Kurjey Lhakang

This large, active and important temple complex is named after the body (kur) print (jey) of Guru Rinpoche, which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings that make up the temple complex. It is at the end of the paved road, 2.5km from Chakhar Lhakhang.

The first of the three temples, the Guru Lhakhang, is the oldest and was built in 1652 by Mingyur Tenpa when he was penlop of Trongsa. Tucked just below the eaves is a figure of a snow lion with a jachung (also called garuda) above it, which represents the famous struggle between Guru Rinpoche (appearing as the garuda) and the local demon, Shelging Kharpo (as the snow lion). The statue of Shelging Kharpo inside is usually hidden from view.

At the entrance to the lower-floor Sangay Lhakhang is a small crawl-through rock passage; Bhutanese believe that in crawling through a narrow tunnel like this you will leave your sins behind. Behind the statues of the three Buddhas is a secret passageway that is said to have once led to Tharpaling.

The upper-floor sanctuary is the holiest in the complex. There are a thousand small statues of Guru Rinpoche neatly lined up along the left wall, plus statues of Guru Rinpoche, Pema Lingpa and Drolma (Tara). The main statue in this sanctuary is again of Guru Rinpoche, flanked by his eight manifestations and eight chortens. Hidden behind this image is the meditation cave, where he left his body imprint. The far wall has images of Guru Rinpoche, his manifestations, his 25 disciples and various other figures connected with the Guru. The big cypress tree behind the lhakhang is said to have sprouted from the Guru’s walking stick.