Gods and Sacred Mountains | Animated Nature | The Gods in Everyday Life | The Construction of the Settlement | The Wrath of Dramar Pelzang

The Wrath of Dramar Pelzang

In the last years, a new »house« (tsenkhang*) had to be built for the local deity Dramar Pelzang a total of three times.

The first difficulties arose in the late seventies as the overland road was being built. Up until then, the old path which lined the edge of the river, as well as the village and the spirit house of the local deity also lay above this road. In contrast, the new road ran along above the tsenkhang*. In 1981, after it was completed, the conviction spread that the dust from the road, which was stirred up by the cars, polluted this valuable construction and thus insulted the protective deity. This – so the view of the local population – must bring bad luck upon Rukubji.



Following the advice of a local priest, the village inhabitants decided to build a new tsenkhang* in a safe place on the opposite mountain, high above the road. In 1984, however, as a result of a general crop failure, the spritual house was again transferred to another place.

In the year 1990, between March and October, six people died of various illnesses. Now one reached the conclusion, that the deity had become indignant over the many strategic relocations of his house.

Because of the gravity of the situation and the threat to human lives, this time, the inhabitants of Rukubji did not turn to the local priests for advice again. In this unhappy situation, one decided to consult the highest abbot of the Gangte monastery of the neighboring Phobjika valley. He advised the inhabitants of Rukubji to relocate the spritual house for Dramar Pelzang to its original place, underneath the main road, from where it was removed in 1981, after the road was completed. Whereas in its early versions it consisted merely of a stone heap crowned with a prayer flag, now the new tsenkhang* is a real construction in the shape of a small temple.

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After years of problems, this new residence for Dramar Pelzang was built in Rukubji at the beginning of the nineties.
Photograph by Marc Dujardin

On the left wall of the village temple, the protective god Dramar Pelzang can be seen.
Photograph by Marc Dujardin