A stupa is a traditional Buddhist construction which is a physical representation of the Enlightened mind of the Buddha.

Stupas are made to bring blessings to the land and people.

In early March 1996 when Ven Thupten Rinpoche took up the role of spiritual director of Dhargyey Buddhist Centre his most pressing wish was to build a stupa to honour our founding Lama Venerable Geshe Dhargyey.

In late September as His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived to consecrate the finished stupa the paint was literally still drying.

The Location

The Stupa is situated on a knoll below Hereweka (or Harbour Cone) and directly above the Otago Harbour township of Portobello on the Otago Peninsula. From the site there are sweeping views out to the heads of the Otago harbour.


The one day of the year when the Centre community usually visits is for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s birthday – the 6th of July.

Other times of the year groups of people visit to connect with the blessings that flow from this sacred object.

As with other holy sites, like the Buddhist Centre itself, Buddhists often circumambulate the stupa three times– doing ‘kora’ as the practise is known to Tibetans. Kora involves simply walking around the site keeping one’s right side closest to the construction (in a clockwise direction- as seen from above). This is usually combined with saying prayers or mantras, offered with as much humility and compassion as one can.

Visiting the Stupa

The stupa is located at 1588 Highcliff Road, Portobello. It is on private land owned by Dieter Dunkel and Sandra Clair. They are happy for people to come and visit the stupa on Sunday afternoons. If you wish to visit at other times please contact them well ahead of time to check their situation.

Dieter’s phone number is 027-431-5309. Their postal address is P.O. Box 4 Portobello, Dunedin.