Kenchosum Lhakhang, Bumthang (referred to as Tselung Lhakhang in Pema Kathang and Choekhor Lakhang during the time of Pema Lingpa) was built in the 9th century (the initial construction was started at the end of 8th century and completed in 9th century), upon the instruction of Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinmpoche instructed King Thrisong Deutsen of Tibet to build a three storeyed temple similar to Samye Monastery (of Tibet) in Bumthang to serve as centre for flourishing Dharma, Peace and Happiness. Accordingly, King Thrisrong Deutsen sent his minister Bamir Thrizer to build the temple. The temple was constructed under the supervision of Bamir Thrizer with support from the communities of Choekhor. Guru Rinmpoche himself visited Bumthang to design the temple and also performed auspicious consecration ceremony after completion. The main statue of the temple was Buddha Vairocana (Sangay namper nangsig). It is located four kilometres from Bumthang town at the left bank of Chamkhar River, close to Tamshing temple.
Temple was renovated by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1479. Its wall paintings were done by Kuengao from Lhodrak, Tibet. As prophesised, Pema Lingpa revealed two pieces of gold from the statue of Buddha Vairocana. Amazingly the two small pieces of gold was enough to paint the statues and wall paintings of the temple.
The main treasures of temple are statue of Buddha Vairocana, and the three statues of Due Sum Sangay (Buddha of the past, the present and the future) which is believed to have flown from Kusumphel, Kurtoe. This is how the name of the temple “Kenchosum” was derived after these three statues. Another sacred relic preserved in the monastery is the eighth century large broken bell (choedril). It is believed that the religious bell was offered by a tsomem (mermaid) to Guru Rinpoche, when he performed salang(foundation laying) ceremony to build the temple.
To the despair of all Bhutanese and alike, the temple was destroyed by fire in February 2010. The tragedy stirred a sense of mourning and unbearable loss the country and Buddha Dharma. However, to the solace of all, the Nangtens (sacred relics) and the statue of Buddha Vairocana including the main temple was saved from fire disaster.
As Pema Lingpa reconstructed the damaged temple in 1479, his 11th reincarnation – H.E Lhalung Sungtrul Rinmpoche, Jigdrel Kuenzang Pema Dorji has taken up the task of re-constructing the temple. The project is expected to cost BTN/Nu. 135 million (about 2.5 million US$). Pema Lingpa Foundation solicits willing and voluntary contributions from people around the world in the restoration of 9th century Buddhist heritage for the continuity of Buddhism and wellbeing of all sentient beings.