An Unusual Temple

The Jampe Lhakhang (འཇམ་དཔལ་ལྷ་ཁང་) or Mañjuśrī Temple was a free-standing structure until the Lotsawa Lhakhang or Translator's Temple was attached to its left side wall. The shape of the temple is unusual in that it was virtually constructed around the four central images of Mañjuśrī seated on a common platform. Originally, this temple had a lantern ceiling above the images and it was lit only through the small windows in the centre of each of the walls. The temple is square and measures c. 5.7 x 5.7 meters.

The large central platform is c. 85 cm high and supports the four pillars holding the diagonally arranged cross-beams of the ceiling. The complex throne construction is then set on this central platform and reaches a height of c. 175 cm, the crowns of the images being level with the capitals of the pillars. The four images of Mañjuśrī are seated back to back in an elaborate common frame crowded in a sort of horror vacui with animals, gods and symbols and topped by the decorative scrolls deriving from the tails of the makara. The four images and their frames have been completely repainted in recent times (◊ Mañjuśrī Sculptures).

Quotation below after Davidson, Ronald M. “The Litany of Names of Mañjuśrī.” In Religions of India in Practice, edited by Donald S. Lopez, 104-125. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995: stanza 150.