainbow emerging from the picturesque place.

Talo Monastery also observed annually three-day festival particularly popular for its masked dance and Atsara dance.

The great Talo monastery is under the care of Their Majesties the Queen Mothers.

It is a memorial visit. Please visit, get blessing and enjoy the environment


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