Zhabdrung’s gifts

Zhabdrung's Zhabdrung

Here’s a story from Sombaykha to commemorate Zhabdrung Kuchoe:

Topche was a nyagay – a strongman. About two hundred years ago, he left his village, Nakhikha in Sombaykha, to serve in Zhabdrung Jigme Drakpa’s court.

In addition to being famous for his great physical strength, Boed Topche, as he was known, was also an exceptional swordsman. Legend has it that he would fight nonstop against the Zhabdrung’s enemies. And that at the end of each day, he would have to soak his hand in a bowl of hot water to dislodge the sword from his bloodied hand.

At the end of Boed Topche’s career, the Zhabdrung summoned him and commanded that, for his outstanding services, he could choose something – anything – to take back to his village. But Topche would not identify anything, insisting that serving the Zhabdrung was his reward.

When the Zhabdrung repeated his command for the fifth time, Topche gazed at a statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, a statue built by Zhabdrung Jigme Drakpa himself, and submitted that that statue would remind him of his master and lama.

The protector

As Boed Topche traveled to his village, farmers from all over Sombaykha gathered to welcome him back, and to receive and accompany the sacred statue in a ceremonial procession to Nyebji Goenpa. But as soon as the statue was installed in Sombaykha’s main monastery, the entire village became mute.

Upon hearing the incident, Zhabdrung Jigme Drakpa summoned Boed Topche and gifted him another statue to accompany the statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. That statue was of the Talo Gyalpo, the Zhabdrung’s guardian and a protector deity of the Punakha region.

Our elders tell us that Boed Topche ran from Talo to Sombaykha in a single day. And that the villagers were able to speak again soon after the Talo Gyalpo was also installed in Nyebji Goenpa.

Zhabdrung Jigme Drakpa’s statue of Zhabrung Ngawang Namgyal is still in Nyebji Goenpa. And Sombeps still worship it as their most sacred relic.

HM's Zhabdrung

But Nyebji Goenpa now has another precious Zhabdrung statue. Earlier this year, during the birth anniversary of His Majesty the King and about two hundred years after installing the Zhabdrung statue, the villagers in Sombaykha congregated to receive and install another image of Zhabdrung NgawangNamgyal. This one – a beautiful gilded bronze statue – was gifted by His Majesty the King.


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  1. This is a great story and you write so well.

  2. “Jigten Wangchuck Thukjey Lamthreng Yul”

    In the land enrished by the blessing of the King of living beings

    “Gyelkuen khentsey datung jeypala”

    The contineous services that is provided beyond the knowledge of everyone,

    “Phendey drisung chigyang troweenyen”

    The beneficial writings and preaching that is always melodious to listen,

    “Ngawang Namgyel Zhabla chagtshel due”

    I bow at the feet of Ngawang Namgyel.

  3. Excellent work. I really appreciated the your effort to take time and write so well.

    I being from Sombaykha can understand the significance of Nyebji goenpa. People strongly believe that the protective deity will never let us down if we pray in times of need. They worship the deity oftentimes.
    Thousands of thanks to HM his kindness and may our beloved kings live forever and fulfill their dream of real GNH.

  4. phub dorji says

    hon’ble lyenpo.
    thank you so much for writing this here.it was worth going through and was kinda lnowledge.anyway good resarch done and we will remain evergrateful for your contribution to the otherwise neglected and remote sombaykha.
    best wishes and pray for almighty for your continued service to the needy ppl.

  5. your excellency,
    it is a excellent piece of writing. it gives a start to explore our remote and neglected village. we appreciate and thank you for bringing sombebs forward in best possible ways. we can see enormous changes in the life and morale of poor sombebs. no doubt all the credit goes to you.
    looking forward to your continued support…………thanks.

  6. Thinley Jamtsho says

    Dear lympo,
    Its a great story and you write so well.looking forward to your continued support and shair..thanks
    “Ngawang Namgyel Zhabla chatshelo”

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