It was the day after we got back from our five day trek. As much as I loved the trek, the views, being in nature, camping… I was also very happy to have had a good nights sleep in a warm room, a hot shower and be driven around in a minibus.
So today we drove from Thimphu to a different valley. We had to cross a high pass for this.
And if the weather had been good enough, we would have been able to see all these snow capped mountains of the Himalayas. Unfortunately the weather was foggy and grey, so all we had to look at was this painting.
However, good news, once we drove down into the valley, the weather improved and this amazing view opened up to us.
This is Punakha Dzong. Another one of Bhutan’s famous ex-fortress, now monastery buildings.
It is located in this beautiful valley.
Inside the Dzong Norbu talked to us about the history and explained what all the paintings meant. He’s back to wearing his smart traditional costume after five days in outdoorsy clothes.
Note that he’s also wearing this cream coloured scarf on top of his dress. It’s a requirement to wear this when in government buildings. Outside of those, the scarf is not worn.
After visiting this beautiful Dzong, we went to see the next attraction: Chimi Lhakhang – the Temple of the Divine Madman.
Yes, you read correctly: an insane saint! (I think that’s really what they should call him. Has a much better ring to it.)
He has this name because of his rather unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism which included outrageous and shocking behaviour, often with sexual overtones. For example, he advocates painting phallic symbols on houses or carving phalluses from wood.
On our walk up to the monastery we came across plenty of houses with massive phallus paintings. Countless souvenir shops were selling wooden specimen in all different sizes. Even though we were all grown up women, somehow we couldn’t stop giggling like school girls.
Ok, I’ll show you one example.
Sorry if you’re reading this at work or if your parents are looking over your shoulder. Hahahaha! Now I’m having to laugh again.
Inside the temple all visitors were blessed with a sizeable phallus for enhanced fertility. Argh! I wanted to run away but I also didn’t want to be rude.
When this special experience was over, we all piled back into the minibus and were driven back to Thimphu.
This is Ganga. I know! Hard to recognise without the first aid bag!