The Lhakhang

Lhakhang UTEP

The Lhakhang Cultural Exhibit at The University of Texas at El Paso is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday and from 1 to 3 p.m. the first Sunday of each month, except on holidays.

The exhibit is overseen by the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

Parking is available at the Sun Bowl Parking Garage.

Information: Kaye Mullins, Museum Education Curator, 915-747-8994 or kmullins@utep.edu

Lhakhang History and Significance

The beautiful Lhakhang sits proudly on UTEP’s Centennial Plaza, surrounded by dozens of other buildings in the Bhutanese architectural style. It is a cultural artifact that reflects thousands of years of traditional craftsmanship, such as hand-carved wooden elements and hand-painted fabric wall murals. The Lhakhang at UTEP is typical of the hundreds of lhakhangs found in Bhutan, and is the only structure of its kind found outside the small Himalayan country.

In the summer of 2008, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., showcased the Kingdom of Bhutan, where Bhutanese craftsmen – carpenters, painters and other skilled artisans – constructed an authentic lhakhang on the National Mall. At the opening ceremonies of the festival, His Royal Highness Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck presented the lhakhang as a gift to the United States.

“We offer it as a symbol of our hopes for a future relationship, as stable, as durable and as sweet as the Himalayan pine that it is made of,” he said. “We are very happy that this [lhakhang] will have a home in the beautiful and, I dare say, Bhutanese campus of The University of Texas at El Paso.”

The Lhakhang was re-erected on the UTEP campus in 2015 as part of the University’s campus transformation project in conjunction with its Centennial Celebration.

Gallery

The Lhakhang: UTEP's Cultural Jewel