Guru Padmasambhava is a revered figure in Buddhist lore. It is said that Buddha prophesied his birth centuries before he was born miraculously within a lotus floating in a lake. Guru’s visits to Bhutan are full of wondrous feats; subduing demons and spreading Buddhism throughout the country.
According to a prophecy by Tertoen (Treasure Discoverer) Lerab Lingpa, “At one point of time, there will be a war of horses in Kurtoe valley and, to avert this, a statue of Guru should be built.”
So, a 173 feet tall statue was built to honor Guru Rinpoche on the Takila mountain top in Lhuntse. It is believed that Drupthop Ngagchang Takrelchanwas in Tangmachu when he heard a tiger’s roar from the ridge above. Thus, the place came to be known as “Takila” or “The ridge of the roar of the tiger”.
The entrance to Takila
The construction of the statue took more than 7 years to complete. The impressive figure overlooks Tangmachu, a beautiful valley with rolling slopes and lush cultivated wetland. The winding road through the village is very peaceful and provides many scenic spots to take stunning photos.
The statue is surrounded by 8 big stupas (Chortens) and 108 small ones. The entire area symbolizes a Mandala with the Guru in the center. It houses a three storied temple with statues and frescoes of Buddhist teachings and practices. It rivals the 169 feet tall statue of Buddha in Kuenselphodrang in Thimphu and is a famous tourist spot in the east.
2. Khoma, village of Kishuthara
Exploring Khoma village
After visiting Takila, you can visit the village of Khoma on the same day. After about half an hour/ 6km drive down towards Lhuntse from Takila, there is an intersecting road that leads to Khoma village. This village is famous for weaving vibrant silk kiras i.e. Kishuthara. The woven pieces have such intricate designs that they seem to be embroidered and they are worn during special occasions such as weddings and Tshechus (festivals).
Women selling their weavings at the market
Khoma has a small marketplace where you can buy many variations of Kishuthara. Women sell colorful pieces they have woven, including kiras, scarves, bags and keras (traditional belts). The quaint little market gave me a feeling of old markets and traditions that have existed for years, passed down from one generation to another.
Woman weaving a Kishuthara
Next to the market, you can climb upstairs to the first floor of a makeshift house where women sit in front of their looms. Here, you can see the actual weaving in process and the amount of dedication it takes to complete the patterns. It usually takes about a year or two to finish each piece. The women of the village are tied up in weaving, so it is the men who do the household chores.If you wish to grab a Kishuthara for yourself, you should definitely buy it from Khoma which will be cheaper than buying it from handicraft shops.