Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 56: Bhutan - Day 3 & The Phallus Fascination

I promise I'm not being like a teenage boy imitating Beevus & butthead, 'hehehe, uh, that looks like a penis' as i stare at a vague resemblance of a phallic like object. No joke, there really are penises popping up everywhere in Bhutan - from wood carved statues in temples to paintings decorating the exterior of houses and buildings. We're talking intricate drawings at massive sizes and some animated with eyes and arms.
Its believed the phallus wards off evil and bad luck for the family. Our guide also proposed the theory that the phallus is shameful, so if put on the walls, the hope is they will not bring further shame upon themselves or their family.

Yes, that is a penis on the building in front of Katie. 

We drove 3 hours to Punakha, crossing the Dochula Pass and arrived to the peak with a viewpoint of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Here's a magnified view of the highest peak.
 We walked through rice fields to visit Temple Chummie Chukhang, the temple of the Divine Madmen, Drukpa Kunley. People come to this temple because its believed to make barren women fertile or they come with their children to thank the Buddha and Divine Saint. When we were there a monk around the age of 11 blessed a mother and a 6 year old daughter with a wood-carved phallus the size of my forearm.

We visited another operational fort....

 ...and a tantric temple. Tantricism is commonly misrepresented as only having to do with sexual practices. While there is an element of 'cosmic' sexuality to the practice, I did a little research and the idea is that salvation results from the merging of 2 primary cosmic aspects, male & female, but the focus is not sex. The practice centers around the use of mudras, yogi postures, controlled breathing, repetitive mantras, etc. But this does not mean you will not see some gods or beings carved or painted in various sexual positions inside the temples...

There was an elderly man outside of the temple with beads chanting his mantras into the early evening. 

NEXT STOP: Bhutan Day 4 & Fun Fact: Bhutanese Cuisine

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