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Bhutan: Chimi Lhakhang

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Chimi Lhakhang | Bhutan | Asia

[Visited: October 2009]

While having lunch in a restaurant I had unrestricted view over the surrounding pleasant landscape with rolling hills, rice terraces, dotted with houses. It was a good preparation of our goal of the afternoon: an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang. I could see the golden roof shimmering in the afternoon sun, it seemed as if I could almost touch the temple from my table. Since the guide and driver chose to have lunch with their colleagues, I read a little about the temple. The temple was constructed in 1499 by the infamous Lama Drukpa Kinley, better known as the Divine Madman. He did so only after subduing the demoness of Dochu La in his unique way.

Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Chimi Lhakhang on top of a hill in Lobesa valley in central Bhutan

The Divine Madman led a special life, and was a well-known womanizer. He actually used his male organ, or had sex, to subdue demons. He considered the phallus as a strong symbol to ward off evil spirits, and just looking at the prominence of them around the country, he has a strong following. One consequence of his active sex life was that the Divine Madman had lots of children. He also used his organ to spread his teachings and enlighten others, and became one of the best-known saints in Bhutan. His crazy methods earned Drukpa Kinley his alias the Divine Madman, and the title "Saint of 5000 Women".

Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Surrounding landscape of Chimi Lhakhang

After a tasty lunch, we decided to walk fast through the rice fields, and soon reached Chimi Lhakhang. We found a chorten connected to an old tree with prayer flags next to this temple of fertility, and the building itself with prayer wheels all around. Inside, we saw a small courtyard, the monk quarters on the left, with the main temple hall on the right. Shoes were left behind at the door, and a sign that the temple itself was quite full of people. However, no sign of couples getting a blessing - instead, a group of French tourists who had well past the age of getting children. It was only later that I heard how the blessing is carried out: a wooden phallus is used to extend fertility to the devote visitor. How unfortunate that I did not see that ritual.

Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Windowpane at Chimi Lhakhang
Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Prayer wheels in a row at Chimi Lhakhang
Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Chorten on one side of Chimi Lhakhang
Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Monk in doorway in Chimi Lhakhang
Picture of Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan): Walking the hill towards Chimi Lhakhang

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Chimi Lhakhang (Bhutan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Chimi Lhakhang.
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