Local Deities of Bhutan


There are two types of local deities in Bhutan, Yullha and Zhidak, gods of the territory and lords of the settlement respectively. They are sometimes collectively known as nedak zhidak- lords of place/settlement. Some of them are also considered as Kyelha or birth god, for those people born within their domain.

The Bhutanese culture places its belief in many invisible spiritual beings which coexist alone with humans and animals. The people believe in a wide range of beings that share the same physical space as humans and animals, but are different in their forms, existential status, their powers and temperaments. These could be lha (ལྷ་), dud (བདུད་), tsen (བཙན་), gyalpo(རྒྱལ་པོ་), lu (ཀླུ་), ludud (ཀླུ་བདུད་), mamo (མ་མོ་), damsri (དམ་སྲི་), dre (འདྲེ་), srinpo (སྲིན་པོ་), sondre (གསོན་འདྲེ་), shindre (གཤིན་འདྲེ་), tshomen (མཚོ་སྨན་), noejin (གནོད་སྦྱིན་), menmo (སྨན་མོ་), theurang (ཐེའུ་རང་), sadag (ས་བདག་) etc.

The mountains are considered a home of mountain gods, the rock and cliffs as home for rock spirits, the rivers and lakes for water spirits, and so on. Some spirits are considered to be long-term residents of a territory and perceived as being of power. Therefore, people fear these spirits and make offerings to not offend them. Additionally, people also treat these deities with affection as they are said to bestow blessings and benevolence when happy.

Source: businessbhutan.bt

These types of beliefs serve to offer psychological stability to the people who believe in them. The people feel protected from calamities which gives them a peace of mind. It also serves to avoid conflict in the community in order to evade offending the territorial deities.

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