Wangditse Lhakhang
Wangditse Lhakhang

Wangditse literally means "the Temple of Peak of Conquest " and it was for the first time constructed in 1715 to serves s a seat of 8th Druk Desi(Secular Ruler). It is one of the oldest temples in Thimphu and an important national heritage site. It stands on the ridge overlooking Thimphu valley especially Tashichhodzong. It was once renovated in 1960s with very less alteration to its original structure.  Major renovations were carried out to put additional support on the ground floor and replacement of tilted kachens(Wooden Pillar) in the goenkhang(Chapel Dedicated to the protective Deity) on the first floor in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately in September 2011 earthquake, the Lhakhang suffered major damage. And in 2013 the renovation work started with Royal support and  under the guidance of Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuk. 

The Wangditse Lhakhang conservation project took five and half years to complete the entire renovation, until January 2020. Renovation works included enlarging the Lhakhang, adding a shakhor (surrounding structure), and cleaning and restoring the main Shakyamuni Buddha statue, Choeten Deshey-Gyed (eight kinds of stupas), and wall paintings. The goenkhang (inner chapel) also enlarged to house all choesungs (protecting deities) of 20 dzongkhags.  

Wangditse Lhakhang Shakhor
Wangditse Lhakhang the out structure at Entrance

Prior to the renovation, the temple was 2 storeyed structure and the archaeological survey confirmed that it was 3 storied as shown in the painting by Samuel Davis, who visited Bhutan in 1783 upon dismantling the foundation of the temple and shakor. But there is no record why the building was resized to 2 storeyed.

The structure was built in traditional style using mud and stone wall and wooden frames and pillars which are brought from neighbouring districts and was transported using cable ropeway from Samteling as it's not connected with a motorable road. 

The temple was consecrated on February 5, coinciding with the 4th birth anniversary of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey (Crown Prince). Dorji Lopon Kinley presided over the Tashi consecration ceremony, which was graced by His Majesty The King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Their Majesties the Gyalyums, His Royal Highness The Gyalsey and members of the Royal Family.

View from the trail
View of Thimphu City from the Wangditse Lhakhang

To reach this place there are multiple routes and people can start from Zilikha Nunnery, or Dechenphodrang Lhakhang, or from Sangaygang popularly known as BBS tower which is the most popular that hikers take. From Sangaygang it takes about 45 minutes to reach Wangditse Lhakhang and can exit from Dechenphodrang too. It is an easy hike with very less ascent or descent unless you decide to exit from Dechenphodrang. If you exit from Dechenphrang then its completely downhill from Wangditse Lhakhang which will take about  25 minutes. 

Regarding the trail, it is a wide trail where even the biker goes for biking. And the trail is through the mixed forest of Blue pine, rhododendrons, oak and other shrubs. And it has a very beautiful view of Thimphu city along with the Tashicho Dzong, the biggest fortress in the country. 

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