Article by Lisa Soh (1st June, 2015)
Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon in the Himalayas, is not only famous for its amazing mountain views and its simple ways of life. Driving from the country's only airport in Paro to the capital city of Thimphu, I could see how graphic and colourful paintings of penises adorn the white-washed walls that appear all over Bhutan.
Once I reached the hotel, I was served a cup of butter tea (can’t say I like the flavour). While waiting to be checked in, I was fiddling over the stacks of magazines on a little side table. What caught my attentions was this book with a big phallus on the cover. Within minutes, I came to know of a 15th-century saint - Drukpa Kunley - who was famous for his sexual exploits, which were his methods of enlightening people. Rumour has it that he even tied a ribbon around his own phallus to give himself luck with the ladies! The Chimi Lhakhang is a monastery devoted to promoting fertility. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley (also known as the Divine Madman) and is popular among childless Bhutanese couples.
On the day I visited the Chimi Lhakhang temple, it was raining early in the morning and drizzling lightly throughout the afternoon. The hike up to the temple should have been an easy 20 to 30 minutes’ walk as the trail cuts through a flat paddy field and gentle slope. However, due to the drizzle, the hiking path was extremely muddy and slippery and the hike took us more than an hour! It is wonderful to see the hills rise up all around, with the temple crowning a small hill in the midst of it all. We then took a small path up the hill between some trees before we finally arrived at the temple, where the whole scene spread out before us in a panorama. It was a breathtaking sight.
This temple has more going for it than just a cool story, though. It has the Divine Madman's personal phallus. You may ask for fertility blessing: two phalluses (or lingams, in this case), one made of bone and the other made of wood, pressed up against your forehead along with an archery bow that belonged to the Divine Madman himself. Being a single lady, I am not sure if I need this type of blessing! For now, I just want to enjoy the scenic view!