Restoring Spiritual Heritage: A Milestone in Cultural Preservation

In a momentous event, Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck and His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel bestowed their grace upon the sacred Tango Monastery during the tashi rabney and sertog installation of its utse yesterday morning. The ceremony, presided over by the Dorji Lopon, marked a crucial chapter in Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

Originally constructed in 1689 by the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye, Tango Monastery has evolved into the Institute of Advanced Vajrayana Studies. The ongoing Tango Restoration Project, initiated in December 2018 by the Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development, witnessed the completion of the first phase with the reconstruction of the utse in November this year.

This religious site, steeped in national and cultural significance, houses ancient debri paintings dating back to the 17th century. Executed in mineral pigments with intricate gold gildings, these paintings not only represent the Menlug tradition but also stand as a testament to Bhutan’s enduring cultural legacy. The meticulous restoration work, culminating in the reintegration of 700 square meters of detached wall paintings, reflects Bhutan’s unwavering commitment to preserving its cultural identity.

As the Tango Restoration Project progresses, the second phase is set to continue with the reconstruction of the drasha, tshokhang, and kitchen, ensuring the holistic restoration of this revered monastery.

Simultaneously, the Chagri Monastery, founded in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, received a consecration by the Central Monastic Body’s Leytshog Lopon Sangay Dorji. The comprehensive restoration project, initiated in March 2016, aimed not only to revive the monastery’s former glory but also to improve living conditions for resident monks.

With an allocation of Nu 296.9 million from the government, the project, under the aegis of the Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development, is currently in its final phase. The meticulous construction includes the Zhabdrung Lhakhang, a guest house, a kitchen, and a dining hall, along with the renovation of three Zimchungs. Nearly Nu 250 million has been utilized, and the completion is scheduled for June next year.

Ugyen Dorji, the Principal at the Chagri Meditation Centre, expressed satisfaction with the restoration efforts, emphasizing the quality of materials used and the positive impact on the country and its people. The sentiment was echoed with gratitude towards His Majesty the King, The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the Royal family, and the government for their unwavering support.

Despite the challenges faced during the restoration process, Project Manager Kinzang Dorji from the Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development expressed confidence in completing the remaining works on time. The logistical challenges, including the transport of debris via a ropeway cable and the limited space at the construction site, have not deterred the 75 Bhutanese workers engaged in the restoration efforts.

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