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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brief History about Shar Monpa Phargi Chorten

Shar Monpa Phargi Chorten (ཤར་མོན་པ་ཕར་གྱི་མཆོད་རྟེན) is located at Ratswog village in Goensa Chiwog under Nyisho Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag. The Chorten is very popular and worshiped by everyone in the area because of its sacredness and other religious belief associated with it. But unfortunately, no one in the area including the elders could remember and tell when and who built the Chorten. They were not even able to guess in which century it was built. However, people believe that the Chorten might have been built before the advent of Buddhism in Bhutan during which our country was known as Monyul and people called Monpas.

According to a 44 year old former Gup of Nyisho Gewog, Phurba Dorji, the Chorten was believed to be built by legendary king Sindhu Raja of India. He said that this legendary King came to the place seeking refuge and settled himself in place called Dzongkhey Pongchu (རྫོང་ཁི་སྤོང་ཅུ) where he also ruled the place and the people. He said that Gyelb Sindhu Raja might have built the Chorten during that time. He said that the reasons attributed to the sacredness of this Chorten was that the Chorten has Sangay Yosung’s tooth (སངས་རྒྱས་འོད་སྲུང་གི་ཚེམས) as it main relic.

Phurba Dorji said that their village name actually would have been Raja Wog(ར་ཇྭ་འོག) which literally means under the reign of Raja or King and not as what is presently mispronounced as Ratswog (ར་ཙ་འོག).

According to some old people in the village, they say that the during the reign of first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, main relics of the Chorten, Sangay Yosung’s tooth was taken out from the Chorten fearing that the relic might get destroyed or lost. They believe that the first hereditary King handed over the relics to Second King and was further handed over to Zhung Dratshang by Her Royal Highness late Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck and His Holiness Je Thrizur Tenzin Dhendup. Zhung Dratshang displays the relics during the sacred occasions for public even to this day.

The people also relate that Guru Rinpochhe visited the place. According to 51 year old Ap Sigyel, Guru Rinpochhe visited the place and gave Wang (blessings) to the people. He said that when Guru Rinpochhe was trying to produce Drupchhu (Holy water) from the cliff that was located around 20 minutes from the present Chorten, the demons of the area disrupted him by transforming themselves into two giant snakes. Guru Rinpochhe killed the snakes with his Reldri (knife) and kept the carcass of the snake over two sides of outer structure that house the main Chorten thereby protecting it from the evil forces of the place. The carcass of the snakes in the form of stone looking exactly like the real giant snake can be still seen today. (Refer picture)

Regarding the existence of scripts written on the stone, people were not able to confirm it all. They said that other than Mani scripts written on slate, they do not have any idea on existence of other scriptures written on stone.
The sacredness of the Chorten is also referred in the ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi where it says that the Chorten was built by Sangay Tong (Thousand Buddha) and if we circumambulate thrice we will be escape from hell.

Like many other Chortens in Bhutan that have been vandalized, this sacred Chorten has also not been spared from the sinful hands of miscreants. According to villagers, an attempt to vandalize the Chorten was made in year 2003 but fortunately it was found that only the outer portion of the stone and mud have been taken out and the inner walls of the Chorten and relics remain intact to this day. The people closed the hole by putting stone and covered it with mud ram.

The people of the Ratswog Village take turns to become the Koenyer (Caretaker) to take care of the very sacred Chorten and offer butter lamps and other routine rituals to the Chorten so that this very important structure, an important heritage is not desecrated. The Chorten is commonly called as Chorten Chen in Ratswog and to others it is popularly known as Shar Monpa Phargi Chorten.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Journey towards finding an affordable and reasonable compartment

I joined the Dzongkhag Administration of Wangduephodrang in Feb.2010 and its just nine months of my stay here. But I shifted my house thrice. Shifting houses is definitely a tedious task for everyone including me who don’t have much things and furniture to be packed and unpacked. So it’s not mine, neither my families’ strange hobbies nor interests. The very fact is we are compelled to do so. Finding an affordable compartment in Wangdue Phodrang was as hard as finding anything that is rare. The situation was triggered by ongoing Punastsangchhu Hydro electricity Project who had attracted lots of people to work with the project. I came twice to Wangdue Phodrang to book my shelter before I officially join my office.

First house that I stayed was just above the Wangdue Phodrang check post. I resided there for five months paying Nu.5000 for house that don’t have a size of needle hole to function as ventilation for my small kitchen. I have a legal right to question the house owner if we have strong implementation of "Tenancy Act".

From there I have shifted my house to upcoming Bajo Town in a newly constructed building. I land up paying 65% of my take pay home as house rent excluding other charges like electricity, water etc. The unit definitely don’t deserve the amount I paid considering the amenities that house provides me. The main toilet has no proper labeling n provision for water to drain out. So sometimes my sitting rooms get flooded with dirty waters from the toilet. More than that, the atmosphere and environment is too noisy and unpleasant. There is construction going on from all sides left, right, back and front. Nasty sounds produced both from machines and by Indian laborers constantly disturb my slumber at night. I struggled fetching water for so many times. At one instance i have to sent all my guests who came for Wangdue tshechu to fetch water. All these unpleasant atmospheres compelled me to look for another house.

I shifted from there very recently i.e on 3rd Oct. back to previous location but little above. Since I have not notified the house owner in written about the shifting of my house, though i did it verbally, I was asked to find replacement or otherwise to bear the rent for the month of October by my honorable JINDA(house owner). I thought of arguing with him but i resisted from doing it as i know its going to be waste of my energy and time. i sense that this liitle dispute will injure the great relationship that i have with some of his family members. Despite my rigorous search I couldn't find any replacement as of today. So I have a privilege of paying double rent for this inauspicious month. But I don’t mind as I could finally found one affordable, reasonable and peacefully located house where I have a bird's eye view. Now I pray and hope that my present JINDA will not talk of increasing the rent. May god bless all sentient beings.