FER­TILE GROUND

Hong Kong Tatler - - Travel -

One of Bhutan’s most im­por­tant re­li­gious sites is not for the gig­gle-in­clined. Be­yond the vil­lage of Lobesa, with its tra­di­tional cot­tages painted with vi­brant phal­lus mu­rals de­signed to drive away evil and ma­li­cious gos­sip, is Chimi Lhakhang, a 15th-cen­tury tem­ple ded­i­cated to Drukpa Kun­ley, a Ti­betan Bud­dhist saint who is said to have de­feated evil spir­its with his “magic thun­der­bolt of wis­dom.” His un­ortho­dox style of teach­ing, which in­cluded song and dance with dis­tinct sex­ual over­tones, earned him the nick­name the Di­vine Mad­man and fos­tered the monk a cult-like fol­low­ing among women seek­ing fer­til­ity bless­ings. Within the prayer hall of the tem­ple, pil­grims as­sem­ble to be blessed by a tap on the head from a large wooden phal­lus with a sil­ver han­dle.

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