The Royal Heritage Museum Tower of Trongsa

GALLERIES

Journey through the museum

First Gallery

In the north tower above the entrance room, clay statue of the Four Guardian Kings is displayed. Their image is often found at the entrances of the temples. Also called the “guardians of the four Quarters”, they ward off the evil influences from all the directions. As large prayer wheels are also traditionally found at the entrances of Dzongs and lhakhangs, a new prayer wheel was commissioned for this first gallery.

Go to SECOND GALLERY

SECOND GALLERY

On the North wing’s second floor, is devoted to holy men and deities related to the foundation of Trongsa Dzong. Among the exhibits are statues and personal belongs of Ngagi Wangchuk, the 16th century sage who first built a small shrine on the spot where later impressive monastery fortress of the Dzong would rise. The deities who guided him to his site are shown next to him.

Go to THIRD GALLERY

THIRD GALLERY

On the North tower’s top level, used to be the former living quarter of Lama Chan chub Sondru (1817-1856), the personal guru of Jigme Namgyel (the first king’s father). Lama Chan chub Sondru made the original raven crown for Jigme Namgyel. Today the Raven crown of the second king is prominently displayed in a spectacular central showcase, in the form of a reverse wire suspended pyramid. Statues and thankas associated with Jigme Namgyel’s religious devotion surround the crown.

Go to FORTH GALLERY

FORTH GALLERY

In the North wing presents objects belonging to the first four kings of Bhutan’s Wangchuck dynasty. The royal dynasty descends in a direct line from Pema Lingpa whose bronze statue is displayed on the wooden pedestal. In the background hangs an embroidered throne cover. Framed on the right are two scrolls with oath of allegiance of King Jigme Wangchuck signed by the monk body and secular local rulers.

FIFTH GALLERY

In the North wing displays masks, costumes and other objects that are used in the sacred dances performed regularly in the courtyards of Trongsa Dzong. Guru Rinpoche’s birthday is marked by a major yearly dance festival or tshechu. The dance masks seen in this gallery represent eight manifestation of Guru Rinpoche. Dance can be interpreted as a means of activating the relationship between humankind and deities. It is also a way to attain liberation insights into the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings. As dramatic ceremonies of public worship, there dance not only convey moral and historical content, but also purify the soul and drive away demons.

SIXTH GALLERY

Upper floor of the North wing explores the meaning and ritual practice of Buddhism. An image of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni allows reflection on his wisdom and teachings, while other exhibits provide insight into particular that the duality of the Tower of Trongsa unfolds: for foreign visitors provides an explanation of a selected number of deities while affording Bhutanese visitors the opportunity of worshipping them. The main ritual objects a monk required are displayed: diamond sceptre, bell and magical dagger, also seen are miniature shrine, winged conch shell and a butter lamp made of solid gold.

SEVENTH GALLERY

Top floor of the North wing is the living Temple of Ling Gesar. Visitors can either enter themselves or experience how local people come to worship the DraLha for their self protection and victory.

EIGHTH GALLERY

On the first floor of the central tower (utse) is dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, the 8th century Indian mystic who spread and established Buddhism across the Himalayan region. He also came to Bhutan in 747AD and was active in Trongsa. He subdued Muktsen, the original and divine protector of the province, whom he then integrated into the Buddhist realm of belief. Depending on the context of his religious activity Guru Rinpoche appears in eight manifestations, representations of which are displayed in this gallery.

NINTH GALLERY

In second floor of the Utse is the living Temple of Maitreya Buddha and houses the secret image of Drang Song, which is enshrined in the altar. Visitors even though not allowed to enter without special permit can look at the temple through a specially designed window near entrance.

TENTH GALLERY

In the third floor of the main building is devoted to the five Tathagata Buddhas who embody fundamental philosophical principles of Mahayana Buddhism. Since there were no figures of these five Buddhas in the temples of Trongsa Dzong, new ones were made using traditional Bhutanese techniques and the best available materials such as pure gold. Ms. Timea Tallian conservator from Austria was involved in painting the painting of the statues. All statues have been filled (with required sacred writing and objects) according to Buddhist traditions and consecrated. Bhutanese believers now have opportunity to worship these deities in Trongsa. Five Tathagata Buddhas are grouped according to the cardinal directions based on the schemes of mandala. The centre is considered a cardinal direction of its own.

ELEVENTH GALLERY

On the top of the utse is dedicated to the highest level of Buddhist philosophy: the absolute and conceptually inconceivable reality, which can be recognized only at the moment of enlightenment. Although the existence of the Buddha, like everything else is marked by formlessness, statues of Adhibuddha Vajradhara and the Buddha Samantabhadra, religious texts and a complete set of the Knajur containing the Buddha’s words, together with a Chorten, symbolise the speech and mind of the Buddha. Central openings connect galleries 10 and 11 to the panoramic viewing gallery above. A ring of transparent panels in the roof allows daylight to descend to these galleries. A Chorten, made out of the sliver which is the embodiment of the Buddha’s mind is suspended on wires from above, floating in the centre, as if on the primordial Ocean

vision and mission

Upholder of the religious and artistic traditions of Bhutan!

OUR TEAM

Leki Samphel

Museum Assistant

Sangay Wangdi

Accountant

Sangay Dema

Sr. Technician

Dechen Choki

Conservator

Tshomo

Museum Assistant

Kuenzang Wangmo

Messenger

Pema Wangchuk

Security Guard

Yeshi Dorji

Security Guard

Dhalu Dosh Limbu

Security Guard

Kelzang Wangmo

Gardener/ Sweeper

Tshering Lhamo

Gardener/ Sweeper