When you are at a distance of about 10km from Mongar town along Trashigang-Mongar road, you’ll be amazed by sight of a beautiful Buddhist temple built on a hilltop overlooking Mongar valleys. This temple is Kilikhar Shedra. Some people also pronounce it as Keydeykhar Shedra or Keydheykhar Shedra.
However, its official name is ‘Lungtok Choekye Gatshel Shedra’ which in rough translation means ‘Hilltop Garden of Religion’. The construction of Kilikhar Shedra on the location started sometimes in 2000 following the prophecies of Doejum Rinpoche Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji and Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra. On the date of its completion in April 2017, they started a Buddhist college of Kilikhar Shedra with 84 monks.
Punakha Dzong on a religious front is known for its Maachen Lhakhang. It has always been a matter of spiritual achievement for people to be able to visit Maachen Lhakhang and then get blessing. Since people from eastern Bhutan cannot make to Punakha though they want to, government has built Kilikhar Shedra at Mongar.
The main temple of Kilikhar Shedra is a replicate temple of Punakha Maachen Lhakhang. People from six eastern districts can now visit Shedra anytime and receive blessings with same spiritual satisfaction of having visited Punakha Maachen Lhakhang.
Monks here also make daily offers and also periodic prayers to the Maachen at the same time as monks at Punakha do for Maachen Lhakhang of Punakha Dzong.
The main root of Kilikhar Shedra was initially in Ngatshang. However, it was shifted to present location sometimes in 2001. It was an idea of Lop Karma Rangdrol and Lop Ngawang Tenzin, Lam Neten of Trashigang and Mongar Dzongkhag respectively.
The main temple is in a traditional Bhutanese architecture. Just like Maachen Lhakhang of Punakha Dzong, the principal figure of offering in this temple is also Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. They have put more than 1000 smaller statues of Zhabdrung as relics.
Kilikhar Shedra today isn’t only a school of learning for 84 monks led by Khenpo Tashi Tenzin but is also a house of offerings for people of eastern Bhutan. It’s also one of the leading religious institutions in east that conduct religious ceremony and other activities.
You can reach Kilikhar Shedra within 10-15 minutes on a drive from Mongar town. Optionally you can go there on a walk. Since the road itself is through a higher gradient forest, you can have good subjects of landscape photography.
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