Thowadrak Gonepa Tang
Bumthang Dezhi is popularly known for ancient Lhakhangs, Neys(Holy site), Beyuls(Hidden land) & many places blessed by great Buddhist figures & scholars. Bumthang Dazhi(Four blocks), the villages are located in beautiful valley and mountainside surrounded by pine forest & high mountains. Bumthang is also popularly known for Drak Zhe(Four cliff), Cheodrak in Chumey, Shudrak in Choekhor, Kuenzangdrak & Thowadrak inTang valley, with all Lhakhangs located in the high cliff. Thowadrak (High Rock) is located at the height of 3400 M in the northern part of Tang valley & it is almost three hours walk from Chutoe the last village towards Thowadrak.
Thowadrak is one of the most sacred site in Bumthang as it was blessed by the visits of many great Buddhist figures. Guru Rinpohe visited the place & meditated in 8th century. It is said that he left behind wooden bird Garuda that was used for exiling king Khekharathoe(Dog mouth & goat’s skull) & converted place to Beyul. King Khekharathoe came from Jelikhar from Choekor to Thowadra mountain top to have look at his beloved Khanpajong valley, which is located at the north of Bumthang & felt very melancholic. When he saw the place was in complete desolation.
The Lhakhang was founded in year 1238 by Gyelwa Lorrepa Dragpa Wangchuk (1187-1250) alias Onrey Darma Singye highly accomplished Kagyue master, who was disciple of Tsangpa Gyarey Yeshi Dorji founder of Druk Ralung. The Kashmir princess named Gelongma Pelmo a daughter of king Triton meditated there for long time. Her leporsy got cured & finally she had attained full realization. The other prominent Buddhist figures, who had visited and meditated in Thowadrak were; Kunkhen Longchen Rabjam(1308-1363) highly realized scholar in Nyingma school, Terton Dorji Lingpa(1346-1405) is considered as one of five great terton ‘treasure revelers’ among Nyingmpa & an important Dzogchen master by Bonpo tradition. He is also considered to be incarnation of Vairochana. Pema Thinley(1564-1642) also meditated there, who was founder of Gangtey Gompa, the grandson of Terton Pema Lingpa(1450-1521) the Bhutanese native terton born in Chel Baridang in Tang. He is considered to be terchen & foremost of five king tertons. Jangchub Gyeltshen(alias Jigme Kundral), a disciple of Dzogchen master Jigme Lingpa(1730-1798), Choeje Ngawang Thinley(1712-1770) who had renovated Lhakhang, etc. There were also some mystic Indian Mahasiddha who had visited the place & meditated there.
Thowadra has main temple and small scattered retreat house & Thowadrak Lam’s residence above the temple. At the back of temple, there is cave where Guru Rinpoche & Gelongma Pelmo meditated, holy Drupchhu of Guru & Gelongma Pelmo can be seen. There is Guru Rinpoche’s stone throne above the temple under cypress tree & Tsari Nungma a bamboo grown above Thowadrak is believed to be brought from Ney Tasri from Tibet.