Sacred Rocks of Bumthang Tamshing

Bumthang Dzongkhag Administration and Tamshing monastery in Bumthang will be conserving the ‘Nye Doe’ or religious rocks, of treasure discoverer Tertoen Pema Lingpa in Kawlaypang.

The “Nye Doe”, which are located between Tamshing monastery and Kenchoksum lhakhang, are believed to date back to the 15th century. The existence of the four boulders and perhaps religious significance were highlighted first by a German tour leader, Michael Hauser, who saw them during his visits to Bhutan. Michael Hauser, who visited Bhutan for the 30th time last year, wrote to the centre for Bhutan Studies about the rocks, which then informed the Home Ministry.

Michael Hauser wrote saying that, if the rocks were not safeguarded at this time, there are chances that people may use them for construction.

According to Tamshing monastery’s Kinga, the biggest rock, which Michael Hauser called “dolmen” is believed to be filled with religious books. “Locals believe that the scared rock is filled with treasure and golden düng,” Kinga said.

A few metres below the dolmen is another smaller rock with four footprints, which are believe to be of Tertoen Pema Lingpa and Damchen Droji Legpa his sacred spiritual protector.

“The footprints are believed to have been left behind on the rock, when the protector came to help Pema Lingpa locate his treasure in the forest, which is above Kawlaypang,” Kinga said.

Another rock, in a shape of a conch (dungkar), lies above the dolmen. But Kinga said the elders in the village believe that it was the place where Pema Lingpa sat and blessed people after he discovered treasures.

The fourth rock is believed to have the cuts made by Pema Lingpa with an axe, when Tamshing monastery was being constructed. “It is said that Pema Lingpa took an axe from the carpenters, sliced the rock from different sides and took some portions to build the present monastery,” Kinga said.

In an email interview, Michael Hauser said that he came across the rocks in 1991 accidentally, when he, along with his tourist group, visited the water mill below the site. “As a tour leader, I was very much interested in the megalithic culture, which is found worldwide,” he wrote. “When I saw that rock, resting on four smaller rocks, it became clear to me that it was probably a burial chamber and, to prove it was not natural, I put my compass on the parting of the big rock, and it showed exactly north – south.”

A dolmen can be a burial chamber but, in this case, it can be as well some sort of astrological instrument for the early settlers, to calculate solstice and equinox, to know the right time for sowing and harvest, he explained. Officiating dzongkhag culture officer Kinzang said their immediate plan is to erect a signboard and fence the area. “We’ll also divert the road that passes through the area,” he said.

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