Bhutan has some pretty awesome wall paintings, but this one in the Punakha Valley takes the cake. The fertility temple Chimi Llakhang’s site has history connected with the monk Lam Drukpa Kuenley, whose antics and sex life gave him the name of the “Divine Madman”. The villagers paint phalluses on the walls of their homes, and even sell phallus shaped objects and paintings. One of them showed me a piece of rock with a bright pink penis painted on it and said, “It will bring you good luck!”

While these images might amuse many outsiders, there is actually a thought provoking philosophy behind the symbol. As a signboard at the gate of the Monastery explains, “Lam Drukpa Kuenley was a social critic who taunted the hypocrisy of the established orders…Thus the use of his phallus as a “flaming thunderbolt” weapon symbolizes the discomfort that society experiences when facing the truth.”

Many tourists remain unaware of this place. Since I run a travel blog with my sister called ‘Cakes on Planes’, I was looking for unique places to travel to and write about. It was while doing some research that I stumbled upon the name of this village. While the phallic symbol is used in objects and paintings in other parts of Bhutan as well, it seems to be most concentrated here.

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