Jana Zampa to Taa-Baap Chorten


Guiding from Jana Zampa to Taa-Baap Chorten

Jana Zampa lies about 14 km  north of the Thimphu City. It is the site where, in 13th century, the local deities offered many auspicious gifts including an elephant and a golden fish to Phajo Drugom Shigpo and his consort Sonam Palden.

They were then on their way to the prophesied place of Dodeyna. Phajo Drugom Shigpo saved the gifts for posterity in the form of holy sites for the sake of dharma and sentient beings. Today, one can witness above the road on a boulder, the elephant and golden fish among others. According to the verbal accounts, the elephant symbolizes the shining of precious Kagyu teachings like the sun from the horizon, pervading all the physical realms. The conch with the whorl turned clockwise symbolizes pervasion of fame of glorious Drukpa tradition to all three worlds. Likewise the golden fish symbolizes the lucidity of wisdom eyes of the great dharma holders. Some account credits the gem disgorging mongoose for the prosperity of the country in general and the monastic hub of Tango, Chari and Drolung in particular, which has remained and continue to remain so without decline in the economic condition. According to a local folk tale, in ancient times a Garuda (Mythical bird) who lived in Drolung Goepa saw a cruel naga approaching in the form of a python. As the Garuda flew towards it the day dawned and it had assumed its form in the rock below the road. In this form, Garuda remained as counter force to the cruel serpents in Chari, Drolung and Tango area. Therefore no snakes can be seen in these areas today.

Around five minutes drive upstream from Jana Zampa, in the middle of the road, stands the Chorten Khangzugma marking the holy site of Dey wai Phodrang  or the Palace of Bliss. As per the prophecy of Drogoen Tsangpa Gyarey, Phajo Drugom Shigpo came to this southern country of darkness and visited and blessed every corner of the country. Later he took on the reincarnation of Machig Labdron, Khandro Sonam Peldon from Wangsinmo as his consort. With prophetic insight, he considered the benefit to the Kagyu tradition by his lineage and proceeded to perform the ritual of procreation. Print of the Khandro’s private parts and that of hands and legs are clearly visible on the boulder. Thus the site is named Dey wai Phodrang or Palace of Bliss. Chorten Khangzugma contains many blessed legacy of learned and spiritually accomplished masters but it has fallen to disrepair in the later years. Subsequently it was repaired about three times and now stands in holy grandeur. A kilometer up ahead, in a pleasant glade below the road stands a chorten in square shape. It is referred to as the Chagtshel chorten or Prostration stupa, because in a age old custom that is still observed today, the monk body from Tashichhodzong whenever they come to Chari to perform rituals stop at this point to prostate towards Chari. Near the junction, where motor road leading to Chari and Tango bifurcates, is the pleasant heavenly residence of His holiness Vajadhara 68th Jekhenpo, Jetsun Tenzin Dhendup, wherein his precious holiness turns the wheel of dharma unceasingly for the devoted disciples akin to regent Buddha, Matrieya. From there around three minutes walk towards Chari, at the edge of the motor road is the Jaywa chorten or stupa of ten million. It was built by Shabdrung Rinpoche to subside the sicknesses, famine and war, and to bring happiness. It was also for the benefit of all those who lost their lives in clashes between Tibetan and Bhutanese forces. It was called

(stupa of ten million) because Shabdrung Rinpoche himself handcrafted ten million statues including that of tutelary deity and the Dakini and placed it as the main sacred object of this chorten. There used to be a cremation ground near this chorten. Above the Jaywa Chorten is a two-legged stupa built by His Holiness 10th Jekhenpo Panchen Tenzin Chogyal, an authority in learning and spiritual accomplishment. It is one of his countless handiworks of Buddha’s body and speech embodiments built after his retirement in the year of Water Male Horses (1762), for the benefit of dharma and sentient beings. This two-legged Chorten was built in the memory of his three fold gracious teacher Kheywang Tenzin Dendup and to clear the karmic defilements of the sentient beings. Main sacred object of this stupa is the life sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni along with wall painting of 16 noble Arhats and an amazing mandala of Bagavat Akshobhaya. As per the verbal account of the experts, it is believed in the past that those who pass through, between the legs of the stupa could do without the requisite Akshobhaya empowerment at the time of their cremation.  Further, it is attributed with the power to close the gate to the lower realms. Above this Chorten, on the edge of the road is the hoof mark of the Shabdrung Rinpoche’s riding yak Nima Singay. Yak Nima Singay is believed to have great prayer and karmic affinity with the Glorious Shabdrung Rinpoche and it had taken the final rebirth as sentient being in the form of a yak. Hence the sight of the hoof mark generates deep veneration. Likewise, the rock that stands in the middle of the road is believed to be one kidney of Yak Nima Singye. Verbal account passed down through the ages supplemented with research works   reveal a story of one Ap Ngawang who slept near the rock to verify the authenticity of the aforementioned claim through his dream. Story says that, towards morning, Ap Ngawang   dreamt of yak Nima Singye facing towards Tango. Hence the other version which claims that rock was blessed by Shabdrung Rinpoche lacks credibility. Above the motor road, on the edge of a small meadow stands a little temple built on the rock on which yak Nima Singye had reclined. Painting on the wall of this temple, illustrating the complete design of Phajo’s citadel Chubar Dzong, is faded and not clearly visible. Phajo’s abode Chubar Dzong was located at the other side of the river where new stupa is built. In a prophecy foretelling the coming of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, it is mentioned that – in this place of Dodey, there will be one bearing the name of Tenzin. Since this area is the prophesised place Dodey, today it has evolved into well known place of Dodeyna. Cypress tree in front of the temple is planted by Shabdrung Rinpoche as a blessed staff signifying growth and spread of practice and deeds of glorious Drukpa Kagyu tradition. From Dodeyna, about ten minutes walk towards Tango amidst the forest is a small glade with the throne shaped rock, Dho ShugtriShug-thri is the honorific term for a throne and ‘dho’ means stone or rock. It is said to be used by various learned and spiritually accomplished personage like Shabdrung Rinpoche and Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay as a resting place during their to and fro, journey.

About twenty minutes walk uphill from Do Shugtri is the Ta-Baap Chorten. It is actually a Jangchub Chorten but since it marks the point where in the days bygone, the visiting lords dismount from their horses in a gesture of respect, it is referred to as Ta-Baap chorten. Ta-Baap means to dismount from a horse. Even today, any chorten standing at a point from where the main monastery or the Dzong is visible is invariably named as Ta-baap chorten. Before this Ta-baap chorten was built, the place served as a sacred cremation ground for people of Kabisa and Dodeyna.