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The Historical Anecdotes of Kheng Bjoka Khoche’s Nobilities; Kheng Bjoka Khoche’s household is located on a hilltop under Bjoka Gewog under Pangbang Dungkhag, Zhemgang Dzongkhag, above 1,070masl, which is 50kms drive from Pangbang town junction. Churches were the noble families of lower Kheng who were dominant in areas close to Assam and Bengal. At this stage, it is impossible to explain if the churches of Bhutan shared blood kinship with the lost tribes of Khen and Khoch in Assam and Bengal.

There was a significant trade relationship between khengpas and Indians. During winter seasons the people of the hill had to migrate to the plains with their goats and sheep. Khengpas were known for their excellence in warfare and statecraft. A Khen chief established a dynasty in Kamata (kamrupa) by virtue of his courage and skill. The evidence of three kheng kings of this dynasty who ruled Kamrupa (Kamta). According to Belgian and Rigden, Khoches of kheng once ruled the Assamese provinces of Kokabari, Rangapani, and Mohali. Whether the churches mentioned by these authors were the descents of the Khen dynasty of Kamta needs to be ascertained.

Bjoka Khoche House

Local tradition holds that Khoches were the direct descendants of Lhasey Tsangma, a grandson of Tibetan king Thrisong Deutsen. Lhasey Tsangma came to Bhutan in the 9th century. This can be substantiated by the fact that the descendants of this prince established the Byar-pa families in Kheng Bjoka and Ngangla where churches were based. I would hypothesize that the Byar-pa families in Bjoka and Ngangla once ruled the khen and Koch tribes of the plains. Through this association Byar- pa families came to be known as Bjoka and Ngangla churches. At present, the Kheng Bjoka Khoche’s ancestor home is taken care of by Meme Sangay. ‘Dung’ refers to the patrilineal noble families of Bumthang, Kheng, and Kurtoe.

The term was used either as a title of an adult male noble or referred to a noble’s household. According to various written sources, dung nobilities in kheng spread from Ura Dung Nagpo believed to have descended from the sky. Guse Langling alias Lhagon Pelchen ruled Ura and adjoining places for many years. His son Dung Nagpo Dragpa Wangchuk continued to rule the domain but he died without an heir. His reincarnation, Lhawang Dragpa was born in Yarlung Drongmoche in Central Tibet and was later ennobled as Ura Dung, Chume Dung, Domkhar Dung, Dur Dung, and Gyatsa Dung were the descendants of his legitimate sons from Choker Ashi Drenzom.

While visiting his landed estates in kheng to collect annual taxes, he fathered a son called Nima Wangyal through an extramarital affair with Ponmo Tashi Wangmo. The noble son then became the main progenitor of Nyakhar Dung and other dung lineages in kheng. The origin of dung discussed by John Ardussi proves contrary to the ancestral myths of dung described in the other Bhutanese sources. By Ardussi’s theory, the Gdung was not primarily an aboriginal people of Bhutan, but rather a somewhat scattered ‘southern’ population occupying the highlands of south-central Tibet, from Phari in the west to Lhobrak in the east, living off the land and hunting.

Branch families may have inhabited parts of Bhutan, but they were not the main body Aris (1979) conversely ascertained that the term ‘dung’ was associated with Lhasay Tsangma’s descendants in the 12th century, before Gelugpa’s invasion of the dung-ring and the-dung in South Tibet who fled to Bhutan and Tawang only in 14th Century. The royal-rigs records a local tradition concerning two ‘important clans’ in the west, the royal-dung of Apa-group and gDung-‘brog of Thimphu, both of whom descended from a son of Prince Tsangma. It is only ‘clan’. No one seems to remember the rGyal-gdung and gDung-‘brog today, though a motley group of the jungle –dwellers living far to the south of sPagro are still called the gDung (Aris, 1979).