Nimalung Festival

Nimalung Lhakhang is located in Chumey in Bumthang. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from the road that branches off from the village of Chumey.

The Lhakhang was co-founded by Dasho Gonpo Dorji and Doring Trulku Jamyang Kunzang, the third mind reincarnation of Terton Jigme Lingpa in 1935.

Doring Trulku visited Bhutan from Kham in Tibet. He came via the Monlakarchung pass and met Jamyang Tshundru and his son Choney Pelden who invited him to Shugdra. They later became his disciples. Doring Trulku left Shugdra for Nyimalung. He set to read the text but couldn’t complete reading it a hundred times as he had to perform rituals after the demise of Dasho Jamyang, the father-in-law of the Second King Jigme Wangchuck.

It was during the funeral ceremonies that Doring Trulku met Dasho Gonpo Dorji, son of Dasho Jamyang. Gonpo Dorji, on becoming the new hereditary Dungpa (sub district administrator) of Chumey immediately thought of laying the foundation of a Lhakhang. Along with Doring Trulku he decided to open a monastic institution to uphold the school of Buddhism enriched by Kuenkhen Longchen and Jigme Lingpa.

The main relic of the two-storied temple is the statue of Guru Rinpoche. The monastery is decorated with murals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions. There are also paintings of Guru Rinpoche and his disciples, the lineage of Terton Pema Lingpa, and several masters affiliated with the monastery.

One of the most important festivals held at the Lhakhang is the Kaling Zhitro Drubchen. It was initiated by Doring Trulku and he was the first person to have started the rite in Bhutan. It is held on the first fifteen days of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar.

The festival is held every year in the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar, where the nine meters high and twelve meters wide Guru Rinpoche Thongdrol (large Scroll Painting) is unfurled. The Thongdrol which was donated by Lopen Pemala was consecrated in June 1994 in the presence of a large crowd of villagers by Lhalung Thuksey Rinpoche, the mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa. During the festival, a series of mask dances are performed.