Jowo Durshing – and the genesis of Bhutan

The imposing mountain that you see in central Bhutan, south of Trongsa, is called Durshingla. It is home to the powerful deity, Phola Jowo Durshing. So the peak itself is simply referred to as Jowo Durshing.

Jowo Durshing is invoked by the Monpas of Trongsa, Bertips (originally Monpas) of Zhemgang, Rietips of Sarpang, and Oleps of Wangdue – and other ethnic groups living in and around the Black Mountain area. Jowo Durshing is visible from these four districts of Bhutan.

Since the Oleps and Monpas are the earliest, or the orignal inhabitants of Bhutan, Jowo Durshing is probably a Bon/Animistic deity that was later inducted into the pantheon Vajrayana Buddhist protector deities.

According to Lhoi Choejung by Lopen Pema Tshewang, Durshingla emerged as the Indian tectonic plate collided with Asia, 50 million years ago. Our sacred country was subsequently formed around this peak. In fact, a lower peak, to the southwest of Durshingla, in Athang gewog, is Tsendaygang (Cypress Peak), which gave the country its medieval name, Lho Tsenden Jong (ལྷོ་ཙན་དན་ལྗ྄ོངས་), which was later named as Drukyul by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 17th century.

Durshingla is part of the Black Mountain range. The word, Black, is derived from black granite stones that makes up the whole mountain range. Granite stones were used as tools and implements during the Stone Age, which lasted until 3,300 BC. Does that mean that the earliest settlers lived around these area because of the availibility of the raw materials to make their implements? Probably yes.

Although no major archeological studies have been done in Bhutan, as far as I know, few neolithic stone implements and monoliths have been found in this region that evidence the area to be inhabitated as early as 2000 BCE. Some of these implements were on display in the National Museum, while some are in personal homes and possessions.

Many rural folks in Bhutan, however, confuse between the Stone Age implements and meteorites. The latter are considered sacred in local beliefs, as they are worshiped as weapons of the gods and demigods that fall on earth during their battles. They are called namcha (sky iron) in local languages.

Jowo Durshing, therefore, holds many untold stories and facts of our past. Hopefully one day someine can unearth them – literally and metaphorically.

#bhutan #jowodurshing #bhutan #trongsa #zhemgang #durshingla #monpa #olep #reiti #berti #sarpang #phobjikha #athang #wangdue

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