Considering I was born and bought up here in India. I sort of know that women in the Ancient period would pray for years for a boon.
A sacred boon that they can finally bear a child.
I remember a short story from Mahabharata, My grandpa used to tell us bedtime stories of Hindu mythology sometimes. so he said there was a woman called Devaki who was married to Vasudeva and was a birth mother to Lord Krishna. Devaki also happens to be Kamsa’s sister.
Kamsa was born to a human woman but fathered by a demon in disguise and hence he had a certain wicked streak.
The day finally arrived when Devaki was married to Vasudeva. Kamsa took the couple in a chariot around the city but heard these strange voices that he will be killed by Devaki’s son one day. afraid of losing his life he decided to kills his sister but her husband Vasudeva pleads him not too. However, he agrees that he can kill the child when it is born.
Unable to bear the loss of every child Devaki prays to deity Durga. She appears and says to Devaki that Lord Narayana will be born as Lord Krishna and that he would kill Kamsa and also says that she will be born into the earth as Yashoda’s daughter. The day Krishna was born Vasudeva takes the child to Yashoda in a middle of the night and brings Yashoda’s child Durga to Kamsa to execute. and that is how the tale started. Durga will not be harmed by Kamsa as she is diety and eventually there will be an end to Kamsa by Krishna.
And there were many tales like that. Lord Ayappa was born as a union between God shiva and Mohini (who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu) to save the world from destruction. He was found in a forest to a king who was childless and prayed for years to have a child.
hearing so many stories from my grandpa in childhood was something to cherish. so I visited Bhutan in 2019 with my friend and the guide took us to a fertility temple. I had no idea such temples exist but was excited to know if this works exactly like my grandpa’s tales. Nevertheless, it was different and this time it was my tourist guide explaining the tale while visiting this temple.
The tales goes like this ” Once upon a time, there was a monk called Drukpa Kinley In fact, he was one of the key monks that brought Buddhism from Tibet to Bhutan. Known for his unusual methods of teaching and his crazy songs lined with humour and sexual connotations, he soon became famous as the “Divine Madman“. This Divine Madman came to Punakha to get rid of a demon from Dochula. The demon took the form of a dog and fell dead as he was struck down by the “Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom” created by the Divine Madman. This Flaming Thunderbolt of wisdom is what they say was the Phallus and thus, the symbol of Chimi Lhakhang.
The stricken Demon was captured in a Stupa by the Divine Madman and he uttered the words “Chi Mi” meaning no dog. The shrine is said to be on top of a mountain in the form of a woman’s breast and it is at this sacred spot that the fertility temple was built.
we were on a short trek to this place and found this place scandalous and unusual. all the shops were filled with Phallus souvenirs. It was in a form of charms, quilt, keychains and surprisingly restroom signs were also that.
My friend and I were laughing as it was funny but my guide was saying that we should not laugh as it is a sacred place and we should behave modestly. Well ok, sir.
It was interesting to see many childless couples who visit here all around the world and they are blessed by monks with the Phallus. once the couple bears a child they return to this temple and monk blesses the couple and names the child. The child’s name is written in a shrine.
This temple is a must-visit if you really want to hear tales , sit under gaya tree and listen to melody of breeze and of course to walk across a beautiful village which is filled with paddy fields.
It was something unique yet different from all the other places I have explored. If you are ever in Bhutan don’t forget to visit Phunaka and this extraordinary temple.
Here are some pictures that I captured during my visit here.