Dumtseg Lhakhang lies just out of Paro town, with the backdrop of a majestic hill. It is possibly the only ancient temple built in the shape of a chorten and is literally chained down since local belief holds that it will otherwise fly off to heaven!
Dumtseg Lhakhang was constructed in 1412 by Thangtong Gyelpo who came to Bhutan in search of iron ore to be used for constructing bridges in his homeland Tibet. He was also known as Drubthob, "The Realized one" or Chazampa (Builders of Iron Bridges). At that time a demoness had risen from deep within the earth and was terrorizing the inhabitants of the valley. He built the temple in chorten form to overcome her, located on a small hill which was in reality her head.
A massive restoration effort was undertaken in 1841 under the order of 25th Je Khempo and paintings inside the temple were redone.
These paintings are possibly the most extraordinary collection in all of Bhutan. The Dumtseg lhakhang was conceived as a mandala with the three different levels of initiation. The ground floor is dedicated to historical figures,bodhisattvas and other protective deities. Various representations of Avalokiteshvara and five Buddhas of Meditation are located in the inner sanctum.
On the first floor are scenes from the Bardo (the intermediary stage between life and death) and also many forms of Mahakala, the main protective deity of the country. Images on the second and third floor belong to the highest tantric cycles and depict the main teachers of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage.
On the top floor do not miss the splendid lacquered wood image of the great twelfth century saint, Milarepa. You need to carry a torch and allow yourself a good hour to absorb the magnificent interior of this building.