Gallery III – The Raven Crown

Whenever Lama Changchub Tsondru (1817-1856) stayed at Trongsa he used this very room as his quarters and eventually died here.When he met Jigme Namgyel, the father of the first king of Bhutan, he gave him religious instruction and a close relationship developed between the two that was marked by the highest esteem on both sides.

When Jigme Namgyel was born in 1825, Bhutan had been bled almost dry by continuous wars, feuds, and intrigues. Many powerful people, noblemen as well as monks, were striving to seize power. Jigme Namgyel’s unyielding way with enemies and his diplomatic skills made him afigure of national importance. After he was appointed ponlop of Trongsa in 1853 he rapidly consolidated his supremacy in Bhutan. After years of unending power struggles a consensus was reached and in 1870 Jigme Namgyel became the 50th Temporal Ruler of all Bhutan. When he died in 1881 he left behind a country that had become almost peaceful after 200 years of war and unrest.

Jigme Namgyel’s success was due not only to his physical strength and diplomathic skills but also to the support he enjoyed from the gods. Some time in the early 1840s Lama Changchub Tsondru made the Raven Crown especially for him. The hat represents the Ravan-headed Mahakala and the so-called Northern Demon. From the moment Jigme Namgyel put it on he was under protection of both gods and shared in their power.