Tashi Choling Lhakhang is a two-story traditional temple located in Tashiling village, Tangsibji gewog, Trongsa dzongkhag, Bhutan, situated just below the Trongsa–Thimphu highway. The village is roughly 23 kilometers or a half-hour drive from Trongsa town. The temple is surrounded by the homes of villagers and monks.
According to Tashi Pelzang, the head of Tashi Choling Lhakhang, the temple’s religious name was given by Polo Khen Rinpoche and derived from the village’s name, Tashiling. Tashi Pelzang claims that the name “Potala” mentioned in a Kuensel article covering the temple is an error due to miscommunication.
The temple’s history dates back to 1965 when Polo Khen Rinpoche Thupten Kuenga Gyaltshen came to Bumthang from India for a pilgrimage. During his return travels to India, he noticed both good and bad signs in Tashiling village. He suggested to Lama Ganapati, choirmaster of the Trongsa monk body, that he establish a temple with a door facing south and statues of Chagtong Chentong, Palchen Dorji Shonu, and Horsok Magdok. The primary purpose of building the Lhakhang was to expel the evil spirits dwelling there, prevent a war in southern Bhutan, and bring peace to the country. However, due to a lack of funds and laborers, Lama Ganapati was unable to fulfill the prophecy for 30 years until His Majesty the Fourth King approved the proposal in April of 2002 with the coordination of His Holiness the Je Khenpo and Lama Tshering Wangdue.
His Majesty also instructed the Trongsa monk body to test out a Training Center of Fine Arts where monks could learn religious calligraphy, carving, sculpture, and sewing. In 2009, pleased with the progress, His Majesty gave instructions to continue the Training Center of Fine Arts as a permanent institution. The Trongsa monk body established a permanent center with 40 monks from the Trongsa dzong, but it was not until 2010 that they found an ideal location in Tashi Choling Lhakhang. His Majesty approved it, and on 8 May 2011, His Holiness the Je Khenpo inaugurated both the temple and the Training Center of Fine Arts for monks.
The Training Center of Fine Arts offers two new modules, mandala drawing and the theory of Buddhist religious fine arts, in addition to the practical course in fine arts and regular monastic study. The school plans to introduce two new subjects: English language and Lhendup, “patchwork thangka.” The training course lasts for six years, and those who complete it receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Admission eligibility requires a class ten certificate or a completed basic course in a monastic school. However, the school will also consider a recommendation letter from the student’s teacher defining their interest and ability.
The Training Center of Fine Arts started with 40 monks from the Trongsa dzong but is now open to monks from all 20 dzongkhags. An opportunity for monks from private monastic schools was also advertised recently, but no one has registered yet. Currently, there are 48 monk students, six teachers, and one supervisor, with all expenses borne by the central monk body (Dratsang Lhentshog).