Nestled in the laps of the jaw-dropping Himalayan Mountains, the picturesque Haa Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. Apart from being a place of unadulterated charm and splendid tranquility, the Haa Valley also boasts the remarkable holy monastery of the Lhakhang Kharpo, also known as the White Temple or the Haa Dratshang. This holy monastery contributes to the allure of this magical place and it is also the perfect destination to seek your spiritual awakening in this Himalayan country.
This magnificent site is located at the foothills of the three mountains to the south of the Haa Dzong in the scenic Haa Valley. The Haa Dratshang is the home of the monastic body of the Haa district with about 130 monks living in it currently. Also known as the White Temple, the Dratshang was built by miraculous powers by the 7th century Tibetan king Songsten Gampo. According to the Bhutanese mythology, the erstwhile Tibetan King was unable to complete the construction of the Samye Monastery in Tibet due to the power of the evil forces. The legend further says that the King saw the Buddhist Guru Rinpoche in his dream who told him to build 108 Lhakhangs in one day to avert the demonic forces at the Samye Monastery’s construction site. And this way, the Haa Dratshang or the Lhakhang Kharpo, as it is popularly called, came into existence.
A marvelous structure exhibiting impressive Bhutanese and Buddhist architecture, the Lhakhang has not gone through a lot of major renovations since its inception. The Dratshang’s architecture is the perfect description of the traditional Bhutanese art and culture. It welcomes visitors to its humble abode with an intricately carved large door. The grandeur of this place is further enhanced by its beautifully decorated walls adorned with the paintings and murals of the great Buddhist saints, deities and masters. A week long religious ceremony is conducted in the Dratshang every year which seeks to instill the Buddhist values of kindness and Dharma in the hearts of the visitors. With a vast collection of numerous ancient paintings, religious texts and scrolls, holy relics and exquisite statues, the Dratshang is the perfect destination to get a glimpse into the fascinating and rich Bhutanese history, religion, culture and traditions.