Sampa Lhendrup Lhakhang, which literally means “intentions fulfilling temple”, in Kurjey was built between 1894 and 1900 by the first King of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck. It contains the biggest statue of Guru Sampa Lhendrup – the wish fullfilling Guru Padmasambhava.
Story goes that at the time of consecration, King Ugyen Wangchuck, who was still Trongsa Penlop (Governor) then, conducted a special ritual that involved generosity and loving kindness practice.
During the 3-day ceremony all attendees, even ordinary farmers, were invited to enter their palace (read as residence), Thinley Rabten, and take away anything they liked from the house. One item per person, was the only rule.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, it is believed that the palace became empty, and everything was taken away. The King-to-be and the consort, Ashi Rinchen Pelmo, subsequently went without proper food for a couple of days. When the servants served a broth of some rice salvaged and collected from the floor of the store and the house, the defacto King and Queen of Bhutan are believed to have said that that was the best meal they had.
Thinley Rabten, that residence is also no more. Probably it got depleted and abandoned thereafter. It appears only in the oral history of the locals as having been connected by the first motorable road from there to Wangdicholing palace.
Stories of such sacrificed by the Kings of Bhutan are plenty, and the Bhutanese tend to take it for granted.
The Sampai Lhendrup temple, as the name would have it, is a wish-fullfilling one and prayers and moelams made here are believed to be answered. In fact there is also a large statue of Guru facing the door, and facing towards the North, which was commissioned by the Second King of Bhutan to ward off possible invasions from foreign forces during the Tibetan Uprisings of the 1950s.
Source: Late Dasho Karma Gelay to the author
(Picture – Monks returning from lunch break in Kurjey.)