Chimi Lhakhang is also known as Chime Lhakhang (temple). It is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District of Bhutan. Located near Lobesa, it is situated on a small hill right in the centre of the valley stands on a round hillock.
Chimi Lhakhang was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. In the 15th century, he used songs and humor to impart his teachings, which got him the name ‘the Divine Madman’, which amounted to being bizarre, shocking and with sexual overtones. For centuries, this place of worship has been considered ‘the temple of fertility’.
In founding the site it is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands. He is also the saint who advocated the use of phallus symbols as paintings on walls and as flying carved wooden phalluses on house tops at four corners of the eaves.
Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha
The monastery is the repository of the original wooden symbol of phallus that Kunley brought from Tibet. This wooden phallus is decorated with a silver handle and is used to bless people who visit the monastery on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessings to beget children. It’s believed that couples who don’t have children are blessed with newborns after praying at this temple.
The tradition at the monastery is to strike pilgrims on the head with a 10-inch wooden phallus (erect penis). Traditionally symbols of an erect penis in Bhutan have been intended to drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip. Walk for about half-an-hour across the field to the temple road. On the trail, you’ll cross rice fields and a tiny stream downhill before the short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.