Sitting atop a steep and narrow mountain ridge and fringed by the lush green landscapes of the eastern Himalayas, the Drametse Lhakhang is an important Nyingma Monastery and a popular tourist destination near Mongar in Bhutan. One of the largest monasteries of Eastern Bhutan, this spiritual abode of Buddha is situated at a distance of around 18 km from Mongar on the highway towards Trashigang.
Established in the 16th century under the commandment of Ani Choten Zangmo, the grand-daughter of the famous Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa, this historic Buddhist site predates the consolidation of Bhutan into a single Kingdom. The name of the Lhakhang literally translates to ‘peak without enmity’ in the Bhutanese language. Deeply influenced by the teachings of Pema Lingpa and serving as the current seat of his living lineage, this site also celebrates the peling tradition of Buddhism.
Boasting a vast collection of numerous spiritual treasures and sacred objects, the Lhakhang is said to be the main source of spiritual inspiration for the people of Drametse as well as the neighboring communities. The Lhakhang houses a three-storey monastery at the center of its courtyard, which is surrounded by residential quarters, offices and classrooms along the periphery. The most unique characteristic of the Lhakhang is its ‘flying roof’, which is basically a low-pitch roof that extends far beyond the edges of the walls without being attached to them. Further enhancing the exotic appeal of this place is its exquisitely designed chapel and statues of Guru Rinpoche, Ani Choten Zangmo and Pemi Lingpa among others, located in the three-storey monastery. In the middle floor of the monastery, the tourists are greeted with the marvelous sight of the statue of the divine defender Palden Lhamo and Tandrin while the top floor is home to the sculptures of more defending deities.
The marvelously designed interior of the Lhakhang makes it an incredible feat of Bhutanese architecture that will surely leave you awe-struck and mesmerized. The Drametse Lhakhang is also the site of origination of the famous ‘Mask Dance of the Drums’, which is organized here every year to pay tribute to the revered saint Guru Padmasambava. This captivating mask dance performance of Drametse Lhakhang enjoys the distinction of being listed under the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A visit to this grand structure also offers you the chance to get a glimpse into the rich culture, religion and tradition of Bhutan. Listen to the soothing prayers of the monks here or take a leisurely walk around the Lhakhang and experience its tranquil ambience, this serene Buddhist Monastery will surely leave you fulfilled and at peace with yourself and this world.