Tharpaling means liberation. In the 14th century, Buddhist saint Gyalwa Longchen Rabjampa is said to have visited the place to preach dharma following which many devotees were liberated. Thus the name of the place came to be known as Tharpaling. In 15th century, Terton Pema Lingpa discovered treasures from the place including a Guru Statue. The First King of Bhutan renovated the place into a retreat center and spent time meditating in the place during his reign. The pilgrimage site has a colossal phallus carved of stone and cement known as the great cannon of Tharpaling. According to the curator, the tip of the phallus is pointed towards a village that has a shape of a female organ which was considered a threat to the sanctity of the monastery. Incidences of many monks giving up their monkhood were associated with it. The issue seems to have curbed since the erection of the great cannon.