Situated in the Lango Gewog of Paro District is one of the oldest monasteries of Bhutan called Kyichu Lhakhang or Kyerchu Temple. Kyichu Lhakhang also known as Lho Kyerchu is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple of the Bhutanese region. The Jowo Temple of Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsan Gampo. Kyichu Lhakhang is said to be one of the main 12 temples of the 108 temples that were built overnight across Tibet and borderlands. The surreal traditional legend of Kyichu Lhakhang has attracted tourists travelling to Paro.
The original structure of Kyichu Lhakhang was rather small when the foundation was laid by Songtsan Gampo to overcome a giant demoness who lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was thwarting the establishment of Buddhism. As per the legend, the lhakhang is built upon the left foot of the supine demoness. Over the time Kyichu Lhakhang has been visited by many spiritual leaders who have help in bringing the lhakhang to its former glory one of them being Padmasambava, the Guru Rinpoche. In 18th century Guru Rinpoche visited Kyichu Lhakhang and it is believed that he had concealed many spiritual treasures in the lhakhang, which till date is a mystery. Kyichu Lhakhang was adopted by different sects and many important spiritual leaders who have spread the teaching of Buddha have spent some time in the Kyichu Lhakhang uncovering the hidden tetrons. The inner hall of Kyichu Lhakhang house the one of the greatest treasures of the Bhutanese region, an original 7th century statue of Jowo Sakyamuni, believed to be cast at the same time as its famous counterpart in Lhasa. Along with the statue of Jowo Sakyamuni visitors can also see the sculpture of the founder of Kyichu Lhakhang, Songtsan Gampo flanked on the left side inner hall. The door of the inner hall itself is marvelously embellished which shows the skill craftsmanship of Bhutanese artist. The outer hall of the lhakhang is adorned with the statue of Chenrigzig with 11 heads and 1000 arms. After the latest extension which was carried out in 1965 under the command of Her Majesty, the Queen mother Ashi Kesang Wangchuck, new structure known as Guru Lhakhang was added to the Kyichu Lhakhang were the main deity is the 5mt statue of Guru Rinpoche. Visitors can also see a chorten called Satsam containing the remains of a highly revered spiritual leader, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
There are many hidden treasures and legends interlinked with Kyichu Lhakhang which till date haven’t been proven whether they are just some rumor or true fact. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang and feel the mysterious yet serene ambiance while witnessing two magical orange trees adorning the courtyards. At first they might seem like normal trees but as per the local stories, the trees bear oranges throughout the year, which is quite astounding and surreal.
The mystical surrounding and the awe-inspiring archicture of Kyichu Lhakhang can be relished throughout the year. The unpaved route from Satsam Chorten to Paro is said be ideal for riding the mountain bike from October to May.