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Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang in Bhutan

Located in the district of Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan near Lobesa is a Buddhist Monastery called Chimi Lhakhang or Chime monastery and also known as the fertility temple. Perched on a round hillock below the Metshina- Punakha road, Chimi Lhakhang was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyal after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley who built a chorten on the site. 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.

Nestled on the edge of a picturesque plateau, Chimi Lhakhang is located at distance of 10km from Punakha near the village called Sopsokha. Surrounded with the paddy fields Chimi Lhakhang is of a modest size, square in shape with a golden spire. The luxuriant land enclosing Chimi Lhakhang gives a sense and feeling of fertility and contentment to its visitors. There are many traditional legends which are connected with Chimi Lhakhang and Lama Kunley. According to one legend Kunley, who was also known for his supernatural powers had predicted the death of other lamas, which came true. However, Lama Kunley and his dog Sachi, whose statues are deified in the monastery, attained heaven. Tourists can see the statue of Kunley, in a monk’s robe with his ceramic dog Sachi centrally located in the altar room of Chimi Lhakhang along with the figurine of Sakyamuni Buddha and 1001 armed Chenresig. Towards the right they can also see the statue of Kunley’s cousin, Ngawang Choegyal the founder of Chimi Lhakhang. Chimi Lhakhang has become the pilgrim centre for many childless couple and expecting mother who travels from around the globe. Nobody knows exactly how and when the tradition of seeking fertility blessing started in Chimi Lhakhang. There are no written records and even oral sources to provide scant information on this fertility tradition of Chimi Lhakhang. Couples who visit the Lhakhang are blessed by a replication of the iron bow and arrows of Drukpa Kunley, his scriptures and the phallus, which is the symbolic representation of fertility. It is said that during his life, the saint often used his phallus as a tool to impart his teachings, quite a weird way of teaching. Apart from the statue of Kunley which adorns the altar of Chimi Lhakhang, the outer wall of lhakhang is full of mural which depicts the colorful life of Lama Kunley. The view of verdant paddy fields and lofty mountainous hill dotted with alpine forest seen from the courtyard is the added charm of Chimi Lhakhang.

From the unique blessing tools to fascinating legends Chimi Lhakhang of Punakha is full of wonders which never ceases to amaze the visitors traveling to Bhutan. A monastery located at a scenically blessed plateau in a serene ambiance with astounding background stories, if you are looking for such place, Chimi Lhakhang is the ideal destination for you.

Best time to visit Zangto Chimi Lhakhang

Every season has its own charm to relish in Chimi Lhakhang but the rice harvesting season is considered the best time to visit Chimi Lhakhang when the valley surrounding Chimi Lhakhang is glazed with the golden hue of ripped crops. There is specific timing to visit Chimi Lhakhang which is from 9am to 5pm, seven days of the week, outsiders before or after these timing are not welcomed within the premises of lhakhang.

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